Tag Archives: mii

Friends in Low Places

An unusual MS relationship

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Multiple Sclerosis is playing a cruel trick on me once again. This Garth Brooks, karaoke country song is stuck in this classic rock girl’s head. And there is absolutely NO reason for it as there are plenty of better choices that could be stuck in my brain- You’re My Best Friend (RIP Freddie), Lean on Me (the MS’ers caregiver anthem), With a Little Help from My Friends (the Joe Cocker version of course) or the classic Waiting on a Friend (love you Mick and Keith.) But no, it is Garth Brooks in my head and I have a very dear friend who is cracking up about it.

One of the things I did not expect in the aftermath of my MS diagnosis (in addition to the pain, frustrations, shots, and bladder issues of course,) was that friendships would change. Most for the better, but sadly, some for the worse.

While my foggy brain continues to struggle with the fact that my life with MS would not include people I imagined as here forever, and Garth’s song is making me want to head to my local dive bar and reconnect with other folks from my past, I remain deeply grateful to all the friends I do have.

I have also learned to expand my definition of friendship. My dictionary offers these two components: one who is not hostile, one who favors or supports something. It does not specify that the friend has to be human.

As you know, I am trying to get healthier. In doing so, I have developed a very welcoming and gracious bond with my Wii Fit.

 

Like many relationships, this did not come easily. When the Wii Fit first came into my world we exhibited a very dysfunctional relationship. Its bossiness and snide remarks were overwhelming and I was actually terrified to turn it on. I describe this terror in great detail in one of my first blogs Me and My Wii.

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, the Wii Fit is a Nintendo gaming system that links to your TV and helps you work out. It does this by a special board that you work out on and that monitors the progress of your animated self, a Mii.

Problem was, my Wii was very hard on me. It could be downright mean sometimes if it didn’t think I was holding my own in our relationship. Usually a sweet person, I would often find myself shouting obscenities at the Wii for its nastiness. This was not the basis of a good friendship.

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But with age, comes maturity and the need to be more understanding of the people in your life. You have to appreciate that; not everything is directed at or about you, that things are not always going to be as you think they should be, and once in a while, you may have to extend yourself in ways that you don’t necessarily want to, if a relationship is worth continuing and based on the good of both parties involved.

When I turned on the Wii Fit, I worried what attitude I would be confronted with. Yet, the Wii missed me and happily welcomed me back.

It offered a welcome present in the form of upgrading my status to gold (personally I am more of a silver person but as the gift was heartfelt, I cherished it.)

It told me it was happy to see me and was looking forward to spending time together.

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It reminded me that all it ever really wanted was for me to reach my fitness goals and in the time we had been apart, it was proud that I had! (Ok, about three months later than planned, but again, the course of true friendship does not always run on schedule.)

It suggested the best way for us to grow closer was perhaps by trying different Wii activities together, ones that we both may enjoy and benefit from..

I took it’s reminder to try my best but not too push myself too hard as an apology for its harshness in earlier workout regimens.

I realized my part in the problem by neglecting the Wii for so long, and not even having the compassion to keep it dust free.

We began to work together and bond like we had never bonded before.

Of course, no relationship is perfect, and we still have our issues. For one, the Wii needs to stop being so needy. I know that we get along great but I have a life and visiting every other day is fine. It needs to stop nagging me to come back EVERY day.

And the Wii is still sad at my nephew Drew’s disappearance from its life. Drew had set the Wii up and grew close to it by creating his own little Mii, only to then move across the country. The Wii’s heartbreak is excruciating.

Back when we were battling, it tried to blame me for Drew’s dismissal- suggesting that maybe he left because I hadn’t paid enough attention to him. Now, it deals with the trauma by making fun of Drew (bet he’s got some love handles now, huh Yvonne?) or acting like it doesn’t care by putting the Drew Mii to sleep.

I must add spending time with the Wii to Drew’s list of things to do the next time he is home; help your grandmother defrag her computer, help me move some furniture, visit with the Wii.

I have learned that the best of companions (human or gaming system) enjoy hanging out, can air their differences, seek to resolve tension, and work together for the improvement of both parties.

For my part, to be a good friend I need to keep the Wii dust free, its batteries charged and visit with it regularly.

For its part, the Wii wants to help me ‘get fit’ and work on my balance issues; a task desperately needed as I tripped twice doing the heel to toe walk at my neurologist’s office, a walk I had mastered back in my dive bar days.

Which brings this post back to the beginning, Garth’s friends in low places. The Wii is low- it sits in my TV and its board sits on my floor. And by definition, it is technically a friend.

Maybe not a friend I would toast with a beer, but a friend nonetheless.

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Me and My Wii

2012

I am afraid of my TV.

Well, not my TV exactly but the little computerized community of wise guys that live in the Wii in my TV. They are the Mii’s and I am convinced they are out to get me.

See, it doesn’t help that the Wii and I had a dysfunctional relationship from the beginning. I had bought it used in a suspicious back alley deal with an employee of a big name electronics store that shall remain nameless, when in desperation, I begged for one when they had been sold out for months.

He took pity on my plight and offered to secretly sell me his used one as he had utilized his discount to purchase an X-box which had become cooler with his fellow teen males. He felt so bad for me that he threw in his Wii games which was kind but obsolete as I had no interest in Legend of Zelda, Dragon Ball Z, Resident Evil, or any football games. I was only interested in the Wii Fit.

Several weeks before I had gone to a friend’s house where her young daughters showed me all the cool things you could do with Wii Fit. That was of course after they put me through the trauma of making myself a pathetic little Mii and then having a computer I had never met decide how unhealthy I was.

It told me that my BMI was completely out of control and my Wii age was somewhere around 95, long past having moved to a nursing home. Once I had dealt with my trauma from that shock, and the humiliating assessment by someone else’s Wii that I needed to lose forty pounds (ok sixty according to the stupid system but is counting really necessary?), I decided that even though I didn’t agree with it, the games were kind of fun.

I enjoyed playing with the kids as I tend to be competitive and even though they had much more practice, I was getting the hang of it and would be able to beat them in no time flat! Plus, I was actually exercising.

I started the quest to get my own which was impossible as it seemed that now everyone wanted the Wii. Once the electronics store employee took pity on me, I only had to find the Wii Fit program. I searched, I begged, I even called Nintendo directly when I could not find any other employees to take sympathy on me and sell me theirs. It took weeks to track one down but I finally did. My nephew came over to help me set it up and he made me a Mii.

He made his own little Mii too who remained adorable on the screen. But once my Mii went through the body test she became a little shorter and a little chubbier than Drew had designed.

I felt for her. She was such a determined and cute little thing and would be so hard on herself when she didn’t do well. I just wanted to hug her and tell her it was ok. I wanted to take her by the hand and buy her an ice cream.

But she kept at even when the Drew Mii would whip hula hoops at her so fast they would knock her out and consistently threw his cleats and shoes at her during the soccer game. Why was the physically fit Mii so hard on my Mii? Even when she did the aerobics step game, Drew and the other Mii’s would be cruel. Every once in a while my little uncoordinated Mii would get enough steps in sync to get the word “Perfect” flashed at her.

“Perfect”, what a lovely word. The other little Mii’s would smile at her as if they were truly proud but their smiling would catch her off guard, causing her to lose step and go back to getting the dreaded “Miss” word instead. This would cause the other Mii’s to shake their heads in contempt.

It was very upsetting for her but I have to say, she was a little trooper. She would do it again and again and when she would do well her little smile and whoop of joy would inspire. And then the emotion of it all would overwhelm me.

It didn’t help that the main brain of the Wii was obnoxious. If I hadn’t turned it on in a while it would sarcastically remind me of that fact. “It is that Yvonne? Oh how nice to see you. It has been three zillion days since your last workout!” And “do you want to re-take the body test now?”

I could just hear the wicked evil little snicker in its voice. It blamed me for Drew not working out-“perhaps you are not paying enough attention to him” it had the nerve to tell me. I stood on the balance board yelling at the Wii brain that Drew moved to Arizona with his girlfriend and is probably playing X-box as we speak. So there!

The yoga girl in the Wii was very supportive, very Zen like. She would offer encouragement and concern if I seemed too wobbly. She would tell me it was ok to breathe and rest. She would remind me to try my best but not to push myself to hard. She was very relaxed and relaxing. But one day I turned on my Wii and she was gone. The guy instructor took over and said he would be working with me instead!!! What did he do to her??? Where did he put my nice girl instructor? And why? Did he hurt her? Did he give her a vacation? How come he’s the boss?”

As if this all wasn’t stressful, even the Wii Fit Board was out to get me. Whenever I stepped on it it would exclaim “Ohhhh!” which I took too mean, “you’re too heavy, get off!”

It was all too much to take. So I didn’t. I forgot about my little Mii, alone in a dangerous and scary Wii world. And I took walks instead. When it wasn’t raining of course. Or too hot, or windy, cloudy, cold, buggy, whatever. But that wasn’t working either.

The holidays had come. And with them came the carbs, sweets, alcohol and all kinds of delicious and terrifying things. Plus, I had to rescue my little Mii. I had to see if my girl yoga instructor was still around. Did the evil guy instructor destroy her? I had been too scared to check. And too scared to see what sarcastic things the Wii brain had to say when I turned her on. But I knew it was time to find out. I needed to be brave and face the Wii. I can do it. I have my adorable plucky little Mii to help me.

I turned it on. The Wii Brain told me it had been fifty-five days since my last work out. That couldn’t be right, could it? But then it told me it was nice to see me again. And there was my girl instructor- she was safe! She was back. And my little Mii was there too and looking so excited, I just had to smile and get her to start moving. I stepped on the board. This time it simply said “great!” It was time for my Wii and I to become friends again. My Wii missed me and was glad to have ME back.

NOTE-   This was written towards the end of 2010 and was published in the 2011 Winter issue of Cape Women Online.   Check out the links section for the actual article and great illustration by Sebastian Francis-Burnell.

One year later my Wii and I are still trying to resolve our differences.   For my MS friends I do recommend the Wii Fit system for help in working out, especially the Balance games that come with the system.    They do work great. The problem is you have to actually use them.  Ahh well, the year is young.

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