I took part in the holiday hamster-wheel tradition of "Black Friday" this year against my better judgment. As I hate shopping, crowds, and the wee-hours of the morning this came as a shock. As I was riding around the parking lot of the mall, looking for a spot and dodging collisions, I began thinking (I like to think that this was the very first time I was thinking that wretched morn) about why I was doing this thing that I abhorred.
Usualy when human beings go about doing something they dislike there is some core reason behind it. For instnace many people hate, or at least marginally dislike, their jobs yet they routinely wake up, drive their commute through that part of the city that they hate, and sit in their cubicle pondering suicidal thoughts until quitting time (or the end of the world, whichever comes first). The reason behind all of this is money, a reward for a job completed that our society has deemed necessary for all to have to enjoy a decent quality of life.
At this point, still looking for a spot by the way, my train of thought was careening down the tracks like a bad Denzel Washington movie and I started thinking of things that I do for extended periods of time that don't bring me much joy. World of Warcraft, that unforgiving mistress, instantly came to mind. Not that the game is boring by any means, or that I am so addicted that I find no joy yet I continue to play it, but at times I find myself repeating the same mindless action for hours be it needless slaughter of an entire species of giant-deer, or simply fishing for fake fish. Grinding, and as a sub-category "farming", is an extraordinary gaming phenomenon. While this mostly applies to RPG's (including the MMO kind) it can be found in other games as well. Many nerds spend large quantities of their lives killing nature elementals for the mere purpose of bringing their mossy innards to a virtual market for virtual money. Unfortunately for me I am generally the auctioneer at this very market, tracking the highs and lows of this virtual economy, flushing my life away and having a hell of a time doing it.