A friend of mine had the chance to meet former Prime Minister Tony Blair last week, just after he visited the UN and witnessed the latest failed attempts at a Palestinian/Israeli peace. “They’ll never work that out,” Blair told my friend, shaking his head sadly, and who could disagree with him? When two factions have been at war for that long, what could ever make them sit down peaceably and agree?
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the answer: Animal Jam.
My two boys give Cain and Abel a run for their money. They can’t be in the same room for ten seconds without bloodshed. Then, just last night before bedtime, I happen upon this happy scene:
CONNOR: Ooh, Seamus, your igloo looks good.
SEAMUS: Thanks. I got the fuzzy dice with my boogie points.
CONNOR: Boogie points! Luh-cky!
SEAMUS: Oh, would you like to know how to get boogie points? You just have to go under the volcano and follow the green path. Here, join me on the Ice Cube server, I’ll show you.
CONNOR: Gee, thanks, Seamus!
While they have nothing but the utmost contempt for each other in the real world, in the virtual world, my boys are the best of friends. As long as they are interacting in a Second-Life environment of fluffy friends and gentle climate change reminders, they get along great.
This is fantastic. It’s also a little weird, like when Itchy and Scratchy had their “Porch Pals” episode and sat in their rocking chairs and had lemonade. In this equation I’m Bart Simpson, sitting in front of the television, wondering what the heck happened. (I’m on my iPad and can’t embed the Itchy and Scratchy video right now, but you can watch it here, and it’s worth the click for the perfection of the imagery).
After a while, I got too freaked out by the lovey-dovey stuff and told the boys it was time for bed. “But we’re playing tic-tac-toe!” they wailed.
I wanted to point out that they could just turn around, and make eye contact, and play Tic-Tac-Toe on a piece of PAPER. But who’m I kidding? There’d be screaming within seconds. I’m enjoying the peace that Animal Jam has brought my household far too much to poke holes in it. If we could just have gotten a few more UN translators on the Ice Cube server last week, they might have gotten something done after all.