The 1970s were a different age, to be sure. A simpler age. A wilder age. A — well, a sexier age. Disco. Skating rinks. Hot pants. Led Zeppelin. And of course, video games.
Not the hi-def seizure bombs that keep your children plump and sedate save for the odd screamed demand for more sandwiches and neon-green cola. No. I speak of the giants on whose shoulders those glossy pretenders stoop. Indeed, only one specimen comes to my mind when the medium is mentioned. The game?
The year was 1979. I was 19, and I’d squandered countless hours and a small fortune trying to master that classic at the Hot Lips Skating Rink. Not just for my own gratification, but to impress the girl I was sweet on at the time, Wanda McGilligan. Dear old Wanda.
What’s that? Did I love her? Ha, good one. No, her family was far too low class for such heady emotion to be even a remote possibility. But that never stopped me from enjoying the hell out of our sweaty backwards skating sessions and her unparalleled ability to…
Ahem. I digress. Where were we? Ah yes — Space Invaders. 1979. Specifically, a hot and humid afternoon on August 22 of that year. Wanda was working the snack counter, and I was moments away from finally claiming the machine’s high score. Behind me, a small throng of people gawked in amazement as I deftly repelled wave after wave of alien invaders. My dimwitted childhood friend Sparky Hornblower was also there, and he was particularly excited at my prospects.
“Gee willikers, Oz!” he exclaimed, spittle flying everywhere. “I think you got it this time! I really think you’re going to get it!”
“Shut it, Sparky!” I snapped. “You’ll throw off my concentration!”
“Sorry Oz. It’s just that I really think you’re–”
Suddenly, it was all over. A pair of calloused hands clamped down over my eyes, and a voice I’d grown to hate and fear bellowed out over the pumping bass of Chic’s “Good Times.”
“He ain’t gonna do shit! Kit, yank that cord out of there. How many times we gotta tell you, Fatwald? The Cody Boys own this town, y’hear me? The Cody Boys own this goddamn town, and ain’t no one’s ever gonna beat my high score on this here contraption! No one!”
Yes, the Cody Boys. Kit and Barry Cody, to be precise — the great-grandsons of Buffalo Bill Cody himself, no less. And while they hardly owned the town, they certainly ruled Hot Lips with an iron fist that summer. Which might have been impressive if they were teenagers at the time, but the simple truth is that they were well into their 30s. In retrospect, the situation was more than a little disturbing.
Anyhow, I never did take the high score on Space Invaders, but that doesn’t mean I had anything to do with this tragic plane crash. Frankly, I resent the implication. Here’s an idea: Why don’t you take your leaky conspiracy theories and half-baked accusations and speak to my lawyer about them. Better yet, package them in a box with sharp edges and shove them straight up your pooper. I’ve better things to do, and I’m not going to get them done wasting time with you. Ta-ta.