Elementary school holds fond memories for me. There were those special days like ice cream day, which had the wooden spoon, and Skate World day, where all the kids would go to the local roller rink and fall on their asses a lot. One of those glorious days was bitter sweet for me and that was Oregon Trail day.
Every now and then during our history lesson one student got to sit in front of an Apple IIe and play the Oregon Trail video game which was designed to teach students about the pioneer experience. My day finally came and I sat in front of the computer ready to trek the wilderness.
When the game starts it sets you up with a family, a wagon, and various supplies and then your journey begins. I was excited to be the leader of my family, to take on the virtual frontier as only an Apple can bring. I was ready to conquer the untamed land and bring a good home to my family and show off my awesome manly skills in hunting and navigation.
My first task was to mount my wagon on a raft and float down a river. An easy chore I thought, then I crashed into a rock effectively destroying my family's shelter. I had to buy a new one with the little money I had. Everything seemed to go smoothly until the wagon wheel broke, which is a good lesson in how you get what you pay for. If only I bought the better model this may not have happened. I tried to hunt deer to feed the family, but I kept missing and my children starved to death. Finally the grim reaper caught up with me and a tombstone appeared marking my demise.
I never was any good at that game and every time I would try to trek across the frontier I would end up being responsible for the death of my entire family, usually due to dysentery, fire, bear attacks, and my neglect. If video games are any indication of how someone acts in real life scenarios then my skills as a pioneer are sorely lacking. It's probably best that I don't have children.
"On the acquisition of Louisiana, in the year 1803, the attention of the government of the United States, was early directed towards exploring and improving the new territory." - Meriwether Lewis