Yes, DMX, I do think it’s a game.

DMX, infamous man-dog rapper, once yelled with characteristic aggression, “You think it’s a game? You think it’s a fucking gaaaaaaaame? Come on!” Behind his eloquent words, a chorus of DMX woofs rounded out the urgent tone of his inquiries.

So much barking.

Like all great existential musings, we can’t help but join with the jester. For surely DMX is too in on the cosmic joke to wonder about life’s game-like qualities with any undue severity. Of course it’s a game! By the way, do dogs forget their names, hence the need for a reminder? I thought that was pretty much the only thing dogs remembered. Anyway, how else to explain this if life isn’t a game. I mean, you weren’t actually trying to be intimidating, right? If you were, quick tip: don’t cut to cats in argyle sweaters. (To be clear, when I say “cats,” I mean the people in your video, not, like, real cats…just in case readers are confused given that you’re part canine and have built-in/human-projected beef with your feline counterparts. Although you seem to be convinced that you’re pure canine. Don’t worry, I’m sure the trans-species movement will come about before long.)

Anyway, what are we doing here? And when I use “we” I mean the multiplicity of me, Lou. I started writing this post with some intention after my mom was telling me about this transgender couple on Say Yes to the Dress, which is, yes, a show I’ve actually almost watched in its entirety (an episode, that is, not the entire series), and which is, yes, not a show I need to defend watching even if I were a fan of it. I am not, which is a statement of fact, not a judgment against it or people who watch it, because after all, this shit is a game and how you play it…well, that’s how you play it.

So but as to why I’m writing this, I think I was planning to pick up the transgender thread and frame it within the “life is a game” idea, which isn’t to diminish the very real, very specific, very complexly contextual challenges people endure, but to situate it within a broader context of identity as a character your soul or whatever creates before (suspending the idea of time as an eternal simultaneity, for communication purposes) your life begins. At the beginning of an RPG, you spend points on particular attributes, and you decide (at this point it feels like) every detail; it’s a painstaking process (or at least I view it that way because I’m lazy, or my soul didn’t choose for me to want that much trivial freedom). Then that character gets thrown into a pre-constructed but changing/changeable (by design) world. Possible narratives abound. You choose which paths to follow, your choices have consequences.

All metaphors have flaws. Plus I’m trying to write this over my mom watching The Big Bang Theory, which is, yes, a show I’ve totally devoured in its entirety. I’d be ashamed, but it’s comfort food, and if you don’t understand the appeal of comfort food, we’re done here. Chances are you were done at the start of this, although I wouldn’t say DMX screaming at you qualifies as comfort food. His hilarious cameo in Chris Rock’s Top Five? Now that’s pasta to this pseudo-Italian.

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