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  1. I saw the needlepoint shown below on someone's homepage. It's intended to be hung over a toilet in the bathroom. "Please don't miss." Get it? It brought back a long ago memory, which I will ramble on about now. It was around 1990, and much of the house's social life revolved around the Nintendo Entertainment System I'd bought. There were three permanent residents in the apartment, and several floating residents as well, and we all had our stories about how far we'd got Mario, and how to get the fireworks over the castle at the end of a level, and so on and so on......but there was also "Duck Hunt." And the Zapper. At the time, we only had the two games, that came with the console, "Super Mario Bros. 2," and "Duck Hunt." Max loved "Duck Hunt." He'd sit there and blast the feathers off the little buggers for hours, it seemed like. And one day, I sat and waited for him to finish shooting ducks. I was impatient. I wanted to play. And I found the Controller 2 in the chair with me. Impatiently, I picked it up and began noodling with it. Max obliviously continued to shoot ducks.....and that was when I noticed that the controller pad could control the ducks. The next time ducks went up, I began zigzagging madly, left and right, up and down, until the time limit was up and the ducks flew away. Max said, "Whatthehell?" He blazed away, but did not hit the ducks. The next frame that came up, the duck launched straight up, zigzagged briefly, and then flew behind the tree and stayed there until time to fly away. Max said, "Whatthehell?" and tried... and failed... to shoot the duck. This went on for a while. Max wondered why the ducks had suddenly become so hard to hit. They moved faster now, zigzagged, hid, and otherwise acted very differently than they had before. I pondered aloud that perhaps he'd killed so many, that he'd somehow triggered a difficulty jump in the game. He agreed that this must be so, and that he would simply have to work harder....and this went on for days. It began to affect Max very oddly. When he played alone, the ducks acted normal. When he played with me, the ducks zigzagged and dodged. He never made the connection. It REALLY began to bug him when we played two player... and when HE had the gun, those ducks did acrobat parkour, but when I had the gun... they just lazily soared around and got shot. What was he doing wrong? What was I doing right? He insisted we trade slots -- I would go first, and HE would go second. It made no difference. His ducks were speed and evasion personified; my ducks were derpy derp cannon fodder. It got worse when he tried playing with Winnie, and his ducks did the same thing (I'd told Winnie, who immediately began screwing around with Max). He became despondent. Why did the ducks hate him? More importantly, how the hell did the Nintendo know when HE was playing, as opposed to anyone else? His aim and precision got better, though. He was a demon with that zapper gun. But he still couldn't hit more than half his ducks, as opposed to the near perfect games everyone ELSE in the house could pull off with ease. Why had Nintendo forsaken him? He finally caught me diddling with the controller while he blazed away. He was SO mad. "YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT ALL OF YOU HAVE BEEN MESSING WITH ME LIKE THIS FOR WEEKS?" "Um... well, yes." He got even with us, though. The rest of the time we lived there, whenever he heard the "Duck Hunt" music, he'd run into the living room and make dratted sure that duck was fraggin' unhittable. If he couldn't shoot the ducks, NO ONE could shoot the ducks! Weirdly enough, though, this true story has a moral: When things ain't goin' right, be observant, and check ALL the variables...
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