Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Me and Wii (part two)

(Want to read part one first? find it
here.) Undaunted by my first round of insults and humiliation, I returned to my Wii for more fitness fun. Chastened and a bit guarded as a result of my first encounter, I turned it on and prepared to work up a sweat. Things got off on the wrong foot when it noted that I hadn't been using it for a day or so, leaving the unspoken accusation that I was less than serious about my desire to reach the goal we so painstakingly agreed on during my first session. There being no way of registering excuses on the machine, I couldn't protest that I had in fact been working out on my trusty and discreet elliptical trainer. There was no way to disabuse the Wii of the notion that I had been slacking.

Anxious to prove how eager I am to do better, I attempted to cut to the chase and exercise. Once again I was sidetracked from this simple goal by the machine. It now wanted me to pick a personal trainer. I had my choice of bland young male virtual trainer or bland young female virtuall trainer. Sadly, sadistic gym coach with a beer gut and Precambrian sense of humor was not one of the options. Ah well, there are parts of my youth I'd just as soon not recapture. I picked the bland young man and selected Yoga for the activity.

I did some elementary poses, the machine assuring me from time to time that I was doing well. But instead of achieving inner peace, I attained only inner peace's evil twin, inner boredom. So I swapped in the disc with the winter games on it and ran a few dozen trips down the giant slalom course. After numerous high-speed misadventures which in the real world would have left me maimed or worse, I believe I found one way that the world of virtual exercise surpasses the real one: Virtual pain is preferable to real pain.

Deprived of the ability to inflict physical pain, the ever-resourceful Wii resorted again to mental cruelty. My avatar, the figure which represented me on the screen, would make one of our typically disastrous runs, missing gates and straying into the fence line (the death count among innocent bystanders would have been impressive in a more violence-oriented game where senseless killing is rewarded with points. Unfortunately, there is no "Wii Ski-Halo, Alpine Mayhem", at which I would excel). At the end of the run, after crossing the finish line in disgrace, my avatar would pump its little virtual fists and carry on as if it had just established a new world's record. Was this merely clueless or devastatingly sarcastic? Whichever, it was certainly embarrassing.

Let's be charitable. There is another possibility. Perhaps it was thanking the Silicon Gods that, given my skill level, it wasn't being loaded into a tiny cartoon ambulance and rushed off to a virtual hospital where it would languish for months on virtual life support until its stricken family agreed it was never going to wake up from its electronic coma, and pulled the plug. Feeling merciful, I didn't pull the plug, but I did turn it off.


ECleary78 said...

I'm proud of you for hanging in there with the Wii, but as a yoga teacher I HAVE to ask, isnt there a live exercise group you can go to instead? I do not know how far you have progressed or if going out is an easy option but in my city there are a few yoga, tai chi and general exercise groups for people with parkinsons.
Im a big believer that the energy of a group can be much more uplifting than the energy of a nintendo ;)

Peter Dunlap-Shohl said...

Hey Ed, I'm still fairly mobile, but there are days when its not convenient to go out, (my hands quickly get painfully cold when it's below 20 degrees) and I still need to get some exercise. There has been a flurry of reports about the benefits of Wii use for Parkinson's patients. Your intrepid reporter is merely attempting to verify this first hand. I intend to make this a long-term project, writing reports occasionally over time as I gain experience. Thanks for your comments,