Soapbox: These Everyday Items Trigger Me Now, And I Blame Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom

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Tears of the Kingdom Statue PAX East
Image: Austin Voigt / Nintendo Life

Soapbox features enable our individual writers and contributors to voice their opinions on hot topics and random stuff they’ve been chewing over. Today, Evan explores the life-ruining properties of TOTK…


It happened in Yellowstone National Park. Removed from society, cruelly separated from cell phone service, I’d embarked, begrudgingly, upon a technology cleanse. I was receiving no texts, no emails, no DMs, no WhatsApps; I had only the park’s sullen, rag-faced buffalo and hypnotic, deadly thermal pools to keep me company. Ultimately, the lack of contact was transformative, healing; it allowed me to be present and to engage all of my senses. Then, one day, during a particularly meditative hike, I noticed an innocuous pile of lumber along a trail.

Immediately, I thought: Where’s that man with his damn sign?

Lumber
Wouldn’t you? — Image: Evan Lambert / Nintendo Life

I cannot live peacefully on this Earth anymore. Not without thinking about Tears of the Kingdom, at least. For example, on that same day, in Yellowstone, I also saw a sole blue fan discarded behind a hotel. I immediately looked around for the accompanying glider before remembering that I was an adult man on his way to buy sunscreen.

I know I’m not the only one with this sickness. I know that this is a mutated form of a sickness that swept the planet after Breath of the Wild came out. During that particular pandemic, BOTW players began imagining that every random tower or pile of rocks had Koroks hidden on top of them. Some of these players would even walk backwards, dead-eyed, to inspect these rocks, before accidentally smacking into telephone poles. I’m just talking about me now.

Addison Zelda TOTK
There he is — Image: Nintendo Life

However, this new mutation of the BOTW disease is far more insidious. This has affected my work, my relationships, my savings account, and even my ability to become rich and famous. I used to have a much higher chance of becoming rich and famous until I began playing Tears of the Kingdom. In fact, I would actually be rich and famous now if it weren’t for Tears of the Kingdom. At the end of the day, Tears of the Kingdom is the only reason why I am not rich and famous.

Here are some other things that I can no longer do thanks to Tears of the Kingdom.

Drive to the grocery store

Boulder
A typical Zonai boulder — Image: Evan Lambert / Nintendo Life

The people I care about require food and water to survive. Sometimes it is my responsibility to provide those things for them. But now I will no longer fulfill this responsibility and I’ll tell you why.

The other day, while driving to the store, I noticed a tall, muscular man with long, shaggy hair. He was standing next to some ancient-looking graffiti. Perplexed, he crossed his arms and stared silently at the mysterious markings on the wall. He wasn’t wearing pants. Why isn’t Tauro wearing pants? I wondered.

Tauro was standing near a large, shiny, misshapen boulder. I twitched my fingers helplessly, attempting to do a Rewind on it to ride it up to a sky island.

Then reality struck. The boulder was just a boulder, and Tauro was just a homeless man with a six-pack. What is wrong with me?

Take the dog for a walk

When I visit my parents in Virginia, I like to walk our family dog, Geneva. Geneva is a massive 140-pound Saint Pyrenees who forgets that she is attached to a leash whenever she sees a rabbit. This results in her snapping my arm like a whip in whatever direction the rabbit just ran.

Geneva
This is Geneva — Image: Evan Lambert / Nintendo Life

What is the attack power of a dog-stick?

Most recently, when Geneva did this, I thought, How many rupees will fall out if I shoot this rabbit with an arrow? It’s fine because the rabbit is magic. It will survive. Then Geneva separated my arm from my body.

Then, upon returning home, I picked up a stick to throw for Geneva. But first, I thought, Can I fuse Geneva with this stick? What is the attack power of a dog-stick? But when I tapped the stick against her back, waiting for her to fuse with it, nothing happened. I stared at myself in the mirror that night.

Go to the beach

The other day, near the beach, I noticed some new sky islands. Then I realized these were just thunderclouds and that it was not actually a good idea to be at the beach. However, it was too late. I kept walking. Passing under a narrow overhang, I instinctively raised my head and looked for the green dot that lets you Ascend.

But there was no green dot. There was an AC unit, however, that began to drip condensation into my eyes.

Overhang
Ascend? I have pink eye now — Image: Evan Lambert / Nintendo Life

The triggers were coming rapid-fire now; my symptoms were getting worse. I saw a car repair shop with rows of wheels along its walls; I wondered if I could fuse these with the ‘No Vacancies’ sign that I’d seen at Motel 6. That was enough to Autobuild a car! Then I spotted a backpack on the street and wanted to drive the poor Korok inside it to the chimney of smoke that I’d seen rising from a distant dumpster fire.

Finally, at the beach, I peered into the murky, brown waters of the ocean and thought, Didn’t I already beat the Water Temple?

Things were really bad now. I needed some kind of solution.

The solution

If you have the same problem as me, then I don’t know what to tell you other than: Exposure therapy might be the best course of action here.

You see, after all of those false starts, reality checks, and fake Tauros, I came to the realization that I would never truly shake my affliction. After all, if this disease could find me in the middle of Yellowstone, then it could find me anywhere. It was like the monster from It Follows. Plus, if I truly continued to see Fuse and Ultrahand possibilities in the real world, then I could always tap Geneva with another stick to remind myself that sticks and dogs don’t fuse together to form dog-sticks. Sometimes a reality check is medicine enough.

Backpack
I’ll mark it on my map for later. — Image: Evan Lambert / Nintendo Life

Or I could just go skydiving! According to TOTK, you can dive safely from thousands of feet in the air. You only have to remember to pull out a loincloth just before you hit the ground.

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