People often think that those with a sense of humor understand the more complex things in life, like the male psyche or sexual intercourse. But sometimes I don’t get the male psyche.

Specifically, I don’t get the male obsession with video games. In today’s column, we will explore what link – or links – between Neanderthals and modern-day men causes such unintelligent aggression toward innocent televisions.

I’m joking, of course. I’m not a geneticist. And some people are just really stupid, like my housemates. (Note to English majors: Don’t just write about what you know. Write about WHO you know, and then threaten to publish their names along with it. This will probably make more money than writing in the long run.)

The situation in my house is becoming intolerable, if you want to know the truth. If you don’t want to know the truth, this column is good for that, too. Anyway, all my housemates do is play Xbox games like “Red Dead Redemption,” in which you go around killing people and horses in the Old West. You can even skin a horse, if you want to, which of course they want to.

Housemate: “Hey, watch me skin this horse!”

Me: “What is WRONG with you?”

They also play “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare,” in which, as the title suggests, you go around killing terrorists in a modern and humane way. You can even radio in big planes and helicopters to transport injured terrorists to hospitals, I think. Or maybe the planes just bomb them. I can’t remember — it’s all very stupid.

The most annoying game – even more annoying than killing horses and terrorists – is FIFA soccer. Good god is it aggravating. Not so much the game, but my housemates’ wild reactions to it. Here is a typical conversation when a goal is about to be scored:







This usually takes place at one in the morning and is not a conversation that normal people have. It’s the kind of conversation that the ape-men in “2001: A Space Odyssey” have when they discover tools and go and kill some other ape-men.

My housemates would tell a different story, no doubt. If you could hear their side, you would hear something like, “Hey, don’t listen to this hotshot columnist! He is very good-looking, and funny, and we will be calling him for money in the future because he will become rich and famous, but he just uses the TV to watch trashy B-movies like ‘Spring Break Shark Attack!’”

This is entirely untrue, of course. I TRIED to watch “Spring Break Shark Attack” but the idiots wouldn’t let me. They have complete sovereignty over the TV.

But that’s not the issue here. The issue here is that there’s a right and a wrong way to waste your time. The right way includes things like watching bad movies on purpose for comic effect, like “Cocktail” with Tom Cruise. It means singing popular songs with offensive lyrics in place of the real ones. And discovering obscure and bizarre videos on YouTube. (Search “world of chemistry rod and balls.”) Drugs. All these activities stimulate the brain in positive ways and can be brought up at parties. (“Have you seen ‘Cocktail’?” “Do you have drugs?” It’s simple.)

The wrong way includes playing video games. And the Michigan Quidditch club, but that’s another column. Good lord. Anyway. How many virtual goals can you score? How many terrorists can you shoot? How many horses can you skin? It’s meaningless. Try to talk about it with a friend, or bring it up at a party. Not that my housemates go to parties anymore. Our next-door neighbors threw a party and they stayed at home to play FIFA.

I’m afraid it’s too late to save them. This column is really a last resort. If you or your friends are acquainted with Walker McHugh, Tim Pituch, Jeff “The Sloth” Sorensen or Ryan Aliapoulios (don’t bother trying to pronounce that one), please inform them of your concern for their health. They’re not busy, they don’t have funerals to go to, etc. They are just playing Xbox. And if this plea is successful — if they lay down their controllers — I will provide, at only $5 a head, a screening of “Spring Break Shark Attack” to all those who helped.

Will Grundler is an assistant editorial page editor. He can be reached at

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