Roger Ebert Can Kiss My Shiny Metal Butt

I have a lot of hobbies. I like playing video games, I like listening to music, I like reading books. But one thing I don’t consider a hobby is watching movies. It’s not that I don’t like watching movies, because I do. Or rather, I should say that I like the idea of watching movies. When it comes to actually sitting down and watching a movie, though, I find that I’d much rather spend my time in other pursuits.

Here’s a little story to illustrate. About a year ago my mom and grandma bought me a Playstation 3 as a graduation (from college) present. One thing that I was excited about was that now I could play Blu-Ray movies. A year later, I do in fact own two movies on Blu-Ray. And I haven’t watched either one. I want to watch them. One of them (Star Trek) was a Christmas present from my wife. And I was very excited to get it. And when I see it sitting on the shelf, I think “Ooo! I should watch that!” But so far, I haven’t.

I think the reason that I don’t actually watch movies is that I have a pathological fear of boredom. See, when I was a kid, my parents did not buy me everything I wanted. Which was of course a good thing, because it meant that I didn’t grow up to be a spoiled brat. But it was also a bad thing, because it meant that sometimes I got sick of the limited number of things that I owned, at which point I became bored. And for some reason, being bored was/is such a horrible thing to me that I do everything I can to prevent it. And now that I’m grown up and have more control over what I can buy, I have a plethora of distractions to ensure that there is no possibility that I will ever be bored. (Although, as I’m not Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, I still can’t buy EVERYTHING I want),

As an example of my desperate need to not be bored, I will just mention that when I was folding laundry earlier this week, I was also listening to music and playing Sudoku at the same time. I know, it’s a sickness.

Now, you’re probably asking, “what does this have to do with watching movies? Don’t people normally watch movies as a cure for boredom?” Probably normal people do, but I’m afraid that I’m not very normal. I tend to find that I need my eyes, ears and hands all occupied in order to stave off boredom. If I’m watching a movie, my eyes and my ears are occupied, but my hands are not. And movies are pretty long. Sitting for an hour and half to three hours without anything to occupy my hands is a tall order for me. Sheesh, now that I write this stuff down, it makes me wonder if I have ADHD or something. Who knows?

In any case, I think this is one of the reasons that I like video games so much. With a video game, my eyes, ears and hands are fully occupied. Assuming it’s a good game, I can get totally immersed in it to a level beyond any other type of hobby/distraction. Video games are my ultimate cure for boredom.

Of course, that means that if I’m playing a video game, I’m pretty much useless for anything else. So as my family grows and I have more responsibilities around the house, I find that my opportunities for playing video games become more limited. Obviously, after my son was born, I began to limit video games with violence or other explicit material to the period after he was asleep for the night. But I still played family-friendly games with him around. (Which he enjoys immensely, by the way. He actually went through a phase where he would cry if I didn’t play my DS.) With two kids, however, I find that there is so much going on at any given time that I really can’t play any video games at all unless both kids are in bed.

But I seem to have digressed from my original topic. Another reason that I don’t watch movies is that I don’t have a lot of free time anymore. Once upon a time, back in the days before kids, I used to work at Movie Gallery. (This was also in the days before Netflix killed Movie Gallery, but that’s a topic for a different time.) Pretty much the only perk of working at Movie Gallery was that I got to rent movies for free. Movie Gallery wanted its employees to be knowledgeable about the product they were selling, so employees were allowed to take out three movies at a time for no charge. And because I could get movies for free and my wife and I had no kids, watching movies was one of our favorite pastimes.

Now, we have kids. And having kids means having less free time, which means making tough choices about what hobbies to prioritize and which ones to leave behind. (At least it does if you have a lot of hobbies.) For me, watching movies was one of those hobbies that got left behind. As much as I enjoy watching movies, I enjoy playing video games more. And when it comes down to deciding what I want to do when the kids go to bed, video games invariably win out. Occasionally I prefer to read or browse the internet and listen to music. But it has been a long time since I decided to watch a movie. Will those days make a return? Perhaps, once my kids are older and more independent. But in the meantime, it’s hardly the end of the world if I don’t get to watch movies. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go play video games.

Also, sorry about the random title. It’s really hard to think of good titles for blog posts.

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