The Banks County News
July 12, 2000
To save a Princess
In the spirit of Adam's column last week where he admitted to
his lack of prowess at golf, I thought I'd make a confession
of my own. I can't play Nintendo 64. I know, it's shameless.
I spent hours playing Nintendo, you know, the original. My brother
and I would sit for hours on one game taking turns and urging
one another on. I was good at Nintendo. The buttons were easy.
You moved forward and backward in a two-dimensional world and
you often had to jump over objects. No problem. You could jump
straight up or forward or backward.
In my favorite games, which starred the Super Mario Brothers,
I often got to shoot fireworks out of my mouth at unsuspecting
mushroom people and two-legged turtles. I saved the princess
several times, so I consider myself a success. (It wasn't until
my years at Agnes Scott, a women's liberal arts school, that
I realized that the whole situation was sexist. After all, the
princess was an independent woman who should have had the opportunity
to save herself without relying upon a man.)
But I digress. I mastered the art of Nintendo and stubbornly
clung to my two-dimensional world as the newer machines got better.
I watched in awe as kids half my age flew fighter jets with expertise
using a controller that boggles my mind. At Target, I stood behind
one young boy swaying from side to side to avoid the various
obstructions in the flight path while the only thing moving on
the kid in front of me was his thumb. I even ducked once before
I figured out that I must look like an idiot to any passers-by.
I couldn't figure out why they put the old Nintendo up-down-left-right
buttons on there if you don't use them. When the young boy completed
the level, I walked off and consoled myself with the thought
that the old Nintendo was classic and certainly better than this
new one. You needed more imagination to truly immerse yourself
in the game. And surely, if I had handed that same boy an old
controller and inserted the Super Mario Brothers cartridge, he
wouldn't have been able to move around. I assured myself that
I could conquer that multi-dimensional world if I wanted to,
but I didn't.
I lived with my illusion for a while until my ruthless little
brother crushed it by lending my husband, Eric, his Nintendo
64 player and two games-James Bond and Star Wars. The Sega I
had bought Eric for Christmas one year lay forgotten while men
crowded into my house to duke it out on the big machine. My husband,
already master of two-dimensional video games, quickly conquered
James Bond's world. I sat and watched. Whenever I picked up a
controller, I ran into walls or turned in circles until everyone
in the room was yelling at me to stop. I would hand over the
controller to a more adept player, smile and retreat to my seat
on the couch.
Then it happened. I walked into Blockbuster video and saw it.
Nintendo 64's Super Mario Brothers. I could rescue the princess
all over again. This time I was determined to do it without my
brother's help. It would be just one woman rescuing another from
the crude paws of evil. Fifteen levels that you had to enter
six times to capture enough stars to defeat the giant lizard.
Fifteen dollars later, I was determined to master the art of
the multidimensional world. I ran home and began immediately.
At least I can say that I was the first person to capture a star.
How was I to know that there would be so many jumps for me to
master just to move around the world? The triple jump, the wall
jump, the long jump, the backward jump. It goes on and on. All
those pretty little buttons aren't there to demonstrate how color-oriented
the Nintendo products can be; they're used for something. Different
combinations give you different things. After 15 years of schooling,
I don't know if I have room in my brain to memorize all of the
combinations needed to get subsequent stars. I may lose the multiplication
tables and when I want to know what eight times nine is, all
I will be able to remember will be z plus forward plus b.
So I find myself once again watching as men crowd my house to
rescue the princess. I sit and watch, cheering them on. I feel
a little like my grandfather. My husband rebuilt a computer for
him and my grandmother and installed it into one of their back
bedrooms. I spent two days describing the various functions the
computer will perform for him in half the time it takes him to
do it by hand. When I ask about his progress in conquering the
new digital world, he tells me the CD player works really well.
Rochelle Beckstine is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.
The Banks County News
July 12, 2000
Beach or mountains?
Sitting on a nearly deserted beach with a good book. The gentle
waves splashing against the sand as seagulls fly overhead. Looking
out along the shore's edge as my cousin Heather gathers seashells.
A cool breeze blows by as she returns with her treasures.
Smoke-covered mountains covered with trees, wildflowers and other
natural wonders. A curvy road snaking its way across the mountain.
Rocks jutting from the side of the mountain, along with water
flowing from streams, both small and large.
I can't decide which I love morethe beach or the mountains.
They both draw me in with their natural beauty. Walking along
the beach at night or sitting on a balcony looking at a mountain
view are wonderful ways to relax and enjoy nature. Both leave
you with a feeling of awe at God's power.
Two recent tripsone for business and another for a birthday
adventuregave me another opportunity to enjoy both the beach
and the mountains. My cousin Heather and I, along with a friend
from work and her daughter, headed to Jekyll Island recently
for a newspaper convention. I had been to Jekyll only once10
years ago for a wedding. I didn't get much time there then, so
I was looking forward to returning.
If the crowds and commercialism of Myrtle Beach or Panama City
are not for you, check out Jekyll Island. Much of the island
is rural; the beaches are not crowded; wildlife can be spotted;
and bicycles, not those annoying motor scooters, are what people
rent to get around in.
If you enjoy shopping and all of those other commercial things,
don't worry, St. Simon's Island and Brunswick are only a short
drive away. I have to admit that we did go looking for a mall
one night. Of course, we had two teenagers with us.
My drive across the Smoky Mountains came on my recent birthday.
I have always been afraid to drive across the curvy road going
from Cherokee, N.C., to Gatlinburg, Tenn., but I decided my birthday
was a good opportunity to overcome my fear.
It wasn't that bad. I just drove real slow and pulled over several
times to let anyone who wanted to pass me. At one point, my mom
asked why we were stopping. We weren't stopping. It was just
a very curvy spot and I slowed down to about five miles per hour.
Summer will be over soon, so make plans to head out to the beach
or the mountains. Both will be relaxing and provide plenty of
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate
editor of The Jackson Herald.
The Banks County News
July 12, 2000
Every vote counts
The privilege to vote is one of the most important responsibilities
that we have as Americans. Those who think their vote doesn't
count don't have to look very far to see how wrong they are.
A vote on allowing the sale of liquor by the drink failed by
only 10 votes a couple of years ago in one Georgia town. Another
election on renewing the special purpose local option sales tax
failed by less than 70 votes in a neighboring county two years
ago. These two issues could have turned out very differently
if more people had shown up at the polls.
Elections in this county in past years have been decided by as
few as 30 votes. Every vote does count. Be sure and cast your
ballot in the July 18 election. Two board of education seats
will be decided, as will two judgeships. Find out all you can
about the candidates and don't forget to go to the polls.