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Fay's Beach Buzz             

Crying Wii Wii Wii
all the way home

2009 Fay Jacobs

Fay Jacobs

We got a Wii. If you don't know what that is you are older than I am and that's pretty hard.

Bonnie said she wanted the snazzy suite of video sports games because it would be good exercise. Truth was, she just wanted to play. This is a woman who celebrated her 40th birthday on a roller coaster at King's Dominion Amusement Park and spent most of the following decade still squatting behind home plate.

While other folks were starting to worry about colonoscopies she celebrated age 50 going speeding on the wrong side of a winding road in the English countryside. The rest of us in the car were thrilled to see sheep up close but prayed one wouldn't wind up splayed on the windshield.

For Bonnie's 60th she wants to do a zip line. I'm lucky I can still zip my pants.

So we got a Wii. That itself was a contest because they never had the big Wii boxes in stock at the Big Box store. One day we heard rumor of a truck coming in the next morning.

"I can't believe you are making me get up at 6 in the morning to stand in line at Walmart for my own Chanukah present," Bonnie hissed at me, as I pulled the covers over my head.

"Pretend it's a game," I said.

So she put on her game face and jockeyed for position as the sun came up over the Walmart parking lot. When the terrified greeter opened the doors my spouse was first off the starting block and I am proud to say she came in first to the electronics department without trampling anybody.

So we got a Wii.

The first time I ever saw the thing it was at a friend's house, where I was tapped to go Wii bowling with three former PE teachers. For some reason I could simulate in the living room what eluded me in the bowling alley and, strike after spare after strike, beat the pants off all three women. They smiled, but I know these competitive athletes were seething to be beaten by. Of all people, me. I should have retired my Wii controller right there.

But in our new home bowling alley I persevered. Bowling is fun. You stand in front of your TV and swing the game controller, letting go of the button to throw the bowling ball. It's a lot lighter than a real bowling ball, you can't get your thumb stuck and you don't have to wear somebody else's stinky bowling shoes. Then again, getting athletes foot is the closest I come to being an athlete.

You do get to hear that delightful echoing sound of bowling balls being mowed down. Wii sound effects rock. And there is applause for strikes. I love applause.

Of course, every time I pick up the controller, Bonnie begs me to secure the wrist band on my hand, certain this klutz will eventually launch the device through the screen of the 42-inch Sony.

Although gutter balls are much harder to execute with Wii than in reality, if you drop your hand too far without releasing the button it is possible to send the virtual ball rolling behind you into the crowd of cartoon bowlers waiting their turn, who then scream and sneer at you. I remember that all too well from high school.

And speaking of cartoons, my favorite part of Wii is putting together the cartoon characters resembling you and your friends, There are choices of eyes, ears, noses, hair, eyeglasses, the works. I love that you have no choice of thighs, boobs or butts and everyone looks similar from the neck down. This is not a reality show.

So far, the most Wii fun I've had is cross-dressing my friends and endowing them with inappropriate eyebrows and facial hair.

Truth is, Bonnie and I bowled several nights in a row, invited friends over so we could replicate them into little cartoon figures, and became obsessed with the game. That is, until I was in the midst of throwing a ten pin split when I put a little too much body English behind it and pulled a groin muscle. In my living room, in front of the TV. That's a new one.

After bowling, Bonnie challenged me to softball, where she got to throw the ball at ninety miles an hour and I got to flail wildly and miss it. Flashbacks of summer camp. Bonnie now has a right biceps like Popeye's and my rotator cuff is throbbing.

Then there's golf. You are supposed to hold the controller like a golf club, but we've not figured out how to do that without looking like Quasimodo. Hunched and ready, it turns out that I am just as lousy at TV golf as I am on the course. Although, the way the game is set up, you can only take a certain number of strokes before a disembodied voice tells you to "give up." If somebody told me that in 2005 I could have saved myself a lot of humiliation, not to mention greens fees.

Part of Wii Golf is to read the course, looking at differing shades of green on the putting green to determine the angle of the terrain. Please. I can't even tell my blue turtlenecks from the black ones anymore. Six shades of video green is just cruel.

I've yet to try Wii tennis because I watched Bonnie virtually smashing the ball over the net and figured I have to work up to that much exercise. The only thing my backhand is good for is to give compliments.

Now that it's nearly Spring, Bonnie wants to get the Wii Fit exercise routine. I understand you have to enter your vital statistics, including your weight and the little cartoons are drawn to more realistically reflect each participant. Can't wait. The game checks your Body Mass Index, tells you your Wii Fit age and keeps tabs on your weight. Let's face it, Wii might want to be fit, but there's no way Wii (the Royal Wii) are having any part of that.

As Bonnie says, "Wii shall see about that..."

Wii shall overcome?
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Fay Jacobs, a native New Yorker, spent 30 years in the Washington, DC area working in journalism, theater and public relations. She has contributed feature stories and columns to such publications as The Advocate, OUTtraveler, The Baltimore Sun, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, The Washington Blade, The Wilmington News Journal, Delaware Beach Life and more.

Since 1995 she has been a regular columnist for Letters from CAMP Rehoboth, and won the national 1997 Vice Versa Award for excellence. Her columns are collected in the books, As I Lay Frying: a Rehoboth Beach Memoir and the newly published Fried & True - Tales of Rehoboth Beach.

Fay is Publisher and Managing Editor of A&M Books, the publisher of the 14 classic Sarah Aldridge novels.

She and Bonnie, her partner of 25 years, relocated to Rehoboth Beach, DE in 1999. They have two Miniature Schnauzers and a riding lawn mower.

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