Tag Archives: The Inevitable

Rent or Buy

There was a rule in our house about movies: you could only rent or buy movies you hadn’t seen. Renting or buying movie you’d already seen was a wanton waste of money, precious resource that it was, stupid.

So, what happened? Nothing but the inevitable: we watched the rented movies that we liked as much as possible before returning them (ostensibly forever; never to see them again), and we bought a lot of movies we only watched maybe once, maybe twice.

There is a sense here of wasting time as well as money. Yet, my parents remained firm. If you saw something once you never needed to see it again, did you? It’s been spent, over and done with. Rent or buy.

(There was no room here – no accounting for taste).

It was like they wanted to eat their cake and have it too, but also not have it to eat it.

Actually, it feels like it was a kind of test, which we failed, miserably.

Or maybe not.

Maybe we surpassed all expectation, if only because there was really no accounting for taste, no reason for or against it.

Waste not, want not.










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Filed under Childhood, Entertainment, Family, Movies, THE PAST, Time


I have an aunt who would ask me all the time, “Am I your favourite?”

I have a lot of aunts. She wanted, it seems, to stand out distinguished among them.

(Though there are a lot of aunts, they are not interchangeable, but the issue seems to be hers exclusively.)

As time passed, the questioned changed:

“Who’s your favourite?”

And changed again:

“I’m your favourite, right?”

Until, finally:

“Tell them who your favourite is.”

“No,” “Why,” “I don’t know” did not deter her from asking her question, and neither did “Yes.”

“Yes,” as you can see, was what led to further questions until the inevitable “tell them.”

(NOTE: “I don’t have a favourite,” was met with disbelief and scorn, and also the equally predictable demands for a “real” answer. Demands for “the truth.”)

The truth is this: I no longer speak to that aunt. Not anymore than I have to, anyway. Which is to say not a lot. Which is to say not much.

Funny now, looking back on things. Funny the lengths we go through, the trouble and expense, to define something for others on behalf of ourselves.

Among other things, “favourite” means “chosen”, “preferred”, and “cherished.”

No longer speaking to my aunt is my choice, it is my preference and something I have come to cherish.

My favourite.




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Filed under Change, Family, Relationships, THE PAST, Words

Open Secrets, Vol. 7

– Certitude is not security.

Gross: incompetence, negligence, bathrooms.

– Bragging = largely confessional.

– They’ve already done it.

Funny: business, ha-ha, that.

– Muzak vs. NOTHING

– It can still be new to you.

Deceptively: simple, complicated, boring.

– Everything is inevitable.

– Security vs. Safety.

– I’m with you.

– Failure is an option when it’s an option.

– NOSTALGIA est. 30 years ago today.

The greatest thing: under the sun, since sliced bread, you’ll never see.

– Jesus flipped the table.

– They vs. Them.

– The ubiquitous “They.”





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Filed under Interruptions, People, Routines, THE PAST, Words

End Game

When Alexey Pajitnov developed Tetris (Russian: Тетрис) in 1985, it seems unlikely that he knew what, exactly, he would unleash into the world.  As he excitedly shared it with his comrades in those early days and sullenly bided his time until the day it would belong to him alone, finally and again (see Kent 2001: 377 – 381), the game, almost effortlessly, became bigger than even itself and threatened to forsake him.

Always love.

And love.

Tetris was, after all, a sensation, a craze, a frenzy – one that flares up occasionally, like wildfire, consuming all in its path.  It is the ultimate test of skill, endurance and luck under pressure, of one against the inevitable.

In that, Pajitnov wasn’t alone.

My friend’s father nearly burned down the house BECAUSE OF TETRIS.

His entire family of 8 was home at the time, most of them sleeping upstairs.  They were always late risers, but anyway it was the weekend.  The stove was on, there was hot oil on a burner and the drapes caught on fire.  Soon, the entire kitchen was engulfed in flames.

It’s hard to say what transpired that fateful morning.  But picture, if you will, Dad going through his morning routine, half awake but perking up to the idea of a hot breakfast.  Bacon today!  With some eggs, maybe?  But just as he clicks on the burner and begins to pull apart the strips of bacon one by one, placing them in beautiful, unbroken lines on the counter, arranging them just so, something begins to pull at the back of his mind, and before it even registers, he is beckoned from his task by the allure of the computer.

Just one quick game…

What happened next is the stuff of lore, of stories passed from person to person, causally thrown about among friends and strangers and landing, from time to time, just a breath shy of the incredible reality of Urban Legend.

The second oldest daughter came downstairs.  She saw the drapes smoke then explode into flames, and she saw her father sandwiched between stairs and the rising fire.  She tensed.  Took a deep, shuddering breath….

               …and promptly ran outside, screaming “FIRE!” as she went…

…while the rest of the family remained inside, upstairs

Dad kept playing the game – oblivious – in a state of such pure geometric ecstasy that breakfast, fire, home, space and time, all were banished to the realm of the inconvenient and unpalatable.

He was on a roll.  The roll of his lifetime…

                     …until another daughter came downstairs, blinked once at the flames and once at her father, and screamed “FIRE!”…

while still in the house…

                   …and roused everybody up before they all ran outside, together.

                   As a family.

Some say Dad was first to hear her screams, but was last to leave the house.

Some say he lingered, hesitating just long enough at the computer screen to gaze one last time upon his high score – his highest score – and to sear it forever into his memory.

For what it’s worth: Second Oldest Daughter had the wherewithal to call the fire department from a neighbour’s place across the street. They managed to put out the blaze in the kitchen before it truly spread to the rest of the house.

For what it’s worth: She swears she believed, at the time, that they would hear her trailing screams, and rather fancies her actions as a kind heroic multitasking, thank you.


For what it’s worth: to this day, Dad swears it was the best game of his life.  In that, he has a kind of undeniable proof.

I was friends with the other daughter.

The good one.

Kent, Steven L.  (2001). The Ultimate History of Video Games: The Story Behind the Craze that Touched Our Lives and Changed Our Worlds. Three Rivers Press: New York.


Filed under Games, THE PAST