Monday, July 18, 2011

My brother is a Computer Science major.

My youngest brother is a Computer Science major.
He was forced to be such by his own doing.

The year was 2009.

It was, as far as my memory takes me, one of the rare instances when my entire family arrived at a unanimous decision. No dissent, not even a sigh of uncertainty. Everyone said, as if that’s the only sensible thing to say: “Geno, mag-computer science ka na lang, total ayan naman first love mo.” ‘love’ was a euphemism for addiction. ‘first’ was a synonym for ‘only.’

He was the earliest bird, killing his first prey of the day (zombies, goons, funny-looking creatures, and everything else that can be shot, knifed, or hammered on the head) at 5am. Roosters’ crow is a bygone; we now wake up at the sound of a rooster creature dying, head snapping, bones breaking even before dawn breaks.

My brother works overtime, over lunch. Either he’s on a working lunch or he ‘finishes’ his work, err, he ‘finishes’ them off first. In his distorted Maslow’s hierarchy, need to kill precedes need to fill his stomach, which I think is not impossible unless his stomach learns to growl like the beast he’s slaying.

At the rate he’s going, I think my brother would make a good law student. Eyes focused, fingers well- stretched, body alert and upright, thriving well in the land of green-eyed monsters, weirdly-shaped creatures, and beasts. And more importantly, he sits in his throne, undistracted, outlasting my SCRA nights. And mind you, he’s not even caffeinated. Hence, my most valuable insight from watching him beat me at my own game: addiction is better than law school infatuation; addiction hits you harder than caffeine kicks.

Sleeping at 2am to cram 30 or so cases is justifiable insanity; sleeping at 3am to cram killing hundreds of gnomes is pure insanity. I concede, we both are trying to save the ‘world,’ albeit in different dimensions. And yes, we both badly need some form of divine intervention…and the laundry list of parallelism continues… But my point is: at the end of the day, I’ll be a lawyer; when it’s game over, he won’t be a professional gamer. I’m sure gaming develops some noteworthy personal qualities (perseverance, concentration, etc) and maybe even teaches the young ones some valuable insights (like, you bleed when you get hit?!). Seriously, I’m sure gaming requires sharpening the mind with the knives and bolos, it’s a mental exercise to a certain extent. But when gaming warps your world and wraps you around its seducing tentacles, better put up the white flag. Otherwise, it’s game over for your life in the ‘real’ world. Worse, it’s game over for your life. Period. Such was the fate of a couple of adolescents in China* who were sent to internet rehabilitation camps to regain the lives they’ve lost in gaming…only to lose them again…forever.

The world wide web is a sui generis world but it is a web as well, so be careful not to get too tangled up or too caught up in it. Take what it can offer but never at the expense of your own well-being. Play online, live offline.

My brother...well, he is a Computer Science major.
As he fights the beasts on the screen, we fight off the urge to send him “camp”-ing.

Crisela Bernardino (entry#5)



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