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Monday, May 11, 2015

A Diagnosis Of Nintendo Neck At Age 10

Hello, everybody!  I know what you're saying.  It's Monday.  Nothing good ever happens on a Monday.  Just ask Garfield, right?

Well, I can give you one good thing that will happen on this Monday...the continuation of the retrospective that I have happening all month long!

And today, we're going double digits!

The year was 1991, and I had just turned ten years old.  And let me tell you, Bart Simpson may have been onto something.  I remember on one episode, he told Lisa that everything goes downhill once you turn ten.  I don't quite agree with that sentiment, but I admit that there are some days in which I could go back to being ten years old.  An age where your only responsibility was to make sure that you went to school, did your homework, and respected your elders.

Even if the elders acted like children. 

1991 was certainly a year that I remember quite well.  But the one thing that I will say about 1991 was that it was mostly defined by one major event - the passing of my grandmother.  And if you want, you can read a story about the very last Thanksgiving that I spent with my grandmother by clicking HERE.  It was one of the first blog entries that I did, originally written on October 11, 2011.  Please take the time to read it.  It was written from the heart, and consider it a bonus story for you to read.

I have another story to tell you about life at age ten.  But before we get to that, we have to talk about some other things.

Here's how I looked at the age of ten.

Okay, so the sweater that I was wearing was a huge improvement over the previous year.  In fact, it was my favourite sweater from the fifth grade.  Alas, there was still no fixing my hair.  I blame that on the fact that my mother always made me wear hats to school - even on days in which I didn't need one!  It wasn't really until I turned sixteen or seventeen that I finally found a hairstyle I could live with!

#1 SONG THE WEEK OF 5/18/1991
"I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)" - HI-FIVE

I think this is the only song I remember by this group, which disbanded some three years later.  Years later, one member of the band died of inhaling freon from an air conditioning unit, and another member was arrested on charges of murdering his wife.  Time has not been good to these guys at all.

"What About Bob?"

Ah, yes!  Finally a movie that I can honestly say I loved watching!  Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss made a fantastic comedy duo!

"60 Minutes"

Yes, the ticking stopwatch was the most watched program of the year.  Though I probably never watched a single episode.  If it didn't have music, a laugh track, or lots of action, I was very much uninterested.

Though, come to think of it, I don't remember watching a lot of television during my tenth year of life.  At least, not actual television.

Oh, sure, I spent a lot of time in front of a television screen (probably more than I really want to admit to be perfectly honest), but I wasn't watching television.

You see, it was right around the time that I turned ten years old that I had immersed myself into the world of home gaming.  I had a little taste of it when I was eight years old when I received a used Intellivision console for a Christmas present.

(Yes, you read that right.  My first console was older than I was.)

I saved up my birthday money and tooth fairy money over the next year, and put a Nintendo console on layaway at the Woolco store in town, and when I finally had enough money to pay for it, I took that thing home, hooked it up to the living room television, and was fixated on Super Mario Brothers for what seemed like years on end.

Oh, sure, I played Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt - the games that came with the console - but I also played Super Mario 2 and 3, and basically every single video game that was made for the Nintendo console.  It helped that there was a corner store in my old neighbourhood that allowed us kids to rent Nintendo and Super Nintendo games, so I had a huge variety of games to choose - well, provided that I had $2.39 per day.

Yes, I think I played every single Nintendo game from "A Boy and his Blob" to "The Legend of Zelda", and every one in between.  Of course, I made sure that my homework was done before I got in my game time, but most of my free time went towards rescuing princesses from castles, jumping over barrels thrown by gigantic monkeys, and running away from multicoloured ghosts in a maze while searching for fresh fruit.

And I was unapologetic in how I spent my free time.  I was never an athletic kid, and I didn't really have a lot of friends in the fifth grade.  I basically kept to myself anyway.  And there were only so many episodes of "Full House" that one can watch before you want to throw an Olsen twin off the side of a mountain. 

Video games were what got me through year ten in one piece.

Of course, there was one major side effect to being a ten year old gaming genius.  I tell you, Fred Savage and his friends made video gaming look so easy in "The Wizard".  Not once did they show any of the medical side effects that could come from being glued to a video game screen for so long.

Such as loss of vision from sitting too close to a television screen.  I think that my love of video games may have contributed to the fact that I have needed corrective lenses since high school.  Video game playing can also lead to weight gain from a sedentary lifestyle.  I'll admit I was chunky throughout school and am still chunky now.  But at least I own it.

But would you ever consider a stiff neck as an unfortunate side effect of compulsive gaming? 

In my case, yes.  Yes, it was.  And it hurt.

You see, while some gamers develop carpal tunnel syndrome, stiff wrists, and blisters on their thumbs, in my case, my pain was all in my neck.  Every time I made Mario jump, Pac-Man eat a power pellet, or have Mega Man go into battle with one of the bosses of the game, my head would bob and nod and twist and turn.  I guess you could consider me a very animated gamer.

But after doing this for about one year straight and complaining of neck pain, my concerned mother took me to the emergency room of the hospital (yeah, my mom was just a tad bit overprotective), and wanted to see what was wrong.

The doctor's diagnosis?  Nintendo neck.

If anything, I probably had one of the very first cases of Nintendo neck.  Heck, I may have even invented the term!

Of course, there's really no cure for Nintendo neck other than rubbing it with Rub A535 to loosen the muscles and make my neck less stiff.

Oh, and my video game time was cut significantly.  I guess it was just as well.  I ended up reading more books anyway.

So, that was my story from age 10.  We're coming up to year eleven, and how one kind gesture from a teacher helped change my whole perspective on life forever.

That story you will see on Wednesday.

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