This I Believe

Elizabeth - Houston, Texas
Entered on November 1, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I grew up watching my brothers “exercise” their thumbs playing Nintendo 64, obsess over their passing skills, and fear the approaching villains on levels eleven, twelve, and thirteen. The only game I ever mastered, and by “mastered” I mean the most minimalist of terms, was Mariokart. I swerved across the tracks, coming in last every single time. After the constant fourth-place finishes, I resigned myself to finding fun through other means. Virtual fun didn’t suit me. I still loved scribbling down answers in the Clue notebooks and spinning the Wheel of Life. Even as a 17-year-old I still believe in simple fun.

I’ve never really been satisfied with doing things virtually. As much as I love Facebook and its conveniences, it doesn’t compare to actually giggling with a friend. I have tried to find ways to make things fun without centering it on cell phones, iPods, or video games. These days everything at school is so technologically centered. We write papers on the computer, we use high-falutin projector screens to see PowerPoints, and we even check our homework online. All of that stuff can get just a little overwhelming at times, so to add a little bit of simple fun I started Sticker Friday. Sticker Fridays began when I bought this sweet sticker book with over 700 assorted smiley faces and stars. I randomly gave them out to my then junior classmates, until it became a tradition. Slowly I started handing out more and more stickers, and I began accumulating more and more sticker books. I now have encouragement stickers, holiday stickers, animal stickers—the list goes on. Stickers Fridays became one way that I could add just a little fun to a very stressful year. A little bit of simple fun went a long way.

As cool as simple fun seem, my problem is the minute I get home from school I’m faced with a large television screen beckoning my name. I’ll often plop down, reach for the remote, and hunker down. I’ll sit there for hours watching people play outside while I lounge in the air conditioning. After realizing TV wasn’t worth it, my friends and I decided to do something about it. Last year the Coke and Mentos experiment became popular and so we jumped on that train and have sprayed to our hearts content. We don’t just shoot off the fizzing Cokes into the air; we have wars. They usually take place at night with face paint, dark clothes, and of course lots of pictures. We endure the sticky mess and ensuing mosquito bites just to have a little fun. It’s nothing technical, no graphics or control devices involved, but it is so much fun.

In this era of technological advances it’s nice to take a step back and enjoy some of the simpler pleasures: real time with real people, rather than a computer screen. Don’t get me wrong, I totally believe that there is a time and place for well deserved dance party, thanks to an iPod and speakers. But doing simple things to brighten and energize a day can go just as far. For this reason I believe in making fun simple.