There’s an epidemic spreading among the masses. It’s a plague with no physical symptoms. It carries no sores, no bruises, and no discoloration. It doesn’t make anybody stuffy, irritated, or drowsy. This disease works stealthily, hopping from one person to another, invisible to the naked human eye. The only sure-tell way to identify this sickness is when it’s too late. It’s when the epidemic has your friends, your coworkers, and your family locked down, submerged into a full-blown breakout with no way out.
Even then, I only know because they tell me. These loved ones finally feel the illness worming its way through their systems, and when it has made its way to their hearts, they lean in real close, their glossy eyes a snapshot of terror, and they whisper, “I don’t know how to tell you, but I’ve traded in my thumbs.”
“My thumbs. Both of them. I ain’t the jockey I used to be, brother. I feel different.”
It’s happened so many times, I don’t blink anymore. I just ask them to hit me with it. Straight.
“You ever play Settlers of Catan?”
Several years ago, I never thought board games would rise up and challenge video games. The idea seemed silly. What were board games? Monopoly? Sorry? Battleship? Checkers? These were mildly entertaining bonding activities simple enough that even Grandma could participate. These were toys for family parties, a means to pass the time without turning on the TV, and in that, board games were as cool as they were exciting.
But then something happened in the early 2010s that changed everything. A staple from my youth started to die out. What once was vogue in the world of video gaming became archaic. It was slapped with a label and lost in most modern games, relegated to a cultural motif of yesteryear. They call it “couch co-op” or “couch multiplayer” these days. It’s the notion of inviting friends over to game, sitting next to each other in the same room, and either working together or challenging each other through split screens on the TV.