I used to play a video game online to unwind.
Invested time. Got okay at it.
One afternoon I landed in a match with cheaters.
They had a mod to weaken me. If they shot me once I’d die.
I’d re-spawn across the map.
But they were there waiting.
Two seconds later my avatar lay twitching again.
Over and over. Like twenty times in a row. I couldn’t do anything.
I should have left the game and gone for a walk.
But it was winter.
I stayed in the rigged contest and kept trying.
I was almost crying by the time it ended.
The stats appeared. Quantified humiliation.
Nobody but me and the modders knew what’d happened.
The other players just thought I sucked. Laughter sogged my headphones.
I spiked the controller on the carpet.
Stomped it until its shell splintered and wiry guts fell out.
Felt ashamed. Hated myself.
Never played that stupid game again.