There but for the grace of God go I.
So I thought to myself on the BART (the Bay Area Rapid Transit light rail system) travelling from 12th Street Oakland to the Powell Street Station via the Fremont-SFO (San Francisco International Airport) line. I was standing next to a seated gentleman who looked a lot like me: about the same age (i.e., too old); suffering from the same tragic follicle defoliation; the same ahem, extra pounds around the middle. But he was worse off than me. This was a Saturday afternoon, and he wore a suit and tie, with suspenders and a shirt collar that was just a little too tight. In other words, he had been working on a Saturday. So had I, in fact: a meeting with a few producers to pitch some of my screenplay projects (they liked one: Volunteers, a script about a small group of San Franciscans who accidentally conquer the Soviet Union. It’s based on a true story). But I didn’t have to wear a suit–in fact, in the industry, people prefer screenwriters who don’t. So I wore my favorite turtleneck and felt comfortable the whole afternoon.
But nothing I’ve described above describes why I pitied my unfortunate doppleganger, despite his shiny new iPad.
I pitied him because he was stuck on Level 3-19.
Those of you who know what I’m talking about are now trembling with terror, eyes glazed, jaw slacked, forehead gleaming with sweat. And I don’t blame you. Level 3-19 must induce stark raving terror to anyone who faces it, and I’m glad I don’t have it on my iPhone.
Level 3-19 lurks as a crocodile lurks for unwary zebras in the game Angry Birds.
For those who don’t know, Angry Birds is a $0.99 game that has shocked everyone including its shocked programmers with its shocking popularity. In the game, evil pigs steal bird eggs and secure them in evil fortresses of various evil sizes, evilly guarded by evil guard pigs. The fortresses can only be destroyed by self-sacrificing birds, courageous clucking kamikazes of cataclysmic crashing catastrophe hurling themselves against the fortresses and blowing the fortresses and themselves to Bird Valhalla.
My twin was stuck on level 3-19. Level 3-19 gives you only 3 birds to destroy a very large, spread-out fortress guarded by an unusual number of evil guard pigs. He couldn’t solve the puzzle. Level 3-19 was too much for him. It got to the point to where he should have just given up for the time being, switch to another app, and return to Angry Birds later.
But he wouldn’t stop.
Even worse, he kept trying the same combination of shots. Over and over. Expecting a different result. He clenched his jaws, lips apart, breathing through his teeth as he kept trying the same combination of shots. Over and over. Expecting a different result. By the time the train went from 12th Street Oakland to Powell Street, his face had grown noticably pinker. He kept trying the same combination of shots. Over and over. Expecting a different result.
Literally the definition of madness.
There but for the grace of God went I.
Not really interested in downloading Angry Birds any time soon, I remain,
Vonn Scott Bair
PS–If you are stuck on Level 3-19, there are many Angry Birds hints videos on the ‘Net. YouTube is a particularly good source of solutions.