How Mario Kart Saves Lives

Mario Kart in West End, Roatan

Dust clouds tumble out from the bumbling vehicle ahead of me, blinding me in an asphyxiating spray of diesel and dirt. The road narrows ahead and cuts hard to the left. The driver to my rear is so far up my tailpipe that he would be getting a great draft were it not for the fact that I’m driving a tiny yellow moped. Splattered banana peels line the side of the curve. I slide into the turn, doing my best to keep the bike upright on the oily pavement. The car ahead swerves unexpectedly to the left, and I am free from the toxic fumes. My visions clears… just in time to swear away from the cows standing in the middle of the road.

No, I’m not playing Mario Kart. It’s just another day of real-life driving in the video game known as Living on Roatan.

Politicians love to preach about how video games are ruining the lives of kids. It makes them fat; it makes them lazy; it primes them to expect instant gratification; it glorifies violence; it feeds on adrenaline; it has no real-life application; it turns them into bloody-thirsty, Red Bull-addicted, zit-covered mounds of wasted human potential.

I dare any of the politicians to hop on my moped and take it for a spin down the Honduran roads.

Twitch reflexes? Yeah, I’ve got them. Eagle-eye vision at high speeds? That too. Ready for the weird and unexpected? Of course. Thanks, Mario Kart, you’ve saved my life countless times.

Replace the cutesy-colored cast of Mario Bros with maniacal Hondurans, the red shells with plastic bottles, the exploding item boxes with real boxes tumbling off a truck, and cows in the road with, well, cows in the road, and there’s not much difference. You may get tailgated by a third-grader when playing Mario Kart online; here, it’s a person with a third-grade education.

The other day I witnessed two Japanese tourist try to take a rental moped for a ride. It was like trying to watch your great-grandmother fuddle with a video game, except this video game is called Living on Roatan and you only get one life. I don’t know if they won.

Moral of the story? If you’re going to rent a moped on your trip to Roatan, please, for the sake of the whole community,

  1. Wear a helmet
  2. Drive extremely defensively
  3. Play lots of Mario Kart in preperation
  4. Most importantly, don’t die

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