Every once in awhile, Cruz suckers me into playing Fortnite with him. I must confess, it is not something I look forward to. If I had to choose between playing Fortnite or scrubbing toilets, the toilets would win every time. But, alas, eventually I will run out of toilet bowl cleaner or he will be on to me so I have to put down the toilet brush and pick up the controller to appease him.
I am borderline between the generation that says, “losing a game damages a child’s self esteem” and the one that says, “losing puts hair on their chest.” I probably lean a little more toward the self-esteem approach so I would often let him win at Candy Land or Uno. A small sacrifice if it meant he could proudly puff up his chest and gloat that he beat me. It would be nice if he extended that same courtesy to me when playing Fortnite – but no. He frickin’ crushes me!
With clean toilets and a desire to inflate his self-esteem I recently succumbed to the pressure and agreed to play. We sat side by side in the family room to begin our battle royale. Cruz always makes it seem as if he is letting me choose my “skin” but somehow I always end up being the banana while he is some really cool looking dude with sunglasses and a feather jacket. But, whatever! I can release my inner gamer and hopefully not slip on a banana peel in the process!
So we sat there – each with our own consoles and remotes and “readied up.” (Yeah, I speak a little “gamer.” Not fluently, but enough to converse with a third grader.) Before I knew it, I was falling from the sky approaching an island. Great, I won’t even give him the opportunity to “kill” me; this looks to be a suicide mission.
But then something released that slowed my roll so that I pulled off a graceful landing… just in time for him to shoot me!
“Yeah, head shot! You’re dead.” He shouts with delight.
“What? You didn’t even give me a chance!” I protest.
Then suddenly something magically happened and I was falling from the sky again. Apparently this is called “respawning.” This is something like a resurrection only Jesus probably did not look like a banana.
This time I landed on the grass and just stood there. The controller is nothing like the joystick for Ms. Pac Man so I had no clue what to push. I began randomly pushing buttons. One button made me jump up and down, another made my arms flail in the air and one made me crouch down. I looked like the avatar version of Richard Simmons sweating to the oldies – only in a banana suit instead of wrist sweatbands and polyester shorts that left little to the imagination. (C’mon ladies! You know you can do this. And reach, reach and twist, twist.)
Eventually I figured out how to move so I began running. In real life, a person builds up to this developmental milestone after successfully mastering crawling and walking. Not in Fortnite! Once you land on the island, it’s game on.
I soon realized that I am rather directionally challenged. If I wasn’t running in circles, I was running into boulders or trees. Eventually, I saved Cruz the trouble of killing me and I ran right off of a cliff.
As I fell through the sky, Cruz told me to aim towards the town. (Such a quaint little village right there in the middle of the island.) I touched down in the middle of Town Square and began running once my feet hit the ground. Out of nowhere, a sparking treasure chest appeared on the sidewalk next to me.
“Press ‘X’ mom, get some loot.” Cruz yelled at me.
I approached the treasure chest and began loading up on weaponry. It was like going to the Sporting Goods store with someone else’s credit card; I had my choice of shotguns, ARs, SMGs, RPGs, LMNOPs and a Bow and Arrow. (Cuz you just never know when you might need a bow and arrow!)
Once I was properly armed, I took off looking for Cruz. Proud of myself that I have figured out how to somewhat navigate through the town, I rounded a corner.
“Bam!” He got me again and I didn’t even see him coming!
“What the heck! Where were you?”
“In the port-a-potty! [Ha ha ha!} I was hiding in the port-a-potty!” He tells me.
What? Are there no rules in this game? Surely, there must be a grievance process. I might have to find the one eight hundred number for Epic Games and send them a sternly written letter about the unacceptable anarchy they have created. Allowing a seven year old in a feather jacket hide inside a port-a-potty… Who does this?
“Cruz, pause it. I need to go to the bathroom.”
“Mom! How many times do I hafta tell you? You can’t pause Fortnite!” he said with exhaustion. He knows he has told me this a hundred times. He has gotten used to eating his dinner cold because the game lacks this critical ability.
“Whatever, just play for me then. I’ll be right back,” I announced then promptly departed for the restroom. Cruz killed me two more times while I was away. Secretly I was hoping that it would be like the nine lives of a cat! Once your lives are used up, it’s bye-bye kitty!
“When does the game end, Cruz?” I casually inquired.
“We’re going a hundred rounds,” he tells me.
I could feel the life bleeding out of me through my finger-tips. I needed water… air… a dirty toilet to attend to. Anything that could save me from this electronic torture.
“You alright over there, mom?” Cruz managed to ask without taking his eyes off of the screen.
I gritted my teeth. “I’m fine,” I informed him and grabbed my controller while narrowing my eyes on the screen. It’s game on, I thought. Screw his self esteem – I am gonna show this kid what I am made of!
The next round was fairly heated. I still couldn’t do much besides jump, punch and crouch, but now I was an armed aerobics instructor! This could get interesting.
“C’mon, mom! Fight like a man!” Cruz was up on his feet, foaming at the mouth and ready to pounce on me like a rabid dog. I grabbed my pic axe and started swinging wildly while twirling around like a ballerina. Eventually, he put me out of my misery.