Monkey on My Back

It all started when I observed a friend poking at the screen of her smart phone. “Angry birds,” she said.  Curious, I did what parents do:  asked my daughter about it. In no time, I had the birds squawking at me from my phone. Abi tactfully mentioned I could mute the sound.

I played the game during vacation until my eyeballs got sore. In fairness to myself, I only played when I wasn’t otherwise engaged. Like waiting for my latte at Starbucks. Or in-between chapters of the book I was reading. Maybe occasionally when everyone else was having spirited conversations. I caught looks from my family as I huddled over my phone–stealing illicit moments with the birds. The twitch that developed in my eyes seemed a small price. I thought I’d leave it behind like a summer romance.

The game instills a faux sense of pride that comes from knocking open the cages and setting the tropical birds free. I should have known that it would not be simple to step away. I made it to the next game level to find that it had transitioned into what I call mad monkeys.  The game says they are also angry, but they look mad. If you’ve played, no explanation is necessary. If not, then take my word for it: monkeys screech at you as you try to bomb them with little missiles of various sorts.

I’ve learned that it is the most mainstream game out there, launched in 2009 by Finnish company, Rovio. Those crazy Finns.  I like to win and be done, but you win and then you have to take it on all over again. Ugh. And now I’m a monkey maimer.

I’ve relegated game time to occasional snatches of play. Once the screen lights up and those monkeys start hopping and hooting–even when it’s muted you can tell they are mocking you for your bad aim–I get stuck in it again. I should remove the app from my phone. Right?  Then I could deal with my unhealthy fondness for Facebook Scrabble  … another monkey on my back …

Ignorance might have been bliss. Though I made the mistake of googling when I was writing this; there are green pigs in a new version…

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