Crispy Gamer

Jones's Very Special Holiday Moment

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My parents, not surprisingly, have never really understood what I do for a living. They know that I write about, and talk about, videogames, and that somehow I have miraculously managed to convince people to pay me for these services.

To say they've been a bit dubious would be an understatement.

They live in Florida now. I talk to them on the phone about once a week or so. They always ask me how things are going at "Crispy Gamers." They insist, time and again, on adding the extra "s" for some inexplicable reason. It always makes me wince.

To be fair, I've never really tried to explain what I do for a living. Or, maybe I have, and I've just done a poor job of it. Whenever my work at Crispy Gamers does come up, my mother always cauterizes the conversation with a quick, "Well, as long as you're happy, that's all that matters."

End of conversation.

I remember a visit to my parents in Florida a few years back. We were in the car with some close friends of theirs, a husband and wife, and the subject of my career came up. One of the friends, an older woman, went to great lengths to explain how one of her sons (a man much younger than I am), outright despised videogames. "He thinks they are completely silly," she said repeatedly.

I made a few weak attempts to convince her that it was actually quite wise to be open to the possibilities of this new medium, that there were opportunities here. But she wasn't having any of it. (Side note: She'd had a few wines at the restaurant.)

The argument died out. An uncomfortable silence settled over the car. 

As a writer, more than anything in the world, I want to be understood. And it frustrates me more than I'd care to admit that the people who made me, who I spent the first 18 years of my life with, don't understand.

Every time they call and ask me how Crispy Gamers is going, it kind of kills me a little.

Which is why, over Christmas in snowy upstate New York, I opened a gift that made my eyes--no bullshit--well up. "It's just a silly thing I bought in the store that made me think of you," my mom said as I held up the shirt.

I turned the shirt around, and let me family--my brother, my sister-in-law, my niece, my father--see it. I held it up high, so they could read every word on it.

"It's not silly," I said, hiding my watery eyes behind the shirt. "It's not silly at all."