Sunday, December 13, 2009

All I Really Need to Know I Learned From Playing Video Games

A long while back there was this book called All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. When I saw the book I thought "That's silly, I learn valuable lessons all the time in video games." I decided to make my own book called "All I Really Need to Know I Learned From Playing Video Games". Every now and then I'd play a game and write down another important lesson.

I lost the list a few years ago and haven't thought about it in a long time. But a few minutes ago I stumbled upon Gaming After 40. The article I just linked to is called "Video Game Life Lessons" and is very similar to what I had in mind. Of course he's got some different lessons, like
  • Shoot zombies in the head when possible, stab them if they get too close.

But I see one lesson that looks familiar:
  • Talk to everyone you meet. They might know something you don't.

I worked at a coffee shop for a few years. Each day a couple ladies came through about lunch time and one of them ordered an iced cafe mocha. As the person behind the counter was saying "hello" she would make a point of plowing right on over them in a condescending tone with a long list of demands about her "cafe mocha" including how she wanted "four shots of espresso and NOT that premixed crap in the refrigerator!". Most days an attempt was made to explain the difference between a cafe mocha and an espresso mocha... always rudely dismissed mid-sentence with a snotty tone.

Things went on like this, with slight variations and occasional outbursts for more than two years. Then one day these fine, sophisticated ladies had just finished making their order and stepped in front of everyone at the pickup site. Luckily I had heard them in line and was bringing their drinks right to them (after a few hundred visits you learn what works best). As I was setting the drinks down someone at the order board leaned toward the counter and asked politely, "Excuse me, I'm new to this stuff. What's the difference between an iced cafe mocha and an iced espresso mocha."

A smile came over my face as I responded, " I'm very glad you asked. An iced espresso mocha is milk, chocolate, and hot espresso. An iced cafe mocha is chocolate milk made with Guittard Old Dutch chocolate and an amazing cold pressed coffee that takes almost two weeks to make."

Immediately I hear a shrill voice. "Why didn't you tell me that?"

I calmly answered, "Because, in more than two years this is the most you've allowed me to speak and possibly the only time you've shown the ability to listen. I did make several hundred prior attempts though, if that helps my case any."

I swear there was dead silence in the mall for the few seconds it took the ladies to pick up their drinks and leave, never to be seen again.

Anyway, the ladies in my story could have avoided what was likely a lifetime of uncomfortable situations, struggle, and strife if they were only given a few wholesome games as a child and carried away two lessons:
  • Read all signs. Someone took the time to make and erect a sign so they would not have to answer the same questions over and over again.
  • Talk to AND listen to everyone. Your life will be richer, easier, and more enjoyable if you simply converse with other people respectfully. Repeat often.

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