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A Hero For Our Times. Or Maybe For Chicken Sandwiches.

Just as I was becoming a little depressed about America's slacker generation wasting away their lives watching spider monkeys play cello on YouTube, Blake Peebles rescued me from my malaise. Apparently, where I only saw sloth and and an utter lack of ambition, wildfires of 21 century aspirations were blazing away.

I didn't see it. Not until I saw this item in the Raleigh News & Observer:

Blake Peebles, 16, of Raleigh, dropped out of school last year to devote himself to playing 'Guitar Hero,' and his parents agreed to have him home-schooled. 'I usually play till I can't anymore,' Blake says.

My mistake, of course, is trying to imagine me, at 16, breaking the news to my father, a fellow who harbored some rather uncompromising early-20th century notions about education. He was a mathematician and a research chemist who thought my incessant devotion to fiction and history was the the pursuit of whatever they called slackers in the 1950s and early 1960s. "Dad. I've decided to drop out of school and chase a new heroic dream."

I wondered what rewards one garners from Guitar Hero perfection. The story provides plenty of incentive. "Among the prizes he's won playing "Guitar Hero" tournaments: gift certificates, gaming equipment and chicken sandwiches."

That's what I would have said, just as the old man started wailing on me. "But Dad! Think of the chicken sandwiches."

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