i sound like sneeze.

Wha?! Hello? Whazza–hunh? Mmf.

I just woke up on the couch. German subtitled movies aren’t so good on a Friday night when you’re ill, unless you want to fall asleep.

I’ve figured out where this cold came from. The recipe:

1. Picket in the rain.
2. Picket in the cold.
3. Picket in the cold with extremely gusty winds with patches of rain.
4. Picket on a day that starts cold, gets really warm and then right when you take off three of your layers it becomes cold and windy again.
5. Play Rock Band for the first time. Your friend says, “I think I’m coming down with something, but first I’m gonna sing the crap out of ‘Creep.’” Once she’s finished, immediately take the microphone from her so you can wail out to ‘Maps.’”

Yes, my weak Picket Lung gave way to Rock Band Flu.

I understand why some women hate video games. There’s a severe zombie-like quality that is necessary for being skilled at them, and for the most part the talent involves knowing when to push a combination of buttons. But this is one of those games that can break down even the strongest hater. Take the other night. I watched this happen to one woman. (These are all pretty close to direct quotes.)

“No, thanks. You guys play.”

“No, really. I’m just watching you guys, and you’re having fun, so.”

“No. I mean it. That looks even harder than Celebrity.”

“Look, I’m just… some of us are good at other things, okay? And we still seem to have happy lives.”

“I’m not playing that game, so quit telling me I have to! I don’t want to!”

“FINE. Jesus.”

“Well, now I’m just sitting here holding this fake guitar and nobody’s told me what I’m doing!”

“Okay, so…This thing means I’m strumming?”

“No, wait. I got… don’t… yeah… wait, did I?… hey…. oh. Oh.

“Hey, what does it mean when the notes are glowing? Yeah, okay. Yeah. Yeah, no, I got it. Yeah.”

“DAMMIT! Can we get somebody else on drums so we can get through an entire song without failing?”


“Okay. I’m sold. I get it. I must go out and buy one of these for my home. All of it. The whole band. This is the coolest thing I’ve ever played in my life.”

It really does make you want to go out and buy everything required to play it all day and all night for the rest of your life. I can’t imagine that’s inexpensive, all the equipment and an Xbox. But that’s what happens. You get fantasies of being in fake rock bands doing fake gigs for fake events. I now want to play in a fake rock band all the time.

I think I can use these fake talents to make real money during the strike.

Like this: I’ll be the ringer at your family reunion. Say I’m a cousin from that side of the family people barely know anything about. I’ll come in acting all modest and shy, and when the super-competitive asshole third-cousins you’re forced to see every year are all, “Let’s play Rock Band and see which family is better!” and they think they’re being clever when they force me to be in your team, you just grab the fake guitar, put your beat-savvy sister on the tiny drums and your mama on bass, hand me the microphone, and then you kick it to “Sabotage.” WE WILL DESTROY.

Oh. You wanna sing? Fine. Then give me the drums. GIVE IT.

But until then, these are the lame members of my fake rock band. Let me tell you, these two quit the band every other day. Cal misses every single fake rehearsal and Taylor yells at me. There’s no Xbox. There are no fake instruments. There’s just a band name: Slen.

And one day we will rule!

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