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A Flappy Love Affair

As the three or so people on this earth who read my articles faithfully may recall, I wrote a couple weeks ago about a rocky love affair I had at the start of this semester, with that flighty temptress, Syllabus Week.

Today, I come to you all to report on an even more salacious and brief affair that I embarked upon late last week. After weeks of hearing how great this was and watching social media explode with commentary, it seemed, on this and only this, I finally gave in to temptation.

Yes, friends; last Friday night, I downloaded Flappy Bird.

I admit, the transgression occurred in a moment of weakness. I was alone in a basement booth in LaFun, with nothing but my senior thesis and a personal cheese pizza from Taco Hut to call my own. I had hit a brick wall on my thesis, my computer was dying, and I was out of Candy Crush lives. I needed a break, and I knew that Flappy Bird was my only out.

I downloaded. And I played. My score quickly skyrocketed through the ranks. Zero. Zero. One. Zero again. Three. Five. Another zero for good measure. Five again. I had plateaued.

I returned to the thesis work, eventually reaching my page goal for the day, and I headed back to my dorm. Mouth burned to smithereens by my pizza but spirits lifted by my thesis progress, I returned to the game that had been in the back of my mind for hours now. My high score rose to the double digits. I was on top of the world!

But I was ashamed. Friends asked, “How are you still playing that game? I stopped after two tries!” The fact that you’re still playing, they seemed to say, shows that you are a crazy person and that you enjoy punishing yourself.

Before I knew it, it was 1:00 in the morning. I had done homework. I had sent some emails. But mostly, I had flapped those stupid little wings into those apparently radioactive pipes dozens, if not hundreds, of times. My friends implored me to go to bed.

I crawled into my loft and reached for my phone, intending merely to set my alarm for the next morning.

But my alarm-setting Dr. Jekyll was overtaken by my Flappy Bird-playing Mr. Hyde! I found the game open with no memory of clicking on the app! My bug-eyed birdy friend was soaring through pipe after pipe, the bronze medals racking up, and still I lay awake, tapping and tapping my screen until the poor bird could fly no more.

I awoke the next morning with a high score of 16, but a heavy heart. I grabbed brunch with a friend and pretended I had stopped. Yes, I said, let’s talk about…classes and stuff. I certainly am not involved in a morally unconscionable relationship with a cell phone game; why would you ever believe that I was? No, I’m not playing Flappy Bird under the table while you talk about your grad school application; what kind of Flappy Bird slave person do you think I am, huh?! GET OFF MY CASE!!!!

Upon my return from brunch, I knew that I had to end it with Flappy Bird. I pressed the middle of my page of apps until the soothing gray Xs appeared. My hands shook harder than the app icons as I approached the X in the corner of Flappy Bird.

“Delete Flappy Bird?” my iPhone asked, incredulously. It knew, as I did, the gravity of my actions. “Deleting Flappy Bird will delete all of its data!” I confirmed: delete.

Just seventeen hours after my affair with Flappy Bird had begun, it came to an end. I don’t miss you, Flappy Bird, and most of me still hates you just as much as I hated you for our entire time together.

When it’s late at night, though, and my Candy Crush lives are all gone, I’ll think fondly of you, Flappy Bird. And I will waste time in other ways, by finding another quiz on the internet to tell me that my personality is compatible with cheese and Alanis Morissette. And I will play those Alanis records that the internet tells me I will enjoy. And as I listen to “You Oughta Know,” Flappy Bird, I will think of you. 

Sarah is a senior at the University of Notre Dame pursuing majors in English and American Studies. After graduation, she hopes to somehow finagle her way into a career in journalism. She enjoys whistling and Stanley Tucci and hates all forms of bees.
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