During dinner tonight, my cell phone rang. Caller ID said "Restricted."
"Male or female?" I said to Otis.
"Female for a buck," he said.
I flipped open the phone. "Hello?"
"Hey Wil, it's Ryan."
"Hey Ryan! Hold on a sec." I turned the phone away from my face and looked at Otis. "Ship it!"
He grimaced and reached into his pocket as I won yet another prop bet from him. (I've played a tiny bit of poker while I've been here, and I'm probably stuck fifteen bucks total, plus the disaster of Martini-fueled blackjack on my birthday. If it wasn't for Otis spewing money to me on prop bets, I'd be really stuck. As it is, I'm even on the whole trip, and I may actually be a little bit ahead.)
"What's up?" I said.
"Mom wanted me to call you and find out if it was okay for me to play Vice City. I think it's okay, because I'm seventeen and everything, but mom said she wasn't sure and wanted me to talk to you about it since you've played it."
Ryan is an incredibly mature and responsible person. I know that he understands the difference between reality and video games, and I'm actually more concerned about the time he spends playing them, than the content of the game.
"Well," I said, "you're seventeen, so you're able to buy yourself tickets to rated 'R' movies, and Vice City isn't any worse than, say, Scarface or Goodfellas, but hold on a second and let me think about it, okay?"
"Okay," he said.
I put the phone to my chest, and explained the situation to the table. Oh, and now would be a good time to point out that we were in a *very* nice restaurant where I wouldn't take a call if we weren't way in the back, against the wall with no other diners around us.
"Does he know that it's not okay to hit beat a hooker with a baseball bat and get his money back in real life?" My friend Ryan said.
"Good question," I said. I put the phone back to my ear and said, "I have to ask you one question: if you pick up a hooker in real life, is it okay to hit her with a baseball bat to get your money back after she gets out of your car?"
"Well, since hookers are empty shells and not real people," he said, "then yes. Yes. It's okay to whack her with a baseball bat."
I relayed this to the table and added, "I think he's mature enough to handle Vice City."
"Tell him that he he also has a future career in Hollywood," Ryan said.