February 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm , by Nick Shell
It’s funny how a quirky Japanese video game about an Italian plumber who busts bricks by jumping up and hitting them with his fist ever became a phenomenal hit in American culture.
Yet, I don’t know any dad around my age who wasn’t greatly psychologically affected by this unquestionably weird game known as Super Mario Bros. for “regular” Nintendo.
In fact, I have good reason to believe that modern day fatherhood can be easily represented through this nostalgic part of our childhood; which in essence, has become part of our manhood as well.
1. We are constantly working hard to earn money. Sure, it’s more convenient when you have the ability to jump 6 stories high to collect gold coins which are magically floating in the air, but just the same: We as dads are constantly reminded about the need to provide for our family.
2. We have to be strong and not let it show to the world when we are in pain. Mario was able to smash bricks with his fist (and his head?) yet he never bled nor showed any sign of injury. Sure, it’s important we share with our wives what’s really going on inside. But for everyone else, it’s culturally important for us to not go around expressing our concerns about financially providing for our families.
3. We must commit to our decisions and responsibilities. The first Super Mario Bros. was the only one where you couldn’t move back to the previous screen; only forward. Similarly, we as men and dads are dedicated to our families; not looking back to easier days, but instead to the challenges ahead.
4. We continue learning new lessons in fatherhood, therefore passing to the next level. In the way that Mario had to jump as high as he could on the flagpole to complete the level, sometimes we gracefully pass (jumping to the top of the pole) while often we barely get by (landing at the very bottom of the pole).
5. We become accustomed to disappointments, but continue our mission. Fatherhood is full of those “Thank you Mario but our princess is in another castle!” moments. I often feel that the times I figure out how to solve the current puzzle regarding how to get my son to go to sleep or convince him to eat a certain food or something like that, he figures out that I figured him out. Then he finds a new way to challenge me.
I could really go for one of those mushrooms right now. It’s be pretty cool to truly become “Super Dad” where I actually knew what I was doing.
If nothing else, I’d love to be able to change the burned out headlight on my 2004 Honda Element without ruining the bulb. Who knew that the natural oils from your fingers can actually ruin those stupid things? I think the last time I changed a headlight was on a 1988 Ford Bronco II.
Guess I’m still living in The Eighties.