Nine Simple Truths That Mega Man Proved Wrong
As you make your way through this shallow and pedantic existence we call life, you are told by others how to live your life. There are particular societal expectations that you must learn to fulfill, and you are forced to learn to conform to them as soon as you show basic signs of cognizance. In addition to this, you will quickly learn that friends, family, and slightly creepy passersby will spare no opportunity to heap all the proverbs, advice, and adverbs they have upon you. It is important to understand two things about the suggestions they pass on to you. First, no matter how annoying they may be, these people mean well; do not judge them too harshly. Secondly, a lot of what they will tell you is complete fucking bullshit. Not on purpose, mind you, but because someone told them the same bullshit and they never bothered to do any further research into the matter. A misbelief that is oft repeated eventually becomes truth through sheer attrition. After a certain point, society simply accepts something as fact without question, and anyone who attempts to question the validity of that fact is met with great resistance and hostility. History demonstrates that while such questioning popular truths often results in harsh punishments, the most relentless askers of such questions are not only vindicated over time, they are also greatly revered. When Galileo opposed the theory of geocentrism in favor of heliocentrism, he was denounced by Pope Urban VIII and placed under house arrest for the remainder of his life. In his own time, Galileo was a criminal. Today, he is considered a groundbreaking figure in the field of physics and astronomy. In the following treatise, I will be challenging some of the quaint, homespun beliefs that many of you hold dear. I challenge you all to open your minds, to stop believing in things simply because they make you feel comfortable, and to believe that there are possibilities all around you that you have never considered. And why should you do this? Easy. Because everything I am about to reveal to you, I learned from playing Mega Man games on the NES.
DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP
Don't beat yourself up. I'm sure you've heard that said countless times. We all make mistakes, after all, and it's best not to linger on them. You are your own worst critic, and all the second-guessing and wishing in the world can't change what's already been done. So, don't beat yourself up, they say. Wrong. Wrong! WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG! It's a cute sentiment, but it simply isn't correct. Sometimes beating yourself up is the only way to move forward. It's easy to avoid judging yourself. It's easy to deflect blame. But if you want to be a hero, you have to make tough decisions. Could you shoot yourself in the face at point blank range if that's what it took to stop an insane scientist bent on world domination? Mega Man did it twice. So by all means, beat yourself up. It's the only way you'll learn.
DON'T RUN WITH SCISSORS
Running with scissors is regarded as dangerous. If you run with scissors, hedge clippers, pinking shears, or even surgical tongs, it is said that you are tempting fate to assail you. Mischievous demons will be drawn to your location, and they will trip you when you are not looking. Then, you will fall face first onto the business end of the scissors. The scissors will penetrate your eye, spraying blood and ocular guts everywhere. Your precious rods and cones, the givers of sight, will trickle out of the wound and seep into your cheap linoleum floors, gone forever. But the misery will not end there. The scissors will continue further into your body on an exploratory journey of malice. They will breach the motor center of your brain, leaving you paralyzed as well as blind. You will spend the rest of your life as a sightless waste of oxygen, incapable of doing anything meaningful. In essence, you will be a United States Congressman. And every day, your mother will walk into the white sterile room where machines keep you alive and whisper in your ear: "I told you so."
Or so we are led to believe. But in the original Mega Man game, running with scissors is not only fun and completely devoid of consequences, it is necessary. Okay, so maybe it's not quite necessary. But it is the quickest way to beat Elec Man, and that counts for something.
DON'T GET AHEAD OF YOURSELF
In this life, it is often claimed that one should always be thorough. When you act hastily, or based upon unqualified assumptions, the common wisdom is that you are setting yourself up for immolation, or some other form of cataclysmic failure. So, don't count your chickens before they hatch. Or, to put it a way my readers are more likely to understand, don't unwrap your condoms before the prom. That is the axiom that was handed down to you by your ancestors. Nevertheless, Mega Man shows us that getting a head of yourself is actually quite beneficial. Getting a head of yourself gives you a new lease on life. It's another chance, and in some cases, it's your last chance. Whenever the occasion presents itself, I strongly recommend that you try to get a head of yourself. And if you can keep getting a head of yourself over and over again, you can rest assured that failure will never be anything more than a minor setback for you. Success will be inevitable... unless you are really, really inept.
BEING COLORED IS A DISADVANTAGE
For many centuries, Caucasians were told by things such as "science" and "Jesus" and "Science Jesus" that they were superior to non-Caucasians in every measurable way. By the middle of 20th century, Caucasian Supremacy Theory collapsed once and for all under the undeniable weight of the accomplishments of non-white minorities in fields that included jazz, boxing, basketball, Olympic running, warfare, dry cleaning, and not being as puerile as their white counterparts. But then, just as equality seemed to be within reach within the United States, the debate about Caucasian supremacy was renewed by an unlikely source: minorities themselves. Minorities began to argue that centuries of racism had left them with a significant socioeconomic handicap, one that would be insurmountable without generous outside assistance. And the contemporary architects of American society agreed. And thus, the controversial doctrine of affirmative action was a born. Affirmative action refers to a broad and vague range of initiatives enacted by a wide variety of private and public institutions that has included now-unconstitutional hiring quotas and university admission quotas. However, several forms of affirmative action still exist in the United States today. Well, they fucking shouldn't. As Mega Man has shown us time and time again, being colored is by no means a disadvantage; it's the greatest advantage you can ever have. When you're colored, you can do anything, from flying to shooting fireballs to stopping time to summoning snakes to encasing yourself in skulls to blowing bubbles. If you can imagine it, there's a rather good chance you can do it. The only thing you can't do when you're colored is swim; if you get in the water, you will sink like a fucking stone. That's okay though, because you can use the Rush Marine.
THE FIREMAN IS YOUR FRIEND
When you're a kid, your parents tell you if you're ever in trouble, look for a police officer, because a police officer will always help you. And if you can't find a police officer, look for a fireman, because a fireman is basically a less common, more athletic, axe-wielding version of a police officer. The fireman is generally deemed to be the coolest of all public servants. He has all the best gadgets. In addition to the previously mentioned axe, the fireman gets a cache of goodies that include Dalmatians, flame-resistant clothing, a giant truck filled to the brim with all sorts of bells and whistles, and a base of operations modeled after Ghostbusters Headquarters. But the fireman is not your friend. As Mega Man can attest, the Fire Man is a pyromaniacal sociopath whose sole raison d'être is to burn you and everything you love, even kittens. ESPECIALLY KITTENS. But Fire Man can only do this if you let him. You don't have let him. You can fight back. If your spirit is strong, you can even kill Fire Man. Kill every fucking Fire Man you meet.
FRESH AIR IS GOOD FOR YOU
If you were raised by your birth parents, or if you ever watched Spaceballs or Total Recall, you've obviously heard that fresh air is supposed to be good for you somehow. Deep down, you've always secretly suspected that this was a lie. You've laid awake at night, wondering if society only told you to go outside and get some fresh air so that society could play StarTropics while you weren't looking. The answer, of course, is yes; society totally lied to you so that it could play your video games. Even worse, fresh air isn't even all that good for you. As Mega Man shows us, fresh air is a double-edged sword. At its best, fresh air is completely useless. At its worst, fresh air is filled with miniature fucking tornadoes. And while they may not kill you as fast as regular tornadoes, they will kill you just the same.
GOOD THINGS TO COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT
There is an old adage which dictates that good things come to those who wait. And unless your name is Charles, Prince of Wales, you probably believe this. It is not an unreasonable position. One might look at Rodney Dangerfield, who didn't find success until age 45 as an example of this. Or actor John Neville, who had the biggest role of his film career at age 63. Sadly such cases are the exception rather than the rule. Consider both Mega Man 5 and Mega Man 6. In Mega Mans 1-3, one can see a definite progression. The series evolved from a basic arcade-inspired platformer, complete with pointless scoring system, to something truly special. Mega Man 4 may not have reinvented the wheel the way the previous two installments did, but its Robot Masters were decent and its red-baiting Wily fake out was an exciting plot twist back in the day. Released long after the launch of the Super Nintendo, the last two Mega Man games on the NES were pretty disappointing. Their innovations were unimpressive, their Robot Masters were unexciting, and they both recycled Mega Man 4's big plot twist to much less dramatic effect. They weren't completely unenjoyable, but they felt lazy and uncreative compared to the earlier titles. The games feel half-assed and half-hearted, and they probably were: Mega Man 5 was completed within twelve months of the release of Mega Man 4, while Mega Man 6 was completed within ten of the release of Mega Man 5. One gets the definite sense that half of the development time on these games was spent rifling through children's scribbles for mediocre Robot Master ideas, followed by one week of level design, three weeks of coding, and then several months of pretending the games weren't finished to ensure that each one wouldn't be released too soon after its predecessor. Actually, I take that back. The developers probably only looked at about sixteen children's drawings. Centaur Man? Plant Man? Choo-Choo Train Man? Come on now.
When Orson Welles died in 1985, he was a bloated, repulsive wino coasting his way through an incoherent robot-related clusterfuck. I would argue that his final days not only echo the point that good things do not come to those wait, but they also serve as an uncommonly good metaphor for Mega Man's last two adventures on the NES.
IT'S BETTER TO BE A TOP THAN A BOTTOM
At any given moment in time, somewhere in the world, college-aged heterosexual males are sitting in a room drinking beers and asking each other hypothetical questions. And one of the questions that will eventually come up is this: "If you were gay, what male celebrity would you want to sleep with?" And while the answers to this question vary greatly, the caveat the accompanies these answers is always the same. Specifically, the respondent makes clear that if he was ever involved in homosexual intercourse, he would be the one giving the fucking (the top), and most certainly not the one receiving the fucking (the bottom). This is conventional and irrefutable wisdom in the heterosexual community, that it is far superior to be a top than a bottom; to be a bottom is considered completely degrading. Besides, if you're the type of guy who has a proclivity for putting things in women's buttholes, then you can probably muster the enthusiasm to put things in men's buttholes as well, possibly with the aid of narcotics. In fact, there's a famous quote from Ancient Greece: "Be kind, for everyone you meet has a butthole." I can't quite remember who said that though. Oh wait, yes I do. It was EVERY SINGLE MAN WHO EVER LIVED IN ANCIENT GREECE. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
Despite all this, it is not better to be a top than a bottom; sometimes the most longstanding and widely held beliefs are the most wrong. Mega Man tried his hand at being a top in his third outing, and it did not go well at all. It wasn't just embarrassing, it was downright pathetic. In fact, the general consensus that it is the single worst thing that Mega Man ever did. Please learn from his mistakes. It's okay to be gay, but don't ever be a top.
JUMPING INTO SPIKES IS FUN
Remember when you were growing up, and times were tough? You'd ask for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Party Van for your birthday and instead you'd get some crappy third-tier action figure like Usagi Yojimbo because it was on clearance? And then your dad would give you some moronic pitch that only someone who knew jack shit about the Ninja Turtles would find convincing, about how Usagi Yojimbo was "just as good" as the Party Van. So you'd do the only reasonable thing that can be done in a situation like that: throw a gigantic fucking temper tantrum. But you still wouldn't get the Party Van, because you were poor. Eventually, you'd calm down enough that your parents would be able to sit you down for one of those cheesy heart-to-heart talks that are often featured on fetid sitcoms. They'd explain to you that money was tight, and you needed to learn to appreciate the toys you already had instead of constantly begging for newer, cooler toys. Then you and your parents would hug it out, and at their suggestion, you'd go roll around in the pile of rotting boards with rusty nails sticking out of them in the backyard. If you've ever wondered why you owned such a fantastic toy as this, the answer is simple: because you were poor. All poor people have giant spiky woodpiles in their backyards, usually next to a stack of empty chicken cages that has never housed even one chicken for as long as it has been there. In fact, for three generations, no one in your family has ever even *seen* a live chicken.
Sorry, I kinda lost my train of thought... must be all that tetanus I have. What in the hell was I talking about? Oh right, jumping into spikes. Jumping into spikes may seem like fun, it may make you feel alive, and your parents may constantly suggest you do it, but did you know it can be extremely dangerous? Well, it can. In many cases, it can even result in instantaneous death. You may not have known that, but Mega Man sure did. In fact, jumping into spikes is the single most common cause of death for the blue bomber. The second most common cause of death for Mega Man? Trying to defeat a boss by trading damage instead of dodging and counterattacking.
And with that, we come to the end of today's lesson. If there is one thing that you should take away from this, it is never make assumptions about life, especially ones based on secondhand information. The best decisions you can make are the ones you make based on personal experience, and there is a whole universe out there just waiting to be experienced. So get out there and learn, research, explore, experiment, and expand your mind. Just try not to get any fresh air, okay?
Posted by: Syd Lexia
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