We’re All Sansan
by Shaun Terry
I, a 30-something man, was playing a children’s game, pretending to be a woman. I found myself yelling at my computer, “EAT YOURSELF, THUG!”
Then, a girl (I assumed) named Sansanpapy or Sansandady — I couldn’t tell from the font — said that she was sad. She didn’t want to talk about it at first, so I offered her my work email, mostly just because I wanted her to be able to talk and I didn’t want to reveal to the other gamers that I wasn’t really a woman. She said that animals should live longer lives. She said that she’d been depressed for a while, that it was still causing her to cry a lot, even though it’d happened back in September. I told her that I wished that Earth would just keep getting bigger to accommodate all the new animals and she agreed.
I told her it’s good to be sensitive. She asked if there’s such a thing as being too sensitive and I told her that there’s not. Fuck no! If you find yourself in the midst of a thriving career and you feel like crying in front of your millionaire boss’s face, you should be able to cry in front of your millionaire boss’s face!
She explained that she had woken up one morning to her father and sister crying in the kitchen and to her dog, Millie, lying motionless on the living room floor. She said that her dad had explained to her that Millie wasn’t going to get better, and how she’d skipped breakfast, instead going up to her room to get her guinea pig. The guinea pig had purred that Monday morning. She doesn’t like Mondays anymore, she says.
So I told her about how when I was a kid, my dog once had puppies, and one time, one of the puppies started to run from the garage as my sister had pressed the button to cause the big wooden garage door to slowly descend from the ceiling. I’d yelled the whole way as I’d run. I was screaming and everything seemed to be going in slow motion. Why can’t she tell what I’m saying? WHY ISN’T SHE PRESSING THE DAMN BUTTON AGAIN?! I couldn’t get there fast enough. The tiny puppy had bounded from the middle of the garage to just under where the garage door was to have met the ground.
I’d run as fast as I could and the best I could manage was to wedge my foot between the door and the ground. It wasn’t enough. I screamed as tears slid down my salmon cheeks. My sister had only just figured out what I’d been saying as the door had collided with the pup. My dad was running toward me. He was big and powerful and he was very athletic. It wasn’t enough that day. The garage door lifted again to reveal the yelping, badly injured puppy. Dad pretended that he was taking the puppy somewhere important to be mended. It’s probably the sweetest lie my dad ever told.
So I explained to Sansan that I’d lost a puppy once and that it had made me cry. I explained to her that it’d been the worst day of my whole life and that it’s sad when animals die and that it’s okay to cry over it. I explained to her that it’s okay to be sensitive. We just learn how to deal with our feelings.
ThugLife chimed in, explaining that he’d lost his 7-year old great dane, Phoebe, to doggy cancer. ThugLife had told me earlier that he had no friends, so the loss of his dog must’ve been hard on him, I’d guess. He and Sansan were both eleven. Holy shit. Eleven.
ThugLife was pretty good at the stupid kids’ game, but Sansan thought that we shouldn’t team up because it was unfair to people who didn’t team up. I agreed with her and told her that I felt a little bad that we’d been unfair to others. “I usually don’t team.” Apparently, I was defending myself to an eleven-year old. I told Rooster that I was going to kill him in the game but that I thought he was a nice person. He laughed and later declared that dogs are like humans because they die.
Maybe it’s a little weird for a 30-something man to be pretending to be a 24-year old woman while playing a kids’ game on the computer. But I was glad that I got to tell a little girl that her feelings are okay, even if I later felt a little stupid for having offered her my email. She’d explained that her parents wouldn’t let her email me, anyway, but she offered that we should talk the next night when she played on the same server. So then I felt a little stupid for wanting to do so and then I felt a little stupid for feeling stupid for wanting to do so.