Rookie of the Year

Snake Vs. Writer’s Block

This column is a reprint from Unwinnable Monthly #105. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.

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A tongue-in-cheek but also painfully earnest look at pop culture and anything else that deserves to be ridiculed while at the same time regarded with the utmost respect. It is written by Matt Marrone and emailed to Stu Horvath, who adds any typos or factual errors that might appear within.

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If you’re reading this, thank you. Also: It’s a small miracle.

As I write this now, here in the past, it’s hard to imagine a future in which this column has been finished, edited and placed on a page.

My ability to complete tasks has been compromised. I have lost the desire do almost anything at all – except play Snake vs. Block.

Some people have real addictions. Some succumb to them. I’m terrified of developing a real addiction because I can’t shake Snake. I can’t block Block. It took me 17 minutes to write that paragraph because I just stopped to play eight more rounds.

I’m a hamburger. A long, winding hamburger that gets longer as I pick up buns and add layers. I’m a hamburger that gets shorter as I crash into numbered squares or get attacked by smiley faces, or fists, or ice cream cones, or pelotons, or actual snakes if I’m playing Versus mode. I’m a hamburger by choice. I could’ve been any number of other unlockable avatars, but hamburgers are the best and I rule at this game and I’m addicted so just take my word for it.

Back in a minute.

It’s been a half hour. Two of my coworkers and I play during lunch and over the weekends. We reconvene on Mondays to compare scores and our progress on the challenges. There are 50 of them. My Solo-mode high score is at least triple Kevin’s and Corey’s, but Kevin prefers the challenges and Corey prefers Versus. It doesn’t matter. I’ve beaten more challenges than both and, last I checked, I had the highest Versus score, too. I imagine them pulling out their phones only periodically, sneaking in a quick game, smiling and then heading off somewhere, anywhere, to do something, anything else. Like healthy people.

That might actually be true for Corey, but Kevin just told me he started a furious Snake vs. Block marathon after his wife went to bed the other night. He’s trying to break three blocks of 45 or more and he’s convinced he’ll never do it. I did it. It’s challenge No. 41 and I knocked that off several challenges ago. Right now, I simply cannot score 500 #^*+%#*&$@ points with Crazy Blocks.

We chuckle, but the pain is real.

Wait a minute, I need to pick something up from the grocery store. Apparently, I still need to eat.

OK. Done. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs purchased at Key Food. Two quick Snake vs. Block games played in line. Thank goodness my wife’s cooking the chicken. Otherwise, my child might starve.

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Matt Marrone is a senior MLB editor at ESPN.com. He has been Unwinnable’s reigning Rookie of the Year since 2011. You can follow him on Twitter @thebigm.

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