Grand Theft Ignorance | Teen Ink

Grand Theft Ignorance

February 15, 2011
By Grace, Jin Mei, Tiffanie C, Brooklyn, New York
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Grace, Jin Mei, Tiffanie C, Brooklyn, New York
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There was once a family that was quite dysfunctional. The parents spoiled their two children. Each child loved to do very different things. The boy, John, loved to play video games all day long when summer vacation was around and did not like to exercise. The thought of moving every part of his body for a prolong amount of time abhorred him. The girl, Emily, on the other hand loved exercising over playing video games. To her video games were for dumb people who were unable to accomplish anything useful. With such a diverse amount of interest in this family they are unable to connect with each other. Each child received what he or she wanted just as along as they asked. But sometimes their parents did complain about John playing for too long. They told him to stop if he played nonstop for more than 48 hours. Even though 80% of parents place time limits on video gaming, John was not among this. Of course that did not work because he entered a tantrum that put the whole family in distress each time. Alas, they left him alone allowing him to continue with his games.

This was not the only thing John loved to do. He loved to eat while he played. Each time he played video games he prepared himself a large bowl of chips and any other food he wanted to eat that day. This was no ordinary bowl. It was a bowl that was three times larger than a large pot. The food lasted him the whole day. He consumed everything not feeling hungry or full. John started this routine ever since he was five. The rest of the family was unable to stop this routine he had created for himself. Emily tried to stop him many times by provoking him with taunts like, “hiding all his games” to “ obliterating his game system”. It was hard for the family to watch him become a boy who lived off of video games. This maybe the only thing Emily and her parents agreed on. But they never tried working together to solve this problem. Life went on with parents complaining and not accomplishing anything and a sister taunting once in a while.

One day two new neighbors arrived in their neighborhood. One lived on the right side of John's house while the other lived on the left side of John's house. These two people were twins. They wore the same type of clothes, walked and talked in a strange manner, and above all they arranged their house the same way. People in the neighborhood thought they were very odd. They did not interact with anyone other than themselves. John and his family felt uncomfortable living right between them. It had been a long time since the whole family agreed on a matter. At first they decided to leave their new neighbors alone just as long as they did not bother them or noticed them. But things did not turn out the way John’s family wanted. Odd sounds came from their houses every midnight until the afternoon. People heard and saw thunder and lightning coming from the house. The sounds of machine roaring also came from both houses at the same time. After a couple of weeks of lightning flashing, machines roaring, this disturbed every household. Everyone could not help but wonder what their new neighbors were doing.

People were beginning to dislike them. They believed the twins brought only trouble and disturbance to the neighborhood with whatever they did at home. Every moment they heard these noises, they felt like something was going to explode soon. To deal with this problem John and Emily's parents walked to both house to speak with the owner. But on each door hung a sign that said, "DO NOT DISTURB!” They tried knocking the door and no one responded or emerged from the house. The machine noise kept going but once in a while it did stop for a small break before it continued. They tried nearly everyday to try and get the attention of their new neighbors. But in the end they gave up. They decided to send their kids to get their attention instead. So they devised a plan. Emily will play baseball with her friends. In the game one of them will hit the ball into their neighbor’s house. Emily will then go and knock on the door to try and get the ball back out. They will do this two times so that John can go into the other house to get the attention of the other neighbor.

The next day they carried out their plan. John agreed to help out just to stop them from bothering him when he played video games. Emily called her friends last night to meet her at her house at around 11 a.m. They arrived on time and excitement grew among them. They had never spoken to these two neighbors and have not seen them since the day they moved in. Emily's friend hit two balls that flew right into both house. Immediately Emily and John ran to the door they were responsible for to ask if they could get their balls back. No one responded but both heard a clicking sound signaling that the door was unlocked.

John entered the house, knowing he was not supposed to without the permission of the owner. He walked around, exploring the place and calling out, "Is anyone home? Sorry for coming in sir but my sister's friend accidentally hit a ball into your house. I will leave after I find the ball." John walked through every room on the first floor remembering that the ball entered the first floor window. He could not find it so he moved onto the second floor. He opened the doors that were on the left and the right side of the hallway. He still could not find the ball but there was one final door left unexplored. This door was at the end of the hallway. It looked like it had many locks on it. But when he approached the door all the locked unlocked itself. John walked into the room feeling bad for intruding in his neighbors’ privacy. No one was in there but the ball was in there. Puzzled by this John looked around to see if there was any shattered glass on the floor. The only thing that looked misplaced was the baseball on the floor.

Then he heard a voice in thin air saying, "You have come at last. I have been expecting you. Your sister is probably at my brothers' house by now. We should start our adventure. No time to waste." Thunder and lightning shaped like a whirlwind swallowed everything in its way. John couldn't see anything but he was afraid. He tried leaving the room but the door was closed and locked. He also tried shouting, "HELP, HELP, THIS MAN IS CRAZY!!! LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT!"

"Let me go!! I want to go home."shouted John when everything was back to normal. A man appeared right in front of him. He was thin, tall, with black eyes and black hair. His skin was as pale as a brand new sheet of blank paper. "Let us begin. We are in the year 1950 right now. You better stick with me or you maybe lost forever. Let me see where did I put these head sets?"
"What are you talking about? We are still in your house. It is impossible to travel in time. You're mad. You stayed in this house for too long. I am leaving this house."said John.
"As you wish. You can come back anytime you feel you are ready. I warn you anything you do right now will change the course of history without putting on the headsets I am finding right now."
John stormed out of the house and walked in the direction of the home he thought was his own. The house looked different. Everything looked brand new, as if someone just moved in. He began to fear his neighbor was right. He knocked the door of where he lived and found a woman answering the door. The woman looked familiar. It looked like his grandmother, only a lot younger. He was frightened by this encounter and ran back to his neighbor. "What did you just do!? That was my grandmother living in that house."
"I told you we are in the year 1950. You wouldn't listen. Here, wear this device on your head. It tells you what the people around you do everyday and the benefits of each activity to their body."
"Why should I wear it? Why should I trust you?"
"If you do not trust me you will never be able to go home. Oh also, no one can see you after wearing this device. Only I can since I will be wearing one too."
"How long are we staying here?"
"As long as it needs to be. It is all up to you."
“Up to me. Why is everything up to me? You are the one who brought us here. What did you mean you were expecting me before kidnapped me?”
“The machine told me, I was going to meet you today. What time you were coming I did not know.”
“But why me? You are wasting my time. I should be at home playing right now. I should not have agreed on the plan. Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!”
“ What plan?”
“ My parents wanted me and my sister to talk to you and your brother since everyone was getting paranoid with the sounds coming out of both houses.”
“Really? I did not know everyone could hear it. How strange… Oh well let us go now.”

John and his neighbor set out into the 1950, New York.
“What is your name?”
“My name is Jack. Yours?”
“My name is John. Where are we going?”
“Anywhere you want to go. I want you to observe everyone you see and write down the things you find most interesting about them.”

John decided to observe his grandmother. He has always wondered what his grandmother did everyday. Everyday his grandmother washed the dishes, took care of her children and many other chores that took a lot of her time. After a few days watching his grandmother he got bored so he wandered into the city looking at everyone he saw. He saw men wearing suites, going to work everyday. Women who had jobs in offices were wearing dresses. Most of the people who had work were men. He decided to follow a couple of people around to observe their life. All of them were teenagers around his age. John immediately jotted down information: all six people were skinny, three had acne and the other three did not. Among the three with acne, two ran everyday for around half an hour and the third person did not exercise. The acne on the two people who ran everyday was mild and in control but the one who did not exercise had outburst of them all over his face. Every part of his faces was filled with red lumps that looked like they were about to burst.

John slowly touched his face and for the first time he realized that he has something on his face, but was not sure what it is.
“What the hell are these thing that is on my face?”
“What are you talking about?”
“These” pointing at his face.
“Go check it out yourself”.
In terror he ran to the nearby store, and saw his reflection. For the first time ever he discovered that his face was fill with red bumps.
“What can I do to get rid of them?” yelled John.
“The answer is right in front of your face!” yelled Jack in frustration.
“What are you talking about”
“Get your butt moving, you lazy-bum.”

John followed one of the boys home to see what his life style is like, compared to him. This boy ate cereal in the morning, chicken sandwich for lunch, steak& potato for dinner and fruit for dessert. After dinner the boy would go for a walk.

“You see the difference between the boy and yourself?!” questioned Jack.
“Yea, I eat bacon and eggs for breakfast, hamburger for lunch and double steak for dinner and cake for dessert,” answer John, and worst of all, I need a huge bowl of food every time I play video game. After I eat, I like to lay on the sofa and do nothing but relax.”
“He eats 2000 calories a day and you?” Jack questioned John again.
“No” Jack yell.
“6000?” answered in surprise.
“You eat 8000 calories everyday, you FAT PIG.”
“You eat four times the amount an average person should eat, and you are not burning enough calories when you are playing games. Nearly 50% of young people aged 12-21 are not vigorously active on a regular basis. Only 19% of all high school students are physically active for 20 minutes or more in physical education classes everyday during the school week. Do you even exercise outside of school?”
“What should I do? I still want to play video games. This cannot be happening. I refuse to give up playing video games.”
“I believe your sister may be able to answer your question... but before we go back you must try exercising traditionally.”
“Awww do I have to???”,whinnied John.
“Yes, you must or you will never know what your sister learned.”

Emily entered the house filled with fear, a fear she never felt before. For the first time she was not confident about what she was doing. She walked from room to room feeling she was being watched but the ball was nowhere to be found. She approached the final door that was heavily locked. Her heart beat doubled in speed as the door opened by itself opening up her path to the room where she found the ball. She took one step forward and heard a voice saying,“Welcome to the future.”

The next thing Emily realized she was swallowed into a whirlwind with thunder and lightning striking in all directions. In less than a second the whirlwind disappeared leaving her in a quiet room. A room that looked completely different from the dark room she was in second ago. The room was bright with blue neon lights shining in every corner. “Where am I?”, Emily said to herself as she scratched her head.
“You are in the future. I believe the year 2025.”
“Ahh, where did you come from? I did not see you. I thought I was the only one who was swallowed by the whirlwind. What did you just say? We are in the future? You must have been drinking. By the looks of your face you look like you have not seen the day light for days.”
“I am not drunk and there is nothing wrong with me. We are in the year 2025. Follow me. We have a lot do in five minutes.”
“We can stay here as long as it takes to get your cooperation.”
“Wait you just said we have only five minutes.”
“Five minutes in the present is around a couple of days in the past or the future.”
“Now are you going to move or not?”
“Fine. I will go with you only if you promise me to bring me back home as fast as possible.”
“Put this thing on. This device will tell you everything about the health aspect of each person you decide to investigate. Also, no one can see you with this device on.”
Emily reluctantly followed her neighbor out of the house. To drive her mind away from her emotions she observed around her. Everything she knew about New York was no longer there. Every building used blue neon lights just like the ones in the house she just came from. The land marks she once loved were nowhere to be found. Above all the people around her were all very healthy. The majority of them were skinny. Only a few individual were over weight. But her thoughts were interrupted by her neighbor who said to her, “Why do you think everyone is a lot healthier in the year 2025?”
“I don’t know. It seems people are exercising more than before. I see a lot more people running or jogging together.”
“That is not the only answer. Before I bring you to another location let’s have a little history lesson.”
“oooo I love history lessons. What is you name?”
“ My name is Jimmy. Back to our history lesson. Do you know when were video games first created?”
“Why video games? You probably know I despise video games and people who play video games.”
“The first video game was first created in the year 1958. Did you know video games were mainly designed to target girls. But boys spend more time playing than girls.”
“Really, then why does it not appeal to me?”
“That is because you think you may end up like your brother if you become addicted to playing. You are afraid you may look like your him, think like him, or even act like him. Come, it is time to see what people do at home these days.”
They walked into a house where it looked like a party was going on. At first Emily trembled with excitement as she entered the room because she thought Jimmy was bringing her to a party. The next thing she saw were people playing a video games she have never seen before. Everyone was taking part in the game, running and jumping to allow their characters to do the same in the game. At first she was disgusted by what everyone was doing but after a while she realized they were not playing games like her brother. The system they were using was a modified Wii. The device she was wearing told her that they were doing activities that raised their heart beat just like someone who was exercising traditionally. Everyone seemed to be in good shape compared with the people she knew who played video games back at home.
“Tempted to try playing Emily?”
“No, what are you talking about?”
“Oh I can see it in your eyes. You have been staring at that game for quite a while. You can try playing when these youngsters leave for dinner.”
“Wait that is so wrong. We can not just play someone else’s Wii.”
“Not if this was my home. Take off the device. My son will know what to do when he sees me.”
After taking the device, Jimmy’s son saw him and persuaded everyone to go out and eat. Emily was left alone with the Wii system to play with. She tried all the sports games and even some of the role playing games. To her surprise the device that she put on again indicated that if she played more often her hand eye coordination will get better. It also told her that when she played she had a lot brain activity. By playing games that need planning and tactics she will be able to develop mentally. Her efficiency in solving problems will speed up.
“Come on it is time to go. We have other places to go.”
“Where will we be going next?”
“To the army base.”
“What? How can we do that?”
“By walking through since they will not see us anyway.”
An hour ride on a car brought both of them to the army base. In there she saw soldiers training hard. What surprised her the most was that all of the soldiers were trained by playing a video games that created real life situations so that they would be prepared when they are fighting. They walked to the medical department and found doctors using video games to treat anyone with post traumatic stress disorder. “I never knew video games could help people a lot. Why did you not tell this to me before? You did not have to bring me here.”
“If I just told you, you will not believe me. You are too headstrong to believe someone like me especially when you barely know me.”
They left the the army base and walked around the city. Emily was too busy looking at the buildings but once and a while she saw people standing by themselves. She asked Jimmy, “What is wrong with them?”
“They are people who used video games to forget about reality. These people have played video games to the point where they no longer enjoy living their life. Depression developed in them. That can be one bad things about video games. Sometimes people forget what their real life is because they enjoy playing video games more than living their life.”
“I will not be like that. I guess people who play video games are not dumb at all. But why are there so many complaints about video games.”
“These complaints are not as bad as you think. 63% of parents believe games are a positive part of their children’s lives. There is also research that indicates playing video games in some cases like balancing is a lot better than those who only exercise traditionally. I believe we can go back home now.”

John and Emily traveled back into the present time with the help of the two neighbors and only five minutes passed since they entered the house. They were both holding the ball that was smashed into the neighborhood’s house. They looked at each other confusingly.
“What just happened?” John asked.
“I traveled to the future.” Emily answered.
“I traveled back in time.”
“I won’t complain about you playing video games anymore.” Emily said looking down.
“I won’t too, for you.”
“The acne on your face is half gone.” Emily looked surprised.
“Must be from all the running.” John answered back.
“Let’s go home now.” Emily suggested.
“Did you speak with the neighbors?? Did you ask them what was going on in their house?" John’s parents questioned.
"I did", said Emily, "He said that it will not occur as often anymore. They are both scientists and was just experimenting on something, that was all."

“Let’s get a Wii”,suggested Emily
“Why?” asked her mother.
“So we can both play with it.” answered Emily.

Even though they bought the Wii, the family was able to bond together and play the Wii together. 65% of American households play video games together. John has lost over 100 pounds in the past 2 months and is continuing losing it. Emily is able to think more quickly and have a better eye-hand coordination and keep her mind active. She is developing new skills from playing video games and is able to use them during different activities. They both learned something important from each other. John is now trying to balance his lifestyle to the best of his ability by incorporating BOTH video games and exercising. He exercises more often and now treats it like a regular daily activity and still plays video games sometimes. The two siblings get along pretty well now. With less arguments in the family, everyone is full of joy.

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