Read Tom's blog about his 'Halo: Reach' experience

A few months ago, I wrote about an experience that I'd had, and some reader referred to what I had written as a "blog."

Such an ad hominem attack is simply uncalled for.

Anyway, your mama's a blogger, but I'm not. I'd been writing that kind of stuff for a long, long time before the term "blog" was born. In all fairness, some people I respect write blogs, and actually spend time reading other people's blogs, although I have no idea why.

While "blogger" is a mild pejorative in the grand pecking order of insults, it is not nearly as demeaning as "tweeter," which is defined as mini-blogger who can't spell, has no life and yet wants others to know stuff about him/herself. Even "tweeter" isn't the absolute worst; that would be "reader of other people's tweets." Seriously, can you imagine wasting even one second of your life reading what some self-absorbed phlegmwad types into his phone using "words" like "u" and "r?"

USA Today prints a selection of tweets. That means that some poor soul has to read through a bunch of that crap and arbitrarily decide which of that crap is the least crappy. I can just imagine that person, after a week of sorting through tweets, going to the person in charge and saying, "I've changed my mind. Can I have that lethal injection instead?"

Since that vicious personal attack, I've gone months without writing anything that could be misconstrued as a blog. However, at the risk of eliciting further vitriol, I personally witnessed a ritual, the compelling details of which I feel duty-bound to share with you.

It was approaching midnight on a Monday in the parking lot of the Walmart on Wetmore Road near First Avenue, a generally quiet time and place. But on this night, the place was jumping. Over on the west side of the shopping center, a huge throng had gathered near the GameStop store for the midnight release of Halo: Reach, the fourth game in the wildly popular series.

Halo is a multi-billion-dollar video-game franchise in which the player generally pretends to be a heavily armed character named Master Chief, who fights members of the Covenant (and sometimes the Flood) on some far-off planet. There is also a bad-guy character known as the Prophet of Regret. He's played by John Boehner.

I've never actually played the game, but I have witnessed others who do so with an almost religious fervor. All I really know is that the player walks around as Master Chief, using an assortment of guns and grenades to try to kill others. This goes on until he, himself, is killed, at which time the game shifts from first-person to third-person so the player can watch himself die.

Then, after a little bit of time, Master Chief gets up and is back in the game. You know, just like in real life.

There were two separate lines of people at the GameStop. Stretching south toward Wetmore was a line of 150 or so who had paid the full price in advance and would get to go first. In the much-larger, northbound line were those who had only put down a deposit. I pulled into a recently vacated parking space right in front of the store—almost hitting a guy dressed as Master Chief—and watched the proceedings. (Full disclosure: My nerd-jock son plays Halo with his friends. I had offered to drive him to GameStop so that he could continue working on a computer-programming problem for one of his classes.)

Not surprisingly, it was an almost-all-male crowd. It appears that there is an entire generation of 16-year-old boys who were all fathered by either Oliver Hardy or Orson Welles. Or both. They really need to bring physical education back to the schools.

Two mulleted guys came out of the store, and they looked just like the two guys who sit in the stands in The Waterboy and talk about Joe Mantegna. They jumped in the back of a pickup truck, which then sped back and forth in the parking lot with the two guys whooping it up. I thought to myself, "Oh my god, the Georgia Satellites are doing a reunion tour."

As I scanned the lines, I did a double-take as I saw a guy who looked just like Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons. You know Comic Book Guy—big belly, scraggly goatee. He runs The Android's Dungeon and Baseball Card Shop. He once had a heart attack on the show. When a doctor asked what he did for a living, and was told the answer, the doctor said, "We'd call that job the Widow Maker—if any of these guys ever got married."

Right behind the guy in line was a woman who, unfortunately, also kinda looked like Comic Book Guy.

It took my son nearly an hour to get into the store and get his game. When we got home, he put it in his closet. I asked him when he was going to play it, and he said, "Oh, maybe during Christmas break." I was going to ask why, then, had we done what we'd just done, but I knew the answer.

He could always say that he had been there.

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