Tonight I tried once again to play the drums on Beatles Rock Band. I was playing in an "unofficial" capacity. That is, Lilah was beating the drum pads with the drum sticks, and I was trying to follow along with her, beating an old plastic tube and a DVD case against the floor. I am terrible at this game. I get very flustered. It is too quick for my brain, too much thinking on my feet. There are all these beats coming at you on the TV screen, and I for one have a hard time catching on to the tempo changes. Whenever an extra beat or two comes hurtling at me on the screen, I reach out spastically to strike the floor two beats after I was supposed to. Sometimes I just freeze. It is a far cry from my glory days as a Pong player some thirty years ago. Dad used to boast about how I could play Pong with my toes, and how I could beat everyone, hands or toes. Those were the days.
Video games today require more skill. When I play Mario Kart, I am always driving off the road, crashing into the ocean or falling off the skyway to my death. I know my limitations, and I would have been content to play the Beatles game at Beginner, but Lilah had to play everything at the "hard" level. We played "I saw her standing there," "Hey bulldog," "I am the walrus," and "Day tripper." I watched her hands to pick up the rhythm before joining in with my plastic tube. If I jumped in too early before she got her groove going, she said I was messing her up.
It's no surprise I am so weak at this game. Look at how I spend every day at work --hunched over a computer, glaze-eyed, clicking a mouse. I'm like a mouse myself, clicking for a little pellet. A Yahoo news story. A Facebook notification. No wonder my senses and reaction times are dulled.
I wonder what would happen if I could play Beatles Rock Band every day. Could I actually improve? Could I make new neural connections, and develop an intuitive grasp of things that elude me, like tempo and meter? I wonder if my reflexes would become sharper? Kind of a shame I won't have the time to invest in finding this out. Oh what specimans we could all be, if we just had the time.