Thursday, March 26, 2009

Magnificent Obsession

Like all obsessions, it began innocently enough. Join Facebook, my friend said, so you can play this game called Mafia Wars. It's really fun, it's a strategy game. I thought I might as well give it a try. After all, the whole thing was free.

I started slowly, not exactly sure what I was doing, but within a week I'd progressed to a level of play where I'd begun to acquire things: tommy guns, grenades, hideouts, body armor, members of my crew. Strangers began attacking me, which pissed me off. I acquired more defense and more attack, more weapons and more energy and more crew members. I began randomly attacking strangers in kind. I needed to do more jobs to pay for all the stuff I was acquiring, and then I needed more stuff in order to do more jobs. Suddenly it became necessary for me to log on to play the game three or four times a day in order to protect my assets, launder my money, ensure the survival of my character.

And so here we are, three weeks later. Because I work on my computer most of the day it's possible for me to check in on the game every few hours, and I find myself doing just that. I'm always running short of energy, but I can fill out ridiculous consumer surveys that lead nowhere but provide me with enough points to refill my energy and play the game even more. It's a downward spiral, solitaire on crack. I need help.

It would help if more people joined my mafia, but then again a larger crew would just enable me to fight and win more often, and to purchase more safe houses. What I really need is a different online activity, one that's less addictive. Or a real life. I need for spring to finally really arrive, so I can leave my house and turn my back on the soft glowing call of my monitor, sucking me in. Maybe what I need is to finally and irreversibly be whacked. Someone, please kill me, so I can live again.

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