Sometimes you read a story that is just filled with all kinds of goodness. This is one of them.
For those who have been following our flock you know that when an author has completed an interview with me they then have had the honor of having one of our chickens named after them. As a result we have in our flock, Chris-Bohjalian, Jodi-Picoult, Meg-Cabot, Janet-Evanovich, Judy-Blume, A.S.-King, Sy-Montgomery, Lee-Goldberg, and Karen-Romano-Young chickens.
We affectionately refer to these birds as our “literary-chicks”. They are incredible ambassadors for the backyard poultry world as well as for the kids-should-read-these-really-great-books world. As many of you know, our chickens are so much more than “just” chickens.
The other night at the dinner table, my son Griffin was talking about an online video game he had been playing called Monday Night Combat and which he had convinced several members of his F.I.R.S.T robotics team to try. Two members of the team (brothers) were going to buy the game but then they got into a car accident (no one was hurt and apparently – according to Griffin anyway – it was not the boys’ fault). All extra cash that might have gone to any games was now going to go into truck repairs.
It’s a tough lesson but it’s the way of life boys. Sometimes things don’t go the way you planned.
Griffin planned on writing to the gaming developers to see if they would freely give two game codes out for his friends. It was a nice gesture, a really nice gesture on the part of my son but the pragmatist in me had to ask, “Sweetheart what’s in it for them? What do they get out of giving you these codes? What would be their motivation?”
“Is there something you can offer in return for these codes?” I asked Griffin, “Can you offer to help with some sort of game development?” – an area he wants to go into.
“Mom, I’m a High School senior – these guys are … game developers!”
To which I replied with my standard worn-to-the-bone-over-the-years response– “Well you’re a smart kid, I’m confident you can come up with something.”
A while later Griffin called me to his room to read a letter he had written to the developers. In it he had offered them the opportunity to name one of our chickens anything they wanted and have an interview on this blog in return for the two codes.
“Now you’re talking, I told him.” He sent the email with my blessings.
The developers agreed to the request and sent two game codes which have already been distributed and the boys are all now spending many (many) happy hours online locked in mortal combat.
In return, we are now have a Monday Night Combat named chicken and an interview.
I’m deviating from my normal author themed interviews for two reasons:
- First of all, my son Griffin is a class act. When he made the proposition to the developers he indicated that even if they didn’t send the codes, he would still be buying the game for his friends. He said that because that’s what considerate friends do.
- Second, the game developers are a class act. They didn’t have to send free game codes but they recognized the uniqueness and intent of the request. They were reaching out to their gaming community. They did it because that’s what considerate game developers do.
In the game there is an announcer whose name is Mickey Cantor. An online description of Mickey has this to say about the character:
“Mickey Cantor, AKA “Mr. Controversy”, has survived six assassination attempts (two of them successful) to become the “most insightful MNC announcer in history”. At some point in his past, he worked as a male dancer. Mickey has a checkered history including several personal scandals and arrests for non-violent criminal behavior. From his announcements in-game, it can be determined that he is divorced, and may have a gambling problem. He is currently calling games out of his prison cell in Mexico as part of a plea agreement.”
No one ever sees Mickey but he’s an integral part of the game, a life force as necessary as the intake of breath.
Given free reign over their chicken’s name, the developers have decided to name her “Chickey Cantor” (okay high points right there for a great sense of humor). And everyone is so tickled with the idea of a chicken living in New Hampshire with the name of “Chickey Cantor” that there is even talk of incorporating her into the game.
How cool are these people? Definitely chicken-worthy.
So bottom line, mamas – go ahead and let your sons (and daughters) grow up to be game developers. It’s not a bad gig. Gaming is not all just about fighting and weapons and mass annihilation, it’s also clearly about inventiveness, imagination, looking out for those within your community, and most importantly, heart.
That’s not such a bad way to live your life. Continue reading