“It’s fine, ev­ery­thing’s fine.”

Hyper - - CONTENTS - by James O’Con­nor

Iwas bunkered down in a fea­ture­less build­ing with the other mem­bers of [bog] squad, my medi­cis­sue MG36 light ma­chine gun piv­ot­ing from en­try point to en­try point. There was a lot of time left on the clock, and the en­emy forces had pushed us back to the fi­nal point aw­fully quickly. Their tanks ad­vanced on us, and the build­ing we were in was al­ready be­ing torn apart. As long as I lived, I could keep re­viv­ing any­one downed; as long as some­one on the squad sur­vived, I could warp back quickly af­ter death. But the writ­ing was splat­tered on the wall in hu­man brains, and we all knew it.

I’d been play­ing Bad Com­pany 2 with [bog] squad for a while at this point, and I de­cided, as my team­mates started to ad­mit that de­feat was com­ing, that it was best to main­tain a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude. ‘No, it’s fine’, I said, when­ever some­one be­moaned our sit­u­a­tion. ‘Ev­ery­thing’s fine.’

I don’t re­mem­ber, hon­estly, just how much sar­casm was in­tended in these re­marks. What I do know, though, is that af­ter a while I started to be­lieve it. “No, it’s fine. Ev­ery­thing’s fine. We’ll keep killing them when they come, I’ll keep re­viv­ing you, the build­ing won’t go down. It’s fine, guys. We got this. Don’t worry.”

Even­tu­ally the build­ing went down, and we lost the match with a solid four or five min­utes left on the clock. We con­tin­ued to play the game for months, get­ting to­gether at least twice a week. We were a strong team, and my stats were bet­ter than they’ve ever been in any other on­line shooter.

That prac­ticed as­sur­ance re­ally stuck with me. What I loved about Bad Com­pany 2 was that, if you were good enough at it, you could go and get shit done even if the rest of your team­mates weren’t pulling their weight. There’s a very no­tice­able shift in how a team is play­ing af­ter one mem­ber runs ahead and cap­tures B by them­selves. All you have to do is look at that tick­ing clock as your team­mates ex­plode around you and think ‘it’s fine, ev­ery­thing’s fine. I’ll just deal with it.’

It's been a long time since I’ve played Bad Com­pany 2, and I never re­ally got into fu­ture Bat­tle­field games in the same way, as much fun as Bat­tle­field 1 is, but ‘it’s fine, ev­ery­thing’s fine’ be­came a mantra that I adopted into my everyday life. I’ve got another friend who started us­ing it too, although over the last six years it has soft­ened, for him, into ‘it’s prob­a­bly fine’.

At some point, a car­toon dog in a burn­ing house made ‘this is fine’ a meme, and I re­alised that other peo­ple do the same thing. The older I get the more I won­der whether it’s a good at­ti­tude to have, and whether it was a co­in­ci­dence that it came to me a dig­i­tal bat­tle­field. Haven’t wars, tra­di­tion­ally, been fought by young peo­ple who signed up un­der the as­sump­tion that ev­ery­thing would be okay? Isn’t this an at­ti­tude that leads to deaths? Could it be that, in that mo­ment, hun­kered down in that house, I ex­pe­ri­enced the brand of ap­a­thy that might have doomed us all by the time we re­alise that we badly needed to care more about the things that were hap­pen­ing in the world?

I mean, it’s fine, though. Ev­ery­thing’s prob­a­bly fine.

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