The “Quality Time” Approach
This isn’t the best technique, as this is only used when a critical peripheral has failed, rendering playing a simulation impossible. The driving wheel has given up the ghost, the TrackIR was stepped on, or the video card has fried, turning the simulation into little more than a Jackson Pollock screen saver. There isn’t much else one can do but sit down with the wife and watch some late evening television. The problem is that she has become so used to having the television remote in her hands from 9:30 to 11:00 p.m. on specific nights of the week that one is officially intruding on her space.
“No, I am not changing the channel.”
“I’m sorry, I haven’t asked to change the channel; I was only asking what it is that is on television in the evenings.”
“Top Model, Top Chef and Top Designer. I’m also watching Trading Spaces and Survivor, and since they’re all on different channels I’m flipping between them.”
“Oh, I had no idea watching television was so involved.”
“It is when all the shows are nearing the end and I want to see who wins.”
[One hour of trying to catch up with four shows being flipped between with an expert hand later, all the time asking questions that are clearly becoming more and more irritating.]
“Is Mythbusters on?”
“Possibly. There may also be some sort of show on WWII with archival footage you’ve seen a thousand times with the same narration that varies only in that it is delivered by a different reader in a slightly different order than the fifteen other documentaries on the same subject. And a program about bugs.”
“Isn’t this one of your flying nights?”
“Yeah, but my pedals are fried and I broke my Vector clip.”
“Get new ones. Go in the back room, research the best price, and order it.”
“In the meantime, remember that when you fly online I do my best not to disturb you out of respect and to give you a little ‘me time.’ This is my flying online time.”
She’s right, of course. In fact, I’m far less courteous when she comes into the computer room and I’m fighting it out in the ethosphere.
The “Services Otherwise Rendered” Approach
I, like most men, can be something of a handyman when the need arises. When something breaks, I usually give it a shot in repairing or replacing it. Garage door openers, garbage disposals, gutter cleaning, brake pads, VCR’s and cassette tapes, and even busted pipes and stopped up drains are well within my skill set. Each of these things have a value to them in that I’ve saved us money that we would otherwise have to pay someone else to do. When the water line coming into the house burst, for example, it cost me a whopping four dollars and seventy cents to repair. Had a plumber come out to do it, the price tag would have been a couple hundred bucks. Leveraging the savings against the forty dollars of a TrackIR PRO headset clip with the LED emitters and the USB pass-through power cable (said just like that) is easy stuff.
The “Unethical” Approach
I don’t use these techniques, which involve intentionally damaging, by act or omission, components. I left my crappy set of headphones on the computer chair once and they were broken when my son leapt into the chair to play some Age of Empires. I’ve replaced crappy keyboards after accidentally spilling coffee into them, but it was never willful. And, as much as I’d like to bend the rules, I always stick to my promise of talking to my wife before spending what I consider “big bucks” on computer components and peripherals. However, I do grin when I read about the suggestion to put peanut butter on the HOTAS or rudder pedal cord in order to get the household pet to “encourage” an upgrade.