Recently I was sitting in one of the swivel chairs at my favorite-by-default barber shop. Someone other than Usual Guy stepped up to cut my hair, which meant that instead of talking, I was going to be busy concentrating on holding still and using telepathy to get the new guy not to screw up.
A little kid, maybe six or seven, literally hopped into the chair at the next station down and started up a very loud conversation with his barber about the football game that was playing on the TV, his family, the posters and jerseys that were hanging on the wall, the zoo, how short his hair was going to be, how much he liked school, how much he hated school, and so on. It was loud and would have been annoying except that it effectively kept my barber from trying to talk to me.
The kid launched into a discussion of video games and systems. He rambled on breathlessly about all his favorite games, most of which I hadn’t heard of, and all the games he wants to get. And then he asked his barber, “Do you have a Nintendo Wii?”
The barber replied, “No. I have a PS 2 but I don’t have any time to play it.”
The kid asked, “Why? Are you dying?”
I have rarely fought as hard as I did at that moment to not laugh and to not spin my head around to look at the kid talking to his barber. Good thing, too; by that point my barber had gotten out the razor and things could’ve gotten ugly. A few minutes later I paid up and walked out with a tolerable haircut and minimal blood loss.
…but that kid’s question haunts me to this day. I have lain awake every night since then in existential agony, wondering if I’ve played enough video games in my brief time on this Earth. I dread that I haven’t, and that I won’t. Has it all been for naught?