Friday, July 29, 2011

Retro Night

With my insane work schedule and my sons wanting to spend every waking hour terrorizing the neighborhood with their friends, it has been some time since I've spent some quality father-sons time with them.  We used to build Lego sets together or watch Star Wars movies or have Nerf wars on a regular basis.  Lately it seems that I'm trying to catch up on stuff around the house when I'm not so tired I'm catatonic.

But with my wife having busted her ass over the last week to get some things taken care of and my having written a few blog posts ahead, I suddenly found myself with a little free time last night.  I made my sons milkshakes and hot soft pretzels and we hung out past midnight.  Just spending time with my sons is one thing.  What we did during those late night hours, however, ought to be noted on Wikipedia's profile page for "awesomeness."

We hung out on my bed all night.  They first asked for me to show them Punch-Out on the original NES.  Never wanting to deny anyone the opportunity to watch my video game dominance (just ask my brothers), I obliged and plugged in Mike Tyson's Punch-Out and, to even my own surprise, easily made it to Mr. Sandman without a hiccup.  After my defeat, my oldest son took over from the beginning and didn't run into a problem until King Hippo.  I was impressed.

Next, my younger son decided that his turn would be spent on Super Mario Bros. 2 where he happily ran about uprooting turnips and radishes and throwing them at Shy-Guys.  The music and sound effects alone from these games really take me back and I remember how nervous I used to get about passing the next level yet how willing I was to start completely from scratch should I fail.

While I played retro NES game after retro NES game, including Tetris, Urban Champion and Spy Hunter (damn that helicopter), my sons alternated between watching my performance and playing various games on our iPad.

Eventually, my oldest opened up Netflix and another blast from the past hit my eardrums.  It was the theme music to Ren & Stimpy.  While few things could make me put down a video game controller, especially the NES controller in all its boxy simplicity, I had to shut the old system down and watch along with them.  We all laughed hysterically as the Ask Dr. Stupid feature played between episodes and sand along to the Log commercial.  I was very proud.

A good time was had by all and we continued watching Ren & Stimpy and laughing our butts off until young eyes began closing.  As I tucked them into their beds, I was reminded of the influence I really have on the two of them.  When they are running around with their friends and doing things to impress them, they want nothing to do with their parents.  It allows me to forget sometimes that they are my little budding nerds whose interests I still have dominion over.  I saw that they are still on the path to becoming virtual little clones of myself.

And isn't that what being a parent is all about?

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