You remember that one episode of The Simpsons, right? Where Homer loaded up the car with the Tetris theme playing in the background? He moved packages, and later baby Maggie and even folded his tall wife Marge in order to fit everyone into the car.
Well, if you do it right (and not break anybody’s neck or long blue hairstyle in the process) there’s some real value in approaching life like that…
You know, like Tetris! *doom music*
If you keep the Tetris theme song and a Tetris mindset close at hand whenever you face a repetitive task, I think it can calm you down and even add some humor to whatever it is you’re doing. Kind of like putting a smiley face sticker, a Hello Kitty, or an amusing hashtag on your real-life moment. (Wait, I hope there isn’t a #real life? Now THAT mess should be illegal; that’s taking hashtags too far…)
Why does Tetris make everything better? Well, other than its cultural context–a super-happy game that almost all people have loved playing for decades, now… Tetris is made for that in any case. Tetris is the original fidget-spinner, the original addicting portable game. People were obsessed with playing Tetris on airplaines and in the office before you could even put games on smartphones. And that was before smartphones or even mobile phones ever existed. You can thank Nintendo (you know, the Legend of Zelda and Pokémon GO people?), for that. Their easy-to-put-in-your-bag Gameboy system made it possible. And then, there was the Tetris-splosion that put Tetris on everyone’s computers… After growing up as a kid in the 90s, an insanely fun game like Tetris is never far from your consciousness.
But, flash forward to today…
Groceries? I Tetris that. Once, while I was waiting in line to buy groceries, I overheard the clerk and the woman in front of me having a very excited conversation about a Netflix series. I never caught the name of it. I assumed it was a fantasy-style show because they kept talking about whether the novels matched the show. In any case, you could pretty much [insert your favorite series name here] and they were really going crazy, chatting, being excited, and slightly holding up the line with how fangirl and fanboy they were being in that moment. I find it is very hard to be annoyed with people acting like this–it’s awesome! (I even think she was kind of interested in him… so, aisle three at Harris Teeter, watch out for the Cute Netflix Girl next time!)
Anyway… I found myself smiling as well. That turned out to be the first inkling the check out guy was ‘my people.’ It’s great to come across people with good energy who enjoy having fun conversations. So, as my turn came up, and the conversation eventually slid into Netflix again, I was delighted when the clerk paused everything and pulled a perfectly-timed Tetris reference. This is what he did: I had a lot of groceries and he wanted to take a moment to plan how to put everything in two bags, “Hold on, I need to plan this. I’m going to do my Tetris thing.” He always uses Tetris to pack bags at the grocery store. And as he worked, things went pretty easily. Grapefruit went in above the eggs, but the eggs stayed stacked above the cans where they wouldn’t get squashed… he did a really great job. All my food got home safely and nothing was crushed. All because of Tetris. I was so impressed. Well, until I had to fit all my groceries in the refrigerator. Then I frowned.
He Tetris’d that. Hey, so I let me tell you something else. A light went off for me when the grocery checker said that, because I also use Tetris in my daily life. I thought I was just, you know, being a fangirl-geek as per my usual, but it was cool to hear other people think like this too.
Washing dishes? I Tetris that. What do I use Tetris for every day? I live in an older place that does not have a dishwasher. So, at the end of the day, when I have a sink full of plates, pots, pans, glasses and silverware to wash, I call it ‘sink Tetris’ and get’er done. The big four-block squares and long rectangles come out first, my big strainer, pots and pans. I push the smaller three-block “L” silverwear shapes to the side. And the dreaded four-block big “L” shapes, the Tupperware that likes to fill up with water and obscure the leftover pieces inside, or sit over other pots and pants like a hat, being concave… but, it’s Tetris. It’s just a game. Dishes? I Tetris that. And I did also tell the grocery clerk about that, my ‘sink tetris.’ We might have bonded for a brief moment, but I don’t want to muscle in on Cute Netflix Girl’s territory. I think those two were meant to be…
Packing suitcases? I Tetris that. Once, on a car trip with friends, I decided that it might be nuts to try and fit all our bags in the car and thought Tetris would help. We decided to do a girls’ weekend out at a spa & resort.
My friends were fussing, packing the car, and I whipped out my cell phone to play the Tetris theme.
Now, I have to be honest with you… I have many moments like this. I think something is going to be insanely cool, but other people don’t really take to it, because it is actually very nerdy. Haha—all part of the fangirl thing, a lot of sparkly glitter happens in your mind, I guess, but in the real world, no dice. Lol! But, after I insisted, and re-told the joke and kept playing it, we did eventually have Sophie re-arranging things in the trunk, pretending it was Tetris. So that three seconds of my fangirl life was so worth it. Tetris that, man!
Life? I Tetris that. Use Tetris to re-arrange your car, your closet, wash your dishes, pack the groceries, file your papers at work… do people still file actual, physical papers anymore? Pick up the kids’ toys, sort out the refrigerator, organize your underwear drawer, fold laundry… and not to be all Heloise, but using the Tetris song to make repetitive tasks a lot more fun works every single time, I swear.
I definitely encourage you to download the Tetris song onto your phone for an easy tap-and-play Tetris experience whenever you need it, or have a re-listen so you can hum it to yourself. I think having the Tetris theme handy is a must for everyone.
How to Use Tetris Everyday
- Put the Tetris theme on your phone. (Or, get really, really good at humming it.)
- The moment you’ve got something annoying you have to do, turn on the Tetris song, baby.
- Rock out and work it out, Tetris-style. (Which is like Gangnam Style but not. Can I still make that reference?)
- Concentrate on breaking up the task into smaller pieces. Some will be “L” shaped and some will be box shaped.
- Then execute each one to the music.
- Feel the stress melt away…
Soon, you’ll be all like,
“Oh God, there was so much to organize, but man, that garage? I Tetris that. Done.”
“Cleaning my closet? I Tetris that. Done.”
“My wife always steals the covers, but I Tetris that.” (He, or she, probably bent a little into an “L” shape and fit under the covers. Or, bent the wife into an “L” shape… but, heeey, it’s that kind of blog!)
“I didn’t know how to arrange those flowers, but seriously? Tetris that. Done.”
You see? Help me spread the good word about I Tetris that. Share this post, #tetristhat in your pics and talk about it (you know, in real life). Let’s start a new saying together! It is still a really, really rad game.
Bonus Challenge: Read “Game Over”
By the way, I have extra love for Tetris these days because I picked up a mind-blowingly cool book called “Game Over” a few years ago and it goes deep into how Tetris was invented. If you’re the type of person who can get very happily sucked into Wikipedia, definitely pick up this book. I found mine on Amazon…
Chapter 13, From Russia With Love, starts the real story of how Nintendo brought Tetris to world, how it had to come from Russia, through the Iron Curtain. Just imagine the brilliant programmer Alexey Pajitnov, who “…had the build of a medum-sized bear. His face was framed by auborn hair and a harshly clipped beard” who invented the simple game on a computer at his work. And then the challenges Pajitnov faced developing the game, the risks he, his family, and Nintendo took, to make everything happen during that time in history… I think I loved this chapter most of all.
And there were also a lot of high-drama courtroom battles with companies vying for control over the rights to video games, with Nintendo narrowly, and/or cleverly forging victory after victory. I highly recommend this book. I was able to convert at least one co-worker into a “Game Over” junkie, so here I am again, trying to convert all of you.
So that’s your bonus challenge for this week: Read “Game Over” and get intimate knowledge about this truly excellent, classic game.
Life? I Tetris that.