The festive holidays always make me think of games.
As we throw up the tree (literally “throw” – it looks more like a glitterati dinosaur vomited all over it than a carefully put-together and beloved decoration) and set out the presents, my mind touches upon our other shared routines – principally, eating crackers and cheese (with size ratios greatly in favour of the cheese), drawing up a myriad of interesting, nightmarish scenarios via Cards Against Humanity and playing video games that temporarily make us loathe each other. The latter probably being my favourite of all my family’s traditions. (Though the cheese serves a close second.)
It’s a wonderful tradition, and one that we love to indulge in during the most wonderful time of the year. What better way to spread Christmas spirit, after all, than huddling up on the couch and revelling in mutual anger and fun!?
There’s no games that inspire this better in my family than Crazy Taxi (or Mario Kart, but that’s another blog post). While we prepare to verbally berate each other (lovingly), we slip into the same preparatory routines. My dad will pick hideous Gus. He has a thing for picking the worst possible characters in competitive games. I think he does it to throw us off our game. In Mario Kart he picks Birdo, and has been doing so for about 13 years (since we got Double Dash on the GameCube). You will not be surprised to hear he has also been dead to me for about 13 years. (Lovingly dead to me, that is.)
My sister will pick Gina. She has a thing for picking the sassy ladies (or adorable characters, like Toad or Koopa in Mario Kart Wii). That, or she’ll take turns with me driving as Axel.
I have always had a thing for cool punks that look like Blink-182 wannabes. When I was a kid, I used to have a huge crush on O’Malley the Alley Cat from The Aristocats. I’m aware he’s fictional (and also a cat) but that always seemed beside the point when he was swaggering around on screen. It was always about that catisma. And as far as cats go, he was about the dirtiest little punk you could get – helping Lady and her family go on the run and encouraging them to party in an illegal late-night jazz club. Damn, O’Malley. You a badass.
I felt the same way about Axel. Axel oozes a weird charisma that is innately attractive for an animated character. (I’m sorry – I know admitting that animated characters are hot probably seems odd to you – but HE IS. AND I DEFY YOU TO TELL ME YOU’VE NEVER HAD CRUSHES ON ANIMATED CHARACTERS TOO. IF YOU’RE PRETENDING YOU DON’T THEN GET WITH THE PROGRAMME. HAVE YOU NEVER HEARD OF HENTAI?)
I have a few theories about why Axel is such an attractive graphic cabbie. Please see below. (FYI, mulled wine has had nothing to do with this quite badly written, confessional blog post. Promise.)
Hawaiian shirt, green hair, don’t care.
One of Axel’s staple features is his virulently green hair. I always liked this in particular because it looked borderline radioactive, and anyone who can pull off chemical reactions like that on their head are the cool, tough people you want to be hanging out with. He also couples this with a badass hawaiian shirt and incredibly chiseled abs (are abs the ones on your stomach???? I wouldn’t know. I’ve never touched an ab. Abs often form a circle around my body and point and laugh.)
To top it off, he wears a shark tooth necklace, which implies he once got in a fight with a shark and killed it. Either that or he got it at a Walmart for 99 cents. Irregardless – be still, my beating heart*.
*Just thought, on editing this post, maybe he didn’t kill a shark or go to Walmart. Maybe he is friends with a shark and he and his shark friend got into a fight with a DIFFERENT SHARK! OR ENTIRELY DIFFERENT AQUATIC LIFE FORM. AND MAYBE THE SHARK GOT PUNCHED IN THE FACE FOR AXEL AND HE LOST HIS TOOTH AND REPLACED IT WITH A GOLD ONE AND HE GAVE THE TOOTH HE LOST TO AXEL AS A SYMBOL OF THEIR FRIENDSHIP AND NOW AXEL WEARS IT AROUND HIS NECK TO THINK ABOUT THE SACRIFICE HIS SHARK FRIEND MADE. AND THEN AT NIGHT, WHEN HE LOOKS AT THE OCEAN, HE SEES A TINY BIT OF GOLD GLINTING ON THE HORIZON AND HE KNOWS IT IS HIS SHARK FRIEND SMILING AT HIM FROM AFAR. OH MY GOD. I’VE CRACKED IT.
“Alriiiiight, let’s get it on.”
The way Axel says “alriiiiiight, let’s get it on” when you pick him as a character is one of the best things ever. You’re like, “HELL YEAH, AXEL. We will fuckin’ GET IT ON” (except not really, because I was VERY SMALL and the worst swear word I’d heard at that point was “golly” or something of that ilk. I cling to the hope that one day “golly” will be the equivalent of “fuck” so that when I repeat that factoid to new people I’ll sound cooler). And then you drive around in his car picking up random civilians and WINNING which is really fun, and makes you feel connected to your digital punk persona when you’re chucking people out of your car like a deranged Kermit-follicled sociopath.
Maybe I just like winning.
I’ve decided to wrap up this blog post because it’s suddenly occurred to me that maybe I just like winning. A lot of my fond memories of Axel are connected to getting A******** scores in his cab. That’s it. I’m attracted to winning.
Merry Christmas Eve, everyone.