"[Grandpa] said that Vista's FreeCell was too slow and that he wanted the XP version back," he told me. "So I had to copy the files over from a XP machine over to his Vista machine so he could continue to play the XP version. I had to do the same thing all over again when his hard drive crashed not too long ago. Before I switched the FreeCells I watched grandpa play the Vista version. He wasn't joking. His mind is too fast for Windows Vista."
Norb's retirement routine is less rigid than his work routine. He has time for breakfast and he loves to square dance with my grandmother, occasionally a couple times a day. He still watches the Cleveland Indians thanks to satellite television, which also provides no shortage of cop procedural re-runs. But what Norb does every day, like clockwork, is practice FreeCell. And it pays off; he's only getting better. He'll beat that 20 win record in no time.
After talking with my grandfather for this piece, I asked him if he thought it was excessive for someone his age or any age to play videogames for a couple hours a day.
"Because I do it, I would not," he said. "But the other thing is if you have the time, what you do with your time is nobody else's business. And if you have the time, why not do something you enjoy? To me, maybe I'm nuts, I don't know, but isn't that what computer games are all about? They're about something you guys enjoy ... I couldn't go back to work now, because I don't know anything about the company anymore. So what fun is going back and learning all over again after all these years? People say why don't you read more. I don't like to read. I don't. So much of what I did I had to read. Well it's a lot more fun to just play."
Chris Plante is a New York-based pop culture writer who has written for publications including The Daily, Esquire, Popular Mechanics and IFC. Read more of his work at ctplante.com.