If there are any new parents reading this, please promise me that you’ll resist the temptation, if given the opportunity, to turn your child into a star. Examples of why this generally results in sadness are many, but today I’ll point you towards Macaulay Culkin as exhibit A.
I’m not going to talk about all the problems with his parents and his fortune that he had to endure, or the whole Michael Jackson thing, or even how he’s basically forever frozen in time as a 10-year-old kid in many peoples’ minds. Rather, I’m going to talk about a fine day some 15 years ago when Macaulay got pwned.
On that particular day, a friend of mine (who will remain nameless in case Macaulay is still seeking revenge) saw him walk into an arcade in Chicago, probably with a smile on his face. Little did poor Macaulay know that my friend, along with other fellow regulars at this arcade, had honed his skills for weeks on that arcade’s popular multi-player game: Battletech.
For those not familiar with the genre, the world of Battletech revolves around “mechs” – giant robotic suits bristling with weaponry. In this particularly fancy arcade rendition, you were locked into a fairly complex cockpit with a large array of controls at your disposal. You would then create your mech, setting up the weapons as desired, and walk around in a virtual battlefield blasting the crap out of up to 7 other players.
Through experimentation earned about 5 bucks at a time, my friend learned that you could customize your craft such that 9 laser weapons were set to a single trigger. This not only gave you an unfairly powerful weapon, but also caused enough damage that any enemy hit by your laser bouquet would be spun 90 degrees, left staring into empty space wondering what the heck just happened. By the time your foe figured out he had been spun, he’d find himself the recipient of another 9-laser victory salute.
The day Macaulay entered that particular arcade he was probably looking forward to a little bit of old-fashioned arcade fun. Instead, everyone else in the arcade, without any sort of pre-agreed upon plan, carefully set up a 9-laser mech, and proceeded to play “spin the Culkin”. It was brutal. I’m not sure how long Macaulay had to endure this virtual beating, but by the end, he was, quite literally, crying.
To quote my friend: “If it was some random person, we probably would’ve left him alone and focused on shooting each other. But since it was someone famous, we just had to go after him.”
And really, couldn’t we all say the same thing? If you saw Dakota Fanning, looking smug, walk by a bunch of people playing chess, and say, “Well, this looks fun,” wouldn’t you want to respond, “This table’s open. Feel free to pull up a chair, Miss Fanning. I’ll even let you go first”?
Perhaps I digressed a bit there. Anyway.
Sure, Macaulay is trying to make a comeback in the acting world, and has millions of dollars, and is dating that girl from the That 70’s Show. But would you really want to walk through life carrying memories of the uber-pwnage that he suffered 15 years ago?
So, again, new parents, please, let this be a lesson to you: don’t let your child be another victim of child-star pwnage. It’s not pretty, and the scars never heal.