In which our bearded protagonist reveals that he is not like other men

Believe it or not, I have friends. Not many, it must be said, but enough that I could field a rather sickly-looking five-aside football team if my life depended on it. Though quite what fiendish scenario would require a five-aside football match to determine my fate, I'm not altogether sure. Probably something involving occult terrorists with something strange and squid-like in a jar of formalin. But even if this bizarre necronomiconistical football match was required, my team would probably get it's backside kicked up and down the pitch.

That, dear readers, is because most of my friends are geeks*, grossly unfit**, or a combination of the two.

What they do have though is top-notch hand/eye coordination. That's because they all own at least one computer games console. Ah yes, ask them to chase about after a football and they'll fold like a prostitute's duvet, but if you need someone to drive really fast around a pretend racecourse, or save the world from aliens, they're your guys.

But I'm not. Not content with being crap at football, I'm also crap at computer games. I'm one of the few men in my peer group*** who doesn't actually own an X-Box, or a Nintendo Wii, or a PlayStation. Well, OK, so technically I do own a PlayStation -- it was my leaving present from the ISP I used to work for nine years ago -- but it doesn't work. When moved into the current Casa MacBride, lots of our stuff was piled up in boxes on the top landing. The PlayStation was on top of one of the piles. Until a certain cat who shall remain nameless decided it would look better on the ground floor and bounced it about fifteen feet down the stairs. It still looks like a PlayStation, but it sounds like a maraca.

I suppose it wasn't a huge loss. Yes, it did have sentimental value, but in all the years I owned it I only ever had one game for the thing. And I didn't play that very much. I've just never been a computer gamey kind of person.

Of course, now that I'm getting on a bit (and yes, before you ask, it is my birthday next week), I'm beginning to wonder if that means there's something wrong with me. Other than the usual stuff, I mean.

Take my friend Alex, for example: he has a VAST array of computers, game consoles, and games. The best of which has to be ROCK BAND, where you and your mates get to pretend to be a sweaty rock group (complete with plastic guitars and drum kit), without all that messy business of having to learn a musical instrument first. And it's completely addictive.

The only trouble is that everyone else in my group is getting very good at the game, while I remain craptastic. I blame a complete lack of talent on my part, coupled with no opportunity to practice. Now there is an obvious way round this: go buy the game and practice. Only to do that I'd first have to get something to play it on.

And if I buy a games console, I'm going to have to get more games to go on it. After all, how sad would it be to buy a new PS3 just to play at being a drummer in a rock band?**** On the other hand, it would give me something else to do instead of working all the time.

Then again, I'd probably just get bored of it after a couple of weeks and the next thing you know it'll be back in its box at the top of the stairs, waiting for Grendel to make another maraca.

* This is, of course, a sweeping generalisation, some of them aren't geeks at all. Some are nerds.
** Like me.
*** Which is a polite way of saying 'gentlemen of a certain age and waist measurement'.
**** Though I suppose as mid-life crises go there are worse things in this world. Like ponytails, motorbikes, and mistresses. Well, maybe not mistresses, but they can be expensive, especially if your wife finds out.

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