Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I am the Pong champion and I even have a belt to prove it!

I was just thinking about Pong and how much I love it so I thought I would tell this story.

In 2001 I got a job as a UI designer at a start-up. This is the job where DK interviewed me and voted NOT to hire me! (He was right that I was under qualified for the position.) Good thing he was overruled because now we are getting married! And no, he will never live that down. ;) Nuclear Toast also worked there and the three of us became friends and lunch buddies. Why oh why did the world have to take Schlotsky's Deli away from me? I loved that spicy ranch sauce and the jalapeno cheese bread so much.

This office was really fun. The conference rooms used an Atari naming convention. (Frogger, Space Invaders, Centipede, etc.) But this company didn't just talk the talk, they walked the walk! We actually had all of these wonderful vintage arcade games in the office and you didn't even need quarters! There are two games that I love more than any others games in the whole wide world, Pole Position and Pong*. To my delight, we had both of these games! We also had BBQ's every Friday with tons of food and beer. That was a huge bonus too. (*The Pong in this story is actually not made by Atari, it is a [gasp] knock-off from 1978! The brand is called Challenger. But it doesn't matter; you wouldn't love your kid any less if there was something different about him/her would you? Same thing here.)

After I had worked there for a few months I went on vacation. When I came back my chair had been replaced by a couch and Pong was right next to my desk. Sweet, sweet Pong! I had to get rid of the couch because I kept falling asleep and I make strange noises in my sleep. Some people say I snore, but really I just breathe really weird. Sometimes I talk in my sleep too, but that needs its own post. Everyone would come over and play Pong with me and most would walk away with their tails between their legs. I even let people play with two paddles and I would only play with Twitchy* and I would still beat their asses! (*One of the paddles would twitch around randomly, making it was hard to control so we named it Twitchy.)

Disclaimer: Nuclear Toast and DK are also very good at Pong and sometimes they would beat me.

After rounds and rounds of layoffs, the time came to move out of the office into a smaller space for the six of us remaining. When we were packing up our belongings my boss said that I could take Pong home with me! Yea! Pong was finally MINE!

Pong enjoyed a long life in my old garage. We didn't waste the garage storing our cars; we turned it into our own personal bar complete with couches, a lazy boy, digital cable, a fridge, a pool table and tons of other fun stuff! The neighbors loved that!
The garage:

We would spend long nights sitting in the garage playing Pong and squealing with delight. It occurred to me that we needed some type of system to keep track of the reigning Pong Master (that was always me of course). So I ordered a plastic championship belt similar to this one, but much cheaper looking. Then I waited patiently for my prey. I stowed the belt away behind Pong and tried to get someone to agree to play against me (this got harder and harder as time went on). I finally found my victim and whooped their ass. I reached behind Pong, grabbed the belt, held it high over my head in victory and screamed as loud as I could for as long as I could. Then I put the belt on and announced that I was the Pong Master! You wouldn’t believe the astonished look on my guest’s faces, it was freaking hilarious! I still have the belt stored away and Pong is now in our entry way at our new house.

The end.


Ash said...

Oops - I accidentally had comments turned off for this post. Comment away! :)

Nuclear Toast said...

Two corrections:

1. This was an old, original bar-style, sit-down, tabletop version. It could be played by up to four people.

2. Ash would whine (yes, whine, I went there!) incessantly if forced to use Twitchy.

Ash said...

I would not whine! Ok, maybe at first, but not once Pong ended up in my garage - then I would offer to use Twitchy otherwise no one would play against me!

Small Fish said...

Toast was the champion. I was the retired champion. Ash was always lucky.