Being unproductive was easier when I was younger.

I don’t know how and I don’t know when, but at some point, things that should have remained very simple, like what to do with one’s free time, became ever so complicated.

I don’t ever remember being bored when I was four. Did I have a car back then? Internet connection? No.

I had imagination. Legos weren’t just plastic, they were castles, spaceships, cities and robots.

My house wasn’t a two-story continental, it was a ninja training center. Imagination was a simple way to make everything in my life interesting ? all the time.

Like Calvin and Hobbes, imagination made us self-sufficient entertainment centers ? better than surround sound, more options than cable and no commercials. Perhaps that is the reason I was so happy as a child.

Maybe true happiness requires nothing more than imagination and an open mind. Or maybe it was my Game Boy.

Come to think of it, imagination really wasn’t nearly as impressive as Game Boy.

Sure, I like imagination and all, but on a road trip, when I was sitting in a car, my imagination could never come close to blocking out license-plate bingo. Tetris, with its oh-so-enchanting melody, could quickly take me away.

Why would I need imagination when I had the best hand-held system in the history of video games?

I am speaking of, by the way, the original Game Boy, not one of those newfangled color Game Boys or anything like that.

My brother had one too, which meant that we could link them together and play Tetris against each other. It doesn’t sound so impressive now, but, hell, I was nine at the time.

The important thing though is that I got it when I was nine. I am 19 now. That’s 10 years of functioning.

It was and is fairly sturdy. I have a tendency to drop things. That tendency increases with the cost and amount of electronics involved.

Needless to say, this Game Boy has been dropped from a fair number of heights a fair number of times. It still works, though.

University President Thomas Jackson, when asked about the Game Boy, had this to say, “I’m all thumbs when I play those types of games. I watch with admiration when my kids play them. I couldn’t do what they do in a million years.”

To President Jackson, I have to say, keep trying, thumbs are all you need when you are playing Game Boy.

In fact, being all thumbs would give one a distinct advantage. Perhaps too distinct of an advantage. Unless we could use them for good instead of evil.

If only there were a whole race of ten-thumbed players, we’d be unstoppable. Surely we would dominate the entire world.

God bless you Game Boy, and God bless you Thomas Jackson.

Powell can be reached at

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