Metaphor Run Amok, by Rebekah Merkle

“Metaphor Run Amok?” (Sept. 2012), by Rebekah Merkle. (Reprinted in SALT Magazine’s farewell issue (2013)

Here’s a weird analogy for you. (I had this sense that everyone was a little short on weird analogies . . . )

TI Invaders. Anyone out there remember this? It was an early 80s video game, and for some strange reason, we had it. I think it was a gift from our uncle – but I was about five or six years old so I don’t know for sure. What I do remember was that we had TI Invaders and Munch-Man . . . and this was the same era in my life that I was allowed to watch Welcome to Pooh Corner. I have a sort of feeling that we played the game with a joystick hooked up to a computer . . . one of those huge computers that had a black screen with orange writing.

Does this jog your memory? (And no, I’m not still playing the game. I googled for this picture.)

I imagine we got the game somewhere around 1982, and I don’t think I’ve given it another thought since probably 1984. Until now. The other night I was lying in bed after a particularly spicy day when things kept coming over the plate a little too fast for me, and I told Ben (who was already thoroughly konked out) that I was feeling just exactly like I was living in TI Invaders. I had this image of zooming back and forth, trying to shoot at things that are falling out of the sky, and they’re always falling just slightly too fast for you. And of course, once you get good at it, what happens? You go to the next level, and they start falling faster. No matter how expert you get at shooting strange dot matrix aliens, there are always more of them coming, and they’re just that much faster than you are. So you sit there with a death grip on the joystick, your tongue sticking out the side of your mouth and a concentrated look on your face, trying to get good enough to shoot them all. Once you master it, you’re on to the next level, and your recently acquired competence is suddenly not quite enough.

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