Rock Band and an Annoying Child

So, on Saturday, Nathan, myself, and Nathan’s brother Zach went out to Wal-Mart for one sole purpose—to try out the Rock Band demo they had out on the floor.

We happily drove to Wal-Mart and parked. Nathan made sure to get a spot close to the door. I commented that we didn’t have to park that close (he’d waited for a space).

Zach came back with, “We’re Americans, we’re lazy.”

Well, I couldn’t argue with that.

Then Nathan noticed that the car in front of us (in the next parking spot) was pulling out. Nathan says, “Should we pull through?”

Realizing that this would delay our getting to play the demo, I said, “No. We’re Americans and we’re impatient. Let’s go.”

Off we went.

We traipse into the store and down to the electronics aisle. As we get closer, we can hear the sounds of someone banging the drums. Not playing, mind you, but banging. Banging as in hitting them very, very hard. Turning the corner, we discover that the drums are being hit by a child of, say, thirteen or fourteen. Patiently, we wait, noting that it was a good thing we didn’t waste all of our minimal patience on pulling through to the next parking spot. The Child, as he shall henceforth be called, bangs away to Dani California by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The song ends and we now step forward just a little, eagerly anticipating our turn to try Rock Band.

The Child starts another song, by himself. And by ‘another song’ I don’t mean a different song. I mean a new rendition of Dani California.

We wait. The Child continues hitting the shit out of the drums while holding the sticks entirely wrong (tightly, by the ends, using his wrists instead of his fingers).

Song finishes. We take another minute step forward. Yes! This will be our turn!

The Child turns to us, not getting off the stool at the drums, and asks, “Someone want to join in with me?”

The three of us are so appalled by his lack of manners that we’re stunned into silence. Zach recovers first and says he’ll play the guitar. Now, Zach is quite good at the 360 guitar, having beaten Guitar Hero III on expert. So he knows what he’s doing. But The Child condescendingly explains to Zach how to play. Zach patiently waits for The Child to shut up. The Child tells Zach to play bass because it is easier and that he should select the difficulty of Easy.

Zach compromises by choosing Medium.

Commence playing. Playing what? Dani California.Within seconds, commence Failing on Zach’s part. Why? Because the guitar is broken (the strum button doesn’t work). The Child doesn’t believe Zach’s explanation, as he must believe the game that Zach does not, in fact, rock. So The Child chooses to play guitar himself, though he has just informed us that he is, in fact, A Real Drummer.

I resist the urge to ask him to do a drumroll, which would be impossible due to the way he was strangling the sticks. But I resist, because The Child would then have to prove that he can, indeed, Really Play the Drums and wouldn’t abandon them for the guitar. Since I keep my mouth shut (which is becoming quite difficult at this point), the kid does ditch the drums for the guitar.

The drums are free! I eagerly hop onto the stool recently vacated by The Child. The Child then tells me to choose easy. I do. I choose a Metallica song and The Child cancels that and switches it to—you guessed it—Dani California.


Commence playing. Commence The Child Failing on the guitar. Commence me getting halfway through the song before not being familiar with the placement of the drums fails me. But hot damn, it was fun. Yet, even though I was having fun, it was someone else’s turn (my parents did a lot of things wrong, but they did do a decent job on manners). So I hand the sticks and stool over to Nathan.

Nathan takes a seat and The Child proceeds to give him a slow, detailed, and Entirely Smug Condescending explanation of how to play.

Nathan says, “I know how to do this.”

The Child says, “Oh, I know. I was mostly saying it for her.” [emphasis The Child’s.]

Cue Nathan sitting in stunned silence.

Cue Zach nearly exploding due to keeping his laughter in.

Cue me having to muster every restraining element of my mind and body to keep myself from maiming The Child.

Cue me walking away.

Nathan plays Dani California with The Child until the have both failed.

Cue Nathan walking away.

Cue The Child resuming his drum smacking away to Dani California, assuming that the Wal-Mart electronics section Rock Band demo is his own personal arcade.

Frustrated, we head out of Wal-Mart. Nathan makes a pit stop at Customer Service to rat out The Child. He says many things. He points out that they are losing potential customers since they can’t try out the demo without a Condescending Child ruining their experience. He points out that the three of us came to Wal-Mart for the sole purpose of trying out the demo and couldn’t, because of The Child. He points out that Wal-Mart, the last time he checked, was not an arcade. The Customer Service agent promised to deal with The Child.

We left.

I bet The Child is still there, forever ruining Rock Band and Dani California for all who happen by.