The other day I was talking with some friends about going bowling on Tuesday night. As soon as the idea was proposed, however, the old objections began rising to the top of my brain like bubbles in a fine bottle of Dr Pepper.
The bowling is far away, and the path in between is filled with cold and Yetis. The bowling alley has surpassed stinky to reach the state of “stanky.” Finally, the bowling alley costs dollars. I currently only have $300 and 250 of those dollars need to go towards paying rent.
But I had a moment of clarity when one friend said, “You know, I have Wii bowling … We could just stick around and do that for free.”
A Wii – for those of you not in the know – is a video game system that responds to your hand movements and can perfectly recreate real life activities like bowling and cow racing.
At my friend’s words, I realized that the future was NOW. Thus I concluded that the past was now and the present and the future was the mega-future. Then my brain started to hurt, so I stopped thinking.
Still, Wii-bowling points us to an important truth: we are inching ever closer to true virtual reality, and we should jump on the bandwagon.
The Virtual Bandwagon! Hey-oh!
First, Goshen College should provide every student with a Wii. True, this will be expensive, but I’m sure we can have a bake sale or something. Perhaps some enterprising students can travel to Washington and create a “Wii Stimulus Package” that Congress would love. After all the money Congress has spent recently, an extra $200,000 probably sounds like an appropriate tip at the Olive Garden.
Next, we should figure out what real-life experiences we should attempt to recreate with our new virtual centers. It goes without saying that they should be modeled around the core values. But just in case it doesn’t go without saying, there. I just said it.
Servant leaders? Watch as we pick up virtual trash with our virtual sticks and stuff it in a virtual dumpster. As we clean a virtual river, we could program rabbits and eagles to sing songs for us, teaching us that service can be fun! Of course, when we were finished, the real world would be exactly the same. This teaches us that service is about the journey, not the destination.
Compassionate peacemakers? The Wii could take us into the midst of violent conflicts throughout history without putting the student in danger. The Wii remote could be a “Peace Laser.”
We could sneak among the wreckage of Troy, jump out with our lasers and turn even the most bloodthirsty warriors into peace-loving Gandhi-types. This would be extremely fun and would teach us that conflicts can be resolved by aiming lasers and … hmmm. Perhaps I should rethink this one.
Passionate learners? Two or possibly three words: Wii-search paper. This game would recreate the feeling of flipping through books at the library, scrolling through EBSCO and citing sources. Ugh! This sounds terrible. OK, we really don’t need this particular core value. Adios, passionate learners!
Global citizens would of course lead to virtual S.S.T. With an Internet hookup, we could arrange for people from other countries to be “virtual host parents.” You could use the Wii remote to scratch your head in confusion, apologize when you learn that head-scratching is a rude gesture of contempt and take countless pictures of buildings/stray dogs.
Christ-centered would be the trickiest, because how can a machine measure what is happening in someone’s heart? Clearly, we need further progress in nanotechnology before this core value is realized. Go, science department, go!
I hope you are as jazzed as I am about what a virtual Goshen College might look like. Until that day arrives, we can only imagine the thrill of virtually sprinting across the tracks to avoid being crushed by a virtual train.