Fier Thy Words

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Playing Confusing Childhood Games is Much Better than Growing up, Joining the Real World


by Scott Spinelli

Thankfully, it’s come to a merciful conclusion.

My athletic career at this dignified institution has come to a close. Tuesday night’s men’s basketball loss marked an undistinguished, unremarkable conclusion to a four-year span of expensive fandom.

Yet, I write to you to lay all of the gossip to rest. It is official, here and now, I will be forgoing graduate school and entering the professional draft come May. Move over Paul Harris, Jonny Flynn, Donte Greene – your time will soon come.

While I haven’t hired an agent just yet, I can’t imagine my services won’t be needed in some capacity at the next level. Of course, there are areas in which my game could serve to improve, but I’m sure that once I go pro, that’ll all work itself out.

I’ve already purchased some real estate to accommodate my more than likely lavish lifestyle – a one-room studio apartment in a small home in New Jersey, landlords – a certain Mr. and Mrs. Spinelli.

In all seriousness (something I know you come to expect from these words), the men’s loss was a saddening one for me, beyond the way in which it happened. It begins to make clear everything is fleeting and concluding quite soon.

Maybe I should’ve seen this coming. There’s been enough of those wonderfully informative Facebook albums, “This is it!!!!” or “Senior Year!”

Strange as it may seem, I’m starting to feel old, or at least older. It’s gotten me to think back, to hark, if you will allow me to hark, back to some of my younger days.

Take, for instance, how early we had to wake up during high school. Every single day for four years, 6:00, 6:30 a.m. Nowadays, if you have an 11 a.m. class, it’s an injustice to you, your family and your heritage that the school could even dream to have you get up before noon.

Alas, my reminiscence took me to some of my favorite games – computer, board or otherwise – that we played.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t get enough of Perfection, otherwise known as Brain Aneurism for Young Children. There was always that ridiculous, 15-pronged piece waiting for you at the end that never fit in anywhere.

Tick, tick, tick. The sort of board game ticking that eats your soul.

And before you knew it, the whole board exploded, ruining at least two and a half good minutes of work. All the pieces were all over the place, my heart was in my trachea and yet, I kept coming back.

On the computer, I was a crack fiend for “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” I don’t know about you, but when I played that game as a child, and even as I’ve played it recently, all it does is make me feel more and more like an absolute ninny.

The clues they’d give you where ever the criminal had just been were completely worthless.

“She said her favorite import of the country were guava beans.”

What 7-year-old is supposed to know the chief imports and exports of South American countries?

And, while we’re on the subject, what the hell is a gumshoe? Everyone started out as a gumshoe, but I’d imagine only a small fragment of the population (likely an ostracized fragment) knows what it means.

The thing I could never forgive the game for was that it let Carmen steal things that were just ridiculous.

Carmen has made off with the city of Seoul. Gumshoe, it’s your mission to track down this magenta jacket-wearing pilfer.

Maybe I’m just a cynic, but shouldn’t some blame be put on the people at the airport?

Excuse me, excuse me. Ma’am! You’re going to have to check that. No, a monument will not fit in the overhead compartment.

Of course, the best part of “Carmen Sandiego” was the TV show. There are two things I remember about the show. The first is that awesome ending scene, with the way out of proportion map that curiously was missing state denominations. The other, without question, has to be that amazing theme song by Rockapella.

They’d always appear out of nowhere, either under a street lamp at a commercial break or sitting down at the end of the show, as if each time the TV camera caught them by surprise.
Well, now that you’re here, we might as well start singing without music.

I do have some good news for you, though. While graduating seniors won’t be able to be here for any more basketball or (football, is it?) games, Rockapella still makes music. Some things are better left in the past.

Scott Spinelli’s humor column appears in the Daily Orange every Thursday. He can be reached at He wants you to know that the best part of waking up, at least for him, is Folgers in his cup.


March 27, 2008 - Posted by | Spinelli

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