I’m so embarrassed to admit this.
But I am coming clean.
I only tried it once, and I was hooked.
I blame it on a four-year-old boy named Ethan.
His mom recently had a new baby and with three other children, she needed help keeping Ethan occupied during church.
“Do you want to sit with us?” I asked.
He checked out my husband and I carefully.
We had nothing fun to offer a little boy.
He looked for a tote bag of toys or treats, and found nothing.
Then, he spotted my phone sitting on the top of my purse.
“Can I play ‘Angry Birds’?” he asked.
“Sorry Ethan, “I don’t have ‘Angry Birds’,” I said, sensing I might have lost my only chance at convincing him to sit with us.
He turned up his hands shrugged his shoulders and said, “Too bad.”
Then he turned around to go sit with his mother who was trying to keep a newborn baby and two other kids calm.
Eager to help and to please, I said, “Ethan, wait…I could download it!”
He tipped his head and smiled like he was saying, “Okay, I’ll give it a try.”
He came and sat next to me and we downloaded “Angry Birds” while we tried to listen to talks about churchy topics like love and serving our fellowmen.
Doug shook his head at me like he thought I was crazy…and irreverent.
“Hey, what else have I got to bargain with?” I asked.
The game downloaded and Ethan proceeded to drag his little finger back on the screen to fling a red bird at some fat little green pigs.
What a waste of time, I thought as I watched him play.
Who would want to sit there forever and pull back that slingshot to kill those silly pigs?
It seemed so mindless.
“Yes!” Ethan cheered as he pumped his arm in the air when he killed all the pigs.
“Oh, no arm pumping and cheering for dead pigs in church,” I whispered.
“Why?” he asked looking at me like I was crazy.
“Because we need to be quiet, and we don’t want the Bishop to get mad at us,” I said.
He rolled his eyes and said, “My dad’s the bishop. We’re not going to get in trouble!”
“Oh, yeah, right. Still, no cheering and arm pumping in church when we’re supposed to be listening and pondering holy things.”
How do adults get hooked on this game? I wondered.
They should be embarrassed.
Later I learned there’s actually a story behind the game. I guess those green pigs stole the red birds’ eggs so they are trying to get revenge but hurling themselves at them from a slingshot.
That makes sense, doesn’t it?
Maybe it teaches us that if we’re mad, we should throw ourselves forcefully at our enemies. Then, even if we both explode and die, we die happy because we got revenge?
Sure, that’s a great life lesson.
And this game is played two hundred million times a day?
What is wrong with people?
“Angry Birds” has become a phenomenon.
There was an “Angry Birds” confab in New York in 2010 complete with costumes and a protest in London over all the “Angry Birds” addicts, according to an article by Greg Wayland on NECN.com. He said there was even an Israeli comedy show that tried to work out a pig-bird peace agreement.
“The peace parley failed, so the birds are still angry,” Wayland wrote.
So one night after taking my turn in my ongoing “Words with Friends” game with my sister, I decided to try “Angry Birds.”
I considered it research.
I wanted to know what made people so crazy about this game.
How does it keep a little boy’s attention for so long?
Why is it Apple’s most popular app?
After hurling a few birds, I learned there was some strategy and physics involved.
There was more to it than blindly hurling mad little birds at pigs.
I kept catapulting birds until Doug turned out the lights and went to bed.
After awhile I realized I was sitting alone in the dark playing “Angry Birds” and saying things like:
Just one more time.
I just need to finish this level.
Really, this is the last one.
Okay, only 10 more minutes and I’ll go to bed.
This fascination with bird hurling started just before the holidays.
So I told myself I would only play it until New Year’s day.
So for about two weeks, after I took my turn at Words with my sister, I played “Angry Birds.”
And Ethan continued to sit by us at church.
New Year’s Day came and went and I still found excuses to play.
One Sunday I paid attention to Ethan’s bird-killing skills, and I felt like I needed to step up my game.
I didn’t know I could pinch the screen and get a better perspective.
And I thought I had to tap the birds to release their special powers.
Turns out, I only need to tap the screen at just the right time.
I learned a lot from observing Ethan.
He progressed to a new level and out came the arm and the loud, “Yes!”
I surprised myself by subtly pumping my arm and saying “Yes!” too.
When he missed his target, I resisted telling him that if he aimed the bird higher he could attack from above and get through the fortified walls.
That’s when I realized I had gone too far.
I said I’m embarrassed to admit it.
I promised to delete it from my phone after church.
But, then how could I bribe Ethan to sit with us?
It was still on my iPad so I decided to delete it from my phone, and keep it on my iPad for Ethan.
Removing it from my phone was a smart decision.
For some reason, I don’t pick up my iPad to play games.
I confess I still occasionally play it but I am not wasting much time on it anymore because I don’t have time for that kind of silliness.
But, did you know that you should always wait until your previous bird disappears before you hurl your next bird because if you hit your last bird’s dazed body your attack will be significantly dampened?
There are websites for “Birds” addicts and they’re full of useful tips like that.
Not that I care because I am no longer playing the game.
But if I am ever bored like if I am going to Australia or China or somewhere really far away and my flight is delayed and I’ve finished all my heavy, literary reading and want a break to study physics, I could possible pick up my iPad and play “Angry Birds.”