Hermitcraft Invasion

Once again, the same six notes stuck in my head. A short tune sung by a young man with a pleasant voice, a tone of shyness, and a Swedish accent mellowed by years of conversation with friends across the North Sea.

It began a few months ago. I was about to get on the BowFlex (and start one of my “Great Courses” lectures) while my kids ate breakfast. My oldest son checked his computer, then announced, “Gree-Anne uploaded a new episode!”

I rolled my eyes. “Is this one of those ‘watch other people play Minecraft’ things?”

My youngest daughter told the others that they shouldn’t let me watch, that I wouldn’t “get it,” and my lack of appreciation would spoil it for the rest of them. But she was outnumbered by her siblings. I said, “Fine. I promise not to say anything disparaging.”

As I started getting my heart-rate up, I learned that it was the Grand Opening of a “redstone build” that they’d named “Sahara” (pronounced the way Sting sings it in the Police song “Tea in the Sahara”) and that, like its antecedent IRL corporation, it was designed to deliver products quickly at competitive prices.

My first out-loud laugh came when I learned they’d just accidentally blown up their only customer when they launched their celebratory fireworks. A short time later I was panting/shouting at the screen, “That’s why you have a soft-opening! What are you thinking, guys?” And when a certain person got long-winded and Grian (the “Gree-Anne” I’d heard earlier) gently nudged him a little, and then a little more, and then a little more, until he fell off the platform, I was laughing so hard I had to stop my workout for a second to catch my breath. (My kids, knowing how much I loathe meetings, and how absolutely efficiently I try to run them when I have to be in charge of one, were laughing at how much I was laughing, and accused me of wishing I could do that to certain people.)

A few days later, at a big church dance, a fellow mom was talking to me about her kids, and complaining that it isn’t bad enough that they play videogames, themselves, but now they like to watch other people playing videogames. I turned to her son and said, “Do you watch Hermitcraft?”

He nodded.

“Did you see the Grand Opening of Sahara?”

He smiled.

I turned to his mom. “It was hilarious. There was this big machine they’d made, and instead of…”

Pretty soon the room was alive with other kids joining in, informing me that there was this whole subplot I’d missed of Grian gumming up the works by throwing in a potato, and didn’t I see the second Grand Opening where the customer who’d gotten blown up was now standing WAY off in the distance to watch the celebratory fireworks, and, and, and…

So now I’m hooked, to the point that the other morning my kids said, “There’s a live-stream today with Mumbo-Jumbo…”

“I’m not letting you watch someone click on blocks of sand for two hours.”

“No, Mom. He and Iskall are going End Busting.”

“Which means?”

“They’re going to find villages in the End and fight things and get stuff you can’t get anywhere else.”

“Mumbo is going with Iskall?” (Iskall85 is the only Hermit I’ve subscribed to, myself.) [Personally, I think his current Omega Tree build is (subconsciously) influenced by the World Tree (Yggdrasil) myth of ancient Scandinavian culture; this, even though Nassim Taleb might argue it’s foolish to start with a creative work and look backwards to find cultural inspiration for it.]

“Yeah, Mom. It’s starting right now!”

Well, they were all more than up-to-date with their schoolwork, and we never actually took a Spring Break, and I had a couple dozen mindless tasks that I’d pushed off too long and really needed to get done, so I said okay, but just for an hour or ninety minutes.

“Don’t worry. It’s only going to be an hour.”

Close to four hours later, pretty much all of us, including the young men who were live-streaming, were fairly slap-happy with silliness.

And now, this past week, at completely random moments (doing dishes, hiking, working on a legal project), the tiny bit of tune plays through my head:

“Do you even bust, bro?”