The Pun Also Rises: A date With Destiny

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NORTH ADAMS — The other day as I was downtown in North Adams I noticed an interesting pair of businesses in the same little plaza: Berkshire Kettlebells and Triple Scoop Ice Cream. "Probably not a lot of crossover there," I thought to myself. "I imagine that most people show up to the plaza and just pick one or the other." The juxtaposition struck me as a little funny, because what kind of ridiculous person decides to put these opposite things right next to each other?

I went home and sat down at my computer where I had some writing I needed to do, and noticed that my freelancing folder was right next to a shortcut for a video game named "Destiny."

What kind of ridiculous person, indeed.

As a bunch of famous people have said, "A writer writes." And so it was incumbent upon me to do some serious writing work, not only for my job, but also for my career and self-identification. If I am not writing, am I still a writer? And I definitely think of myself as a writer, and want to continue describing myself that way to other people — although I also enjoy describing myself (and for that matter, anyone else) as a "featherless biped."

But in addition to being a writer, I also think of myself as a gamer. Admittedly, I don't get paid for the gaming, but it's still a large part of who I am, and consequently it's difficult for me to ignore a game just staring me in the face. Obviously the universe has aligned to encourage me to play games. I can't just ignore my destiny, which in this case, is literally "Destiny."

Friends of mine know that when presented with two compelling options, my usual response is to choose both. (This can get expensive at restaurants.) Some people would write this off as being indecisive, but I would argue that it's very decisive. I know exactly what choice I want to make, and the choice I want to make is both. I want to do some writing and play some games, and I can make time for both because I don't plan to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. And that's fine because sleep is boring.

Besides, while it would clearly be a bad idea for me to play games nonstop and never do any writing, it would also probably be bad for me to write nonstop and never play games. Breaks from work are not only healthy and life-affirming, but also increase your productivity. Enjoying yourself is good for you, and we are multidimensional human beings that can do virtuous things and seek pleasure. And if we're really lucky, we can even find it.

It was at around that point that I realized I had perhaps been too hasty in my assessment of the Oasis Plaza. There's no reason why a person who works out with kettlebells can't also enjoy some delicious ice cream. I have plenty of friends who regularly exercise and enjoy tasty frozen desserts. I don't have to choose one or the other, I can go home and spend my evening writing, and playing "Destiny," and eating ice cream.

I'm still skipping the kettlebells, though.

Seth Brown is an award-winning humor writer, the author of "The Little Book of Mahjong," and is destined to write and play games. His website is RisingPun.com.

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