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In an effort to keep active this winter, we decided to get our thirteen-year-old son the “Wii Fit” machine. This machine consists of a pad you stand on that is hooked to a computer that is hooked to a television that is hooked to a wand of some kind that somehow talks to the television that talks back to the computer that tells the television what to play– near as I can figure.
We left the machine with my kids, and within five minutes the whole thing was working. I do have some pretty smart kinfolk.
I watched as they jumped off a ski jump, ran through an obstacle course, hula-hooped, and rode bicycles until I was finally sucked into it. The snow-ball fighting was the last straw, as I fancy myself quite an expert in that particular field.
My son got me started one morning when it was just the two of us. “Don’t be scared, Dad,” were my son’s words. Why would I be scared? The first thing I had to do was stand on the pad so it could send my weight to the computer, at which time the computer told the television to ask me when my birthday was, how tall I am, and if I could please put some socks on. Actually, I think my son was the one who asked about the socks, but I wanted my real weight, so I left them on the floor.
Even without my socks, the machine told the television to tell me that I was obese– big surprise.
The next test was like standing on water skis to me, and I grew up on water skis, so I did very well with that. At least that’s what the computer told the television to tell me. The computer calculated my Wii fit age at thirty-eight years old, fourteen years younger than my actual age.
My son was busy checking the electrical connections in disbelief as I danced around the pad. Apparently, if a person can fake water ski on a pad, it keeps him young.
So now I was ready to try throwing snowballs or ski jumping. But before letting me play, the computer told the television to make me build a cartoon character that looks like me. “That should be easy enough,” I thought to myself. I changed my hair color and side burns and put on a bright yellow jump suit. I always wanted to wear a yellow jump suit.
When I was finished, my son waved the wand at the television, and, just like that, my cartoon character poofed out like the “Stay-Puft” marshmallow guy. He laughed and laughed as he toggled me back and forth from fat to skinny.
“What was that about?” I asked. He finally quit laughing long enough to tell me the computer was making me look like a marshmallow as a motivational tool to give me incentive to lose weight.
(Listen up, Wii executives– this is not a very good incentive to lose weight.)
By the time I got around to playing any games, I was already worn out.
“Are there any games where I get to sit down?” I asked.
“There is one game,” he said. “You just have to sit very still and watch a candle burn down,” he added.
“Sign me up.”
I sat very still on the pad as the candle burned slowly down, all the time the computer was telling the television to scare me with loud noises and video flashes. Within minutes, I had mastered the art of sitting still while the candle burned all the way down. My son was quite impressed.
I did try the ski jumping, but I kept falling like that guy that made the term “agony of defeat” famous. The obstacle course was fun, but the pad kept telling the computer to tell the television to tell me not to jump on it so hard. I couldn’t help it.
Anyway, after a week, I have convinced the pad to tell the computer to tell the television to make me thinner, but I have a long way to go. Wish me luck.