Thank you, Fortnite. Thank you for being such a highly addictive interactive video game that my ten-year-old son now relies on you to meet his needs.
Clearly, you represent everything that is wrong with our society and I, along with all the other victimized parents, have had enough. Simply complaining to you, in the form of this letter, without any intention of correcting the problem ourselves, completely absolves us of any wrongdoing. You see, Fortnite, it was you, not us, who created this terrible predicament, to begin with.
Please note that history will not judge me unkindly, as I am just one of a plethora of parents whose children have voluntarily traded in their hopes and ambitions for a seat on the couch and a remote control in their hands.
My son used to be a normal boy. He’d do things like go to the pool, play catch, brush his teeth. Now? He’s perfectly content to sit in the dimly lit basement, physically close to his loved ones, but thousands of miles away, para-trooping into a place called Anarchy Shores to maim or be maimed.
In all fairness, it’s not as bad as it sounds. There is no blood and gore in your game; a genius move on the part of your creators’ to allow society to rationalize that being addicted to this game is better than being addicted to other, more violent ones. When murdered, there are no gaping chest wounds or intestines strewn about the hallowed grounds. The deceased player simply disappears and gets to watch their victor rifle through their things. Such a brilliant life lesson; lamenting their assassin’s brilliance and their own first world problems at the same time.
No parenting skill I’ve picked up along the way can compete with that.
It isn’t sympathy I’m seeking by coming out to you. Nor am I trying to rationalize my (lack of) parenting skills. The truth? I’ve made my decisions and I can live with them. After all, no parent should judge another parent until their child has had an opportunity to play you.
My motivations for this letter are quite simple and have nothing to do with the dangers of pediatric inactivity, the raging childhood obesity epidemic sweeping our nation, or the perils of poor dental hygiene. Nor is this letter an attempt at generating a national discussion on the lack of physical and social interactions of our children. My son simply could not go outside and play with others even if he wanted to. There are no children out there anymore.
Actually, the reason for this letter is quite simple. I was just hoping you could inform my son that his dinner is ready and that he needs to come upstairs. I’d bother him myself (his words, not mine), but he’s wearing that gigantic noise-canceling headset; the kind that airline pilots wear. It prevents any outside auditory distractions from interfering with him attempting to maim without being maimed, in a non-bloody, non-gory way.
The mere fact that I am still making my son dinner reflects my courage even as you seek to assume full parental responsibilities.
Until that time, though, please help. His peas are getting cold.
You can’t miss him. He’s wearing his favorite costume, though I believe they refer to it as a “skin.” It’s the one that makes him look like part fast-food restaurant employee and part Red Team Leader, whose mission it was to destroy the death star in Star Wars: A New Hope.
He won’t respond to his given name, so please call him by his handle, Ihatepeas.
Between you and me, he isn’t that good at playing you. Perhaps you could make his death look like an accident if that’s possible. Is that possible? Never mind. I don’t care. Just make quick work of him so he can mope his way up to the dining room table where we can watch him make brooding facial expressions as he rolls his spoon over cold peas that he never had any intention of eating anyway; and that we wouldn’t dare expect him to.
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