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I love my mother.

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Cebus Capucinis

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I was going to post this in the 'greatest video game moments' thread, but it was 2600 related:

My mother is, without a doubt, the most prim, proper, Victorian-minded woman you will probably ever meet in her life. She has not missed a day of church in at least the entirety of her marriage to my dad (they just had their 27th wedding anniversary this year!) and will only wear pants around the house if doing garden work or something like that. Seriously! She is a 3rd grade teacher and always has her hair in a bun; she is the epitome of the schoolmarm personality. She only told me this later in my adulthood but she is so concerned with decorum and civility that when guests are in the house she will turn the sink on when using the bathroom, lest the guests believe that she is doing something more 'improper' than simply washing her hands.

The most hilarious memory I have of my mother was approximately 6th grade. We had purchased a Nintendo Entertainment System and the rest of the family (my sister, my dad, and myself) had busied ourselves with loafing about trying to find the damned Princess, who was always in yet another castle. My dad spent most of weekends aside from playing with us kids trying to convince my mom to play the NES. No argument would work. Family entertainment? Nope, Mario Bros is "violent".

Finally, after months, my dad finally convinced my mom to play her first game: Dr. Mario. It was a puzzle game so there wasn't any violence! You were eradicating virii, so that was helpful! It stimulated your brain! What I wasn't aware of was that my mom was moonlighting as a video game crack addict. When the kids would go to bed promptly at 9:30 PM, she would go downstairs to the TV room and play Dr. Mario until 1-2AM, then go to work in the morning, prim and proper as ever.

How did I find out about this, you ask? After 2 months she decided that she was experienced enough to start playing Dr. Mario against my dad. Now, my dad and mom have the silliest relationship out of any married couple. My dad goes out of his way on a regular basis to antagonize my mom. Anything and everything he can do to irritate her is his sole goal in life. He had secretly been playing and getting better as well! He would come home an hour earlier than my mom would (telling her he was running errands, they both worked at the same elementary school) and would rush downstairs, kick us kids off the television, and frantically get better at Dr. Mario.

Well, the big night happens. The first challenge of all challenges. Head-to-head Dr. Mario, 11 PM. I was yet to fall asleep and was laying in my bed, thinking of the homework I had neglected to complete and the lunchtime conversation about the latest cartoons when what do I hear from our basement, but my mother's voice:

"YOU F***ING A**HOLE HOW DARE YOU! YOU'VE BEEN COMING HOME F***ING EARLY TO BEAT ME AT THIS S**T HAVEN'T YOU!"

Immediately following was a stream of expletives my 6th grade brain could hardly comprehend. My mother called my father everything under the sun. At one point in time she said "I SWEAR TO JESUS CHRIST AND EVERYTHING HOLY THAT I WILL FIND AN ATTORNEY AND DIVORCE YOUR SORRY @SS IF YOU SO MUCH AS BEAT ME AT ONE MORE F***ING SCREEN!" To this I hear my dad, maniacally laughing in that way he only could when he antagonized my mother.

Needless to say, my parents never got a divorce. My mother still denies this vehemently to this day. This wedding anniversary I had a surprise for them: A Turbo Duo system and a used copy of Dr. Mario. My dad fell on the floor laughing. My mother turned beet red. Inside the card was "I promise I don't want to break up your marriage, but I certainly want to thank you for teaching me all those wonderful words!"
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What a fun story! Thanks for sharing! Isn't it great when parents surprise us like that, secretly being as big video game geeks as we are, but never ever letting on.

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Actually I think this is what led her over the edge. From that moment on she refused to have absolutely anything to do with video games ever again. She used to 'shush' us immediately when we started talking about them.

She was probably praying for her mortal soul from the very moment she spoke those words or something, for all I know could still be :ponder:

Either way it's probably in the top 5 favorite childhood memories.

I should also say that since both my sister and I became adults and left the house (which has been 10 years for her and 8 for me) my mom has lightened up a LOT. I think most of it was just that "raising kids need to be uptight" vibe some of the Gen X-ers got. We never really got along when I was growing up but we have a great relationship now that I'm an adult ;)

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Thanks for sharing; I loved that story. There's something about Dr. Mario in particular that seems to appeal to "older folks" or non-gamers. My mother and her sister (both in their early 50s) play Dr. Mario and Tetris 2 regularly, and their parents (in their early 80s) play two-player Dr. Mario so much that the main game screen was burned into their old big-screen TV. You could see it even when the TV was off.

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