My Father is a Role Player... Sorta
by Kerry Jane
My father owns three business (heavy
construction supply) in two states and is pretty much an ultra-serious
business man. He was the one who got me interested in computers
at an early age. He brags, "I was
into computers before they were COOL." He knows Dos; he
knows Unix. Windows 95 confuses the hell out of him (although he
is getting better).
Spreadsheets. He is a big fan of
spreadsheets. Any time I want to do something... or buy something...
he says, "Make a spreadsheet."
Use these springs on your steering wheel and it will not break.
Even though he is a serious business guy
(with a fairly good sense of humor), he likes games. But he does not
like the kind of games that I like. I like games with stories and
puzzles and party members to carry around your stuff that you might
need but really do not know. Those are too involved for him. He
likes Sims. Flight simulators... racing simulators... helicopter simulators...
whatever. And he likes Minesweeper. He likes Tetris, too, but
hates that I always beat him at it.
A few years ago, while my dad and I were
playing 2-person Tetris:
My brother: "I want to play!"
Me: "Okay, you can play the winner."
My brother: "No, I want to play against Dad!"
I tried to get my father to play Sim
City 2000... thinking he would like the construction end of it. But
all he wanted to do was build roads. He built road after road
after road, making them go in weird formations using up a ton of
land, and then he was out of money and turned to me and said,
"Now what?" Oh well. Sim City is not for everyone, I
Anywho. Dad's favorite is Nascar Racing
by Papyrus (Sierra Sports now). He plays it every night - no
exaggeration. He has all the 'extra tracks' and add-ons and
everything imaginable that goes with this game. He replays his
crashes (in slo-mo, no less) for us and wants us to watch them
with him. I am sure you can imagine the excitement I feel while
watching him replay the moment of impact twelve times for me,
saying: "See?? Right there. Ooohh.. That had to
He had a joystick, but that was not
cutting it. So for Christmas three years ago, we bought him the
Thrustmaster T2 wheel. But the springs are starting to break in
the throttle, and he is grumpy about that. So, for Christmas this
year, we bought him the MS Force Feedback Wheel. It is supposed to
be a good one. Not that I would know... but I read the reviews.
And somebody on Usenet said "It Rocks!" ... so how
could we go wrong??
In addition to the Wheel, we also bought
him the new Nascar game. They are like peanut butter and
jelly, you know. Can not have one without the other.
Okay... now here comes the role-playing
My father's name is Don. But when he
races... he never calls himself that. He calls himself (get this)
When my mother goes in to talk to him
while he is racing, she will say, "Don" and get no
answer. Finally, after a few tries with Don, she will say, "Uhhh...
Goody..." And he will respond with, "I am on the last lap
and right behind Dale Earnhart!" as he peels around turn
three at a hundred and twenty five miles an hour.
We tried to get more information about
this 'Goody Roberts' person. Does my father think he is
Goody? No, he said. Goody is somebody else. He goes on to explain
to us that he is playing, but Goody is the driver... which
confused us even more... because all we saw was my father, there
at the wheel.
We asked him where he got that name. Was
it a name of a real race car driver? Was it something he read in
a book as a child? "I made it up," he said, with a
little-kid grin on his face.
Somebody said something about the Wheel
on Christmas Morning while I was over at my parents house to Have
The Tree. I can not remember what was said... but my father's
response was, "Well, the wheel is not really for me. It is for
Goody." Which, of course, sent us into reels of laughter
over Goody Roberts. My mother said, "It is better than an
imaginary friend - it is an imaginary YOU!
That is when I figured it out. My father
is role playing, and Goody Roberts is his character-slash-avatar.
I asked my father if Goody had his own personality. He looked at
me like I was an idiot and said, "Kerry... Goody is a Race
Car Driver" like that was supposed to explain
I think he is afraid to admit it. But I
swear... that is what he is doing. He is role playing. Sorta.
October 2000 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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