Last week we visited Dearly Beloved’s mother in her Assisted Living residence. I can understand why she chooses to stay in her apartment rather than sit in the lobby dozing , slack-jawed, like some of the other residents. They are, she tells us, the old people. She herself is pushing 89. That’s not all she pushes. She shoves her walker around the parking lot for exercise. It’s a slow process, but she gets there. Although she can no longer see to read anything but large print, a stack of audio books awaits if she can just take herself from her Elvis CD’s long enough to listen. Of course there’s still her stack of Julios. . . .
Since everyone has to be categorized these days, I suppose she’s elderly, the mother of senior citizens who, in turn, are parents of aging baby boomers. Somehow, being a senior citizen in the terms of this equation doesn’t sound as scary as it used to, provided I’m part of the dance-by-the-light-of- the-open-fridge women instead of the I’ve-fallen-and- can’t-get-up variety. To do so, I’ve gotta shake off the cobwebs, get the ole’ juices flowing, or employ any other trite expression which might get me moving.
I do have issues. . . reason to believe I am a game-oholic. This routine I’ve convinced myself I’m doing to forestall dementia and Alzheimers now rules my life. Some days I begin with the newspapers: the daily crosswords, the Jumble, the Ken Ken, and the Sudoku. Yes, there are computer versions, too. Online newspapers also carry Pardon My Words , a computer version of the old Hangman game and the daily Cryptogram.
Daughter Boo tried to hook me on Text Twist which she has down cold. She can fill in every word and leisurely wash her hair before the time expires. If you ever see them playing it in Atlantic City or Las Vegas, let me know. She’d be a millionaire before the evening news began. I, on the other hand, get all the words about one time out of ten… maybe. When did THAT happen? I used to be good at that in elementary school! Around holiday times, the teacher would give us a word, like Thanksgiving or Valentine and we were to make as many words as possible using those letters. Maybe it’s the timed part of Text Twist that freaks me out. Give me 15 minutes with the promise of recess afterwards and I’ll bet I could still show my stuff.
Daughter Pogo thought I might like Poppit. Daughter-In-Law plays games on her i-Phone, so I’m clean there since I don’t have one. None of the guys admit to playing games, but they all watch sports. That may be okay for them, but I’d be playing Poppit while I watched. What I see as a spectator sport is something completely different for Dearly Beloved. His roles as viewer referee of the universe and adviser to the announcers require his full attention to the set at all times.
As serious as my game repertoire sounds, I haven’t mentioned the worst. Friend Jincey sent me a link to a game which she described as “brainless, sort of.” I didn’t realize she meant that’s one’s condition after playing it too long. In this animated match game–Mahjong Toy Chest–the cameras click, the bow ties spin, the penguins doff hats when the cursor hits them. Since AARP touts it on their website, surely it must fall under the category of mental exercise. I passed the link to some of my friends. They were not grateful, to say the least. One now begins her e-mails to me: DAMMIT, Mary!!!!
In retrospect, I should have paid more attention to my symptoms. Sometimes there would be a flash of vertigo and I’d see red beanies with whirling propellers when I closed my eyes. I’d lie awake, looking for the other purple train engine or the matching green book stacks on the screen in my brain. My internal Off switch is broken.
Even if all this madness does happen to be good for the brain, the rest of me is turning to lard. Exercising two fingers does not do much to get the heart rate up. Thanks to all this game sitting, I could now lie on my stomach and my butt could balance a jumbo Scrabble board with room for the letter holders and a bowl of M&M’s.
There is only one thing to do: go Cold Turkey. Remove the toy chest from my Favorites, do not let it near my brain.
But hey, just in case I get the bends, save this for me, okay? http://games.aarp.org/games/mahjongg-toy-chest.aspx