Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On Thinking of the Children

The South Korean government is proposing steps to set a sort of curfew to restrict the number of hours children spend playing online video games.

Unsurprisingly, I have an opinion about this.

But surprisingly, for once this opinion is conservative, well-informed and personally experienced.

In college I like to think I was an excellent starter roommate. I was neat, pleasantly (if not neutrally) smelling, I had a large stock of movies which could be borrowed without question and over the three years I spent in my super-conveniently located dorm room, I became busier and busier with outside work and shenanigans, such that I was often never around during daylight hours and much of the evening. In short terms, I was cool when I was around, but mostly unobtrusive.

However, I personally have to admit there were two roommates I did not take to very well. (I only actively liked one, but that's beside the point.)

One was a twenty-six year old Korean student who had his own apartment in Vermont, but was forced to live on-campus for a semester as a new/transfer student. He was fine, except for when he made the room smell like rice and fish by cooking with his little hot pot. Since I'm the one with an uncommon aversion to seafood, this I allowed to pass by unmolested. In return, I got the room to myself nearly every weekend when he went back to his actual home to see his girlfriend.

The other Evil Ex-Roommate was also Korean. Before you start to rag on me for being some kind of crazed M*A*S*H reenactor with bents against the entire population of Seoul, understand there was a very awesome temporary roommate for a semester in between these two who was also Korean and had zero bad habits. He was awesome, and got along swimmingly with my other close Korean friend. None of these friends ever met my Japanese or Indian friends, but based on thousands of years of living on the Asian continent together, I have to assume they could only be friends. Right?

Anyway, the short of it is this last kid was a fat little butterball or awkward, fowl-smelling otaku, with no drive to become a better, more social person. I saw more man-boob that year as he sat indoors with a fan pointed directly at his sweating convalescence than I care to remember.

In fact the ill-wind that blew off this boy's body circulated through the room thank to the fan, placed mere inches from his sagging cleavage, and made the entirety of our domicile wreak of sadness and rice.

The one truly racist part is that I never once saw him eat rice, let alone cook it.

What brings me back to my min point was this: this boy sat in front of his computer all day playing side-scrolling Korean RPGs with his friends back in Korea, on Korean time. I'd be trying to go to sleep at 3 a.m. after hours of thoughtfulness and legitimate work and this lousy freshman is getting up after skipping class all day so he can play seven hours of what looked like a Warcraft 1 knock-off with his fat little Eastern Hemisphere counterparts. I'm not begrudging the kid friends, but seriously, dude, I don't need to see your fat ass half-naked in front of a glowing screen at night almost-silently clicking away at some giant lobster monsters. All I want is to be able to get to sleep while it's still dark and quiet, wake up without the door always slamming and maybe just once come back to find a note the three times you go out for a LAN party so I know if I have enough time to Google "big ol' boobies" before you get back.

So yeah, I support these South Korean Video Game Curfew Reforms. But too late for this guy. Too late, indeed.

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