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WarGames

Week of January 15, 2002

I still remember when I was six years old how we went out into the playground at recess and somehow got this really dumb game going. We were airplanes - fighter planes - and we spread our arms out wide and dive bombed and we had dog fights and somehow we got divided into two armies (air forces), the good guys (us) and the bad guys (them - but they probably saw it the other way around), and there was something contagious about this game, the way it caught on all by itself and made coming back into the classroom such a reluctant act.

And I remember how I urged my mother when I got home for lunch to hurry up with the food bit, as I had to get back as quickly as possible to the school yard because we had this 'game' as I called it in progress (I hesitated to use the word 'war' even though it felt more natural to call it that).

And I remember as well the feeling I got as soon as I'd said that - a feeling of 'WTF am I involved in?', a feeling that whatever had caught on in that schoolyard, it had to be one of the dumbest things of all times, and suddenly I couldn't believe I'd been caught up in it.

After a while, when I slugged through my soup and sandwich, my mother asked if I still wasn't in a hurry to get back to the schoolyard. No I don't think so, I told her, I changed my mind, I added, and offered no further explanation.

And when I did finally get back - timed perfectly to coincide with the first class after lunch break so as to miss the dumb 'war' game on the yard, if it was still going, and when I'd sat out the hour and a half until the next recess, I discovered that my classmates had thought better of the stupid game as well.

And so the entire incident was gone and forgotten - that is except in one's memory, where it lodged itself as an important lesson to be learned, the exact nature of which may be inexpressible in any language to this day.

And yet every time I hear from someone about the goings-on with the Moronic Minions over at the GRC.com forums, I think immediately of that day in the schoolyard.

A bunch of six year olds winging it over asphalt and a bunch of idiots lining up behind their fearless coward - it's basically the same thing.

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