I have no hard evidence, but I assume Madison is Patient Zero and has gotten me sick just in time for a three-day weekend. I guess she put a little something extra on those hugs and kisses she handed out this week. I felt it coming on early in the week and did the best I could to prevent myself from feeling anything close to the full effects, but considering there’s snot all over my laptop keyboard right now, we can safely say that my efforts didn’t work out as well as I had hoped.
As I have previously stated, I have what I believe to be a fairly effective system of offense against illness. As soon as I feel the possibility of an oncoming cold in my nose or throat or brain, I take three Echinacea pills and two NyQuil pills, then try to get at least seven hours of sleep. The usual result is that I avoid major symptoms, a side effect is that my drive into work the next morning feels like an out-of-body experience.
I turned to this method for the last three nights and thought I had beaten it until the middle of first period this morning. I sneezed twice and felt it in my nose. It was all downhill from there. I made it though the day and Madison’s May Day program. At this moment, I have a runny nose, sore throat, and headache. More importantly, I have a softball game Sunday. I’ll get there.
It hasn’t been all gloom and doom, though. Randomly, a student of mine started trash talking me about Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. There’s no way that particular student could have known this, I murder in that game. I am generally not very good at video games, but this game? In college, I logged more hours playing THPS2 than studying. My English major should be accompanied by a THPS2 minor. At least.
So predictably, the student brought his PS2 and the game in. Considering I haven’t played the game in more than a decade, there was more than a little rust. I played for so long and worked the controller so violently that both my thumbs hurt so badly, I couldn’t button my pants the way I normally do. That’s not an exaggeration. The student told me that his high score on the first level (the hangar) with default stats and no cheats was 800,000. It took me a day to do it, but I got to 950,000. The real problem, though, was the lack of a memory card. Since I had beaten the first challenge set before me, what I wanted to do was beat the entire game and unlock everything. Look, my fascination with the game is equal parts obsession and nostalgia. Only no memory card. Well, I caved. I drove to the Game Stop in Kam Shopping center to pick up a PS2 memory card. I got back to my classroom with the kind of excitement a child might feel in the moments before opening his or her Christmas presents.
But the card wouldn’t work. It took us a while to piece it together, but one of my students finally did. “Mister, when you played it in college, did you play it on a PS1 or a PS2?” one of my students asked. I thought back to the Hannon Apartments, the TV in the room Derek and I shared. I looked down at the floor at the gray thing sitting there. “Damn it, it was a PS1,” I said. “You can’t save PS1 games on a PS2 memory card,” one of my students said. The dream was dead. Well, until someone brings a PS1 memory card on Tuesday.
After that long, drawn out love note to THPS2, I know it will be incredibly hard for you to believe that the highlight of my week was not pulling off 19-trick combos, but rather watching Mad in her May Day Program.
Mad’s school always does a great job organizing these song and dance programs. The performances are brief and there are only a few of them. Families bring dishes for the potluck meal afterward. Madison appeared to remember most of her dance moves, and Lynnette’s face was frozen in a permanent smile as she recorded Madison. I am sure that she was proud to have a daughter to follow in her local roots and hulu dancing footsteps.
Unlike last weekend, I’ll actually have time to spend with Mad and Lynnette. I think we’re going to the library tomorrow. Something about Storm Troopers. Anyway, I’m going to take NyQuil and try to get my seven hours. With any luck, I’ll feel much better tomorrow morning.
For old time’s sake…