One Crazy Cock Fight

If you stuck an XBox 360 video game console and a Bosch 10 inch
compound mitre saw into a cock fighting ring and let ’em go at it, who
do you think would win?

I started pondering this question recently and it’s become something of an obsession.

A geek might want to know what game’s in the console. Is it an XBox
360? With Perfect Dark Zero? Damn, the console’s gonna shred that sissy
saw.

Contractors might have a different slant. Is it a 15 amp saw? No contest, that little box’ll be packaging material instantly.

Both machines have lasers. The mitre saw has that funky little red one. Like those dramatic pinpoint aiming devices in spy movies, it helps line up a perfect cut.

XBox 360’s Joanna Dark sometimes carts around a plasma rifle, but they can be hard to find. She’s usually packing a basic handgun.

The Bosch would take round one.

Both are attractive in design. Surprisingly for a power tool, the mitre saw is crafted of an elegant blend of ultramarine and light grey plastics. Essential features and controls are dramatically highlighted in red. It’s a very striking piece of industrial design.

But it’s hard to beat Joanna Dark’s shiny black, skin-tight leather pant suit, blonde streaked hair, and grapefruit-pink lip gloss. On the other hand, the new XBox logo looks like a rotten grape erupting radioactive snot.

Aesthetics are a draw.

In open combat the XBox would clearly pummel the mitre saw.

Despite the razor-sharp carbide-tipped 10″ blade and high powered motor, the saw’s safety features defeat its danger. The Xbox would literally have to toss itself into the blade’s path like some suicidal shoe box. And, heck, the mitre saw’s laser guide is a give away as to just where that blade’s headed.

Naw, the casual lob of a frag grenade would decimate the safety-constrained saw. The XBox seizes this victory easily.

Interesting. These seemingly disparate devices have fought to a draw.

And now it may be wise for me to substantiate this rather odd flight of fantasy.

I’ve recently been fortunate enough to acquire both of these devices. They’re sitting in the next room beside one another now. They make a cute couple, actually.

The XBox 360 I purchased easily for no real reason other than mindless recreation. And with a two year old tramping about the house, there really isn’t much of that.

The mitre saw, on the other hand, I struggled with. I didn’t want to spend the money on it, but we’re in the throes of major home renovation and I actually needed it for cutting flooring and moulding. The alternative was to manage a million little cuts with a handheld circular saw which is not only sloppy but can be perilously dangerous.

Just before I laid my Visa down on the counter at Home Hardware I realized this: the XBox 360 and the mitre saw have almost identical price tags.

This distressed me. How easily I toss away my hard earned cash on a plaything, yet sweat it out over a tool that’s really going to earn me some sweat equity.

So, you see, rather than try to figure out what crack in my psyche has me valuing a sordid toy over a valuable tool, I decided to let the two devices duke it out in my mind.

(Yes, concerned parents of the world, this concept is a contrite product of my subconscious, brought on by too many XBox sessions with violent games. I did consider that the devices might just settle in for a game of Parcheesi but that didn’t have the dramatic impact I was looking for. So we’re left with a battle.)

So let’s get back to it, shall we?

An ease-of-use match will probably identify a winner.

The XBox comes with a mediocre wireless handheld controller that avid gamers complain has a lag time that costs precious microseconds of on-screen reaction. Not to mention that the new matte beige finish just finger-stains too easily for my blueberry-muffin-eating taste.

The mitre saw has a smooth back-and-forth rail motion and a huge, comfortable pivoting handle that makes for some really nice cuts. And there’s no beating the up-front compound controls for easily locking in just the angle you want on those cuts.

The saw narrowly steals this match and with that, seizes the day.

Hm. Perhaps handing the mitre saw a conceptual victory over the XBox is just a token consolation for having undervalued it in the first place. Like I’m trying to prop up its ego.

Or maybe I’m lamely attempting to camouflage my overt affection for the console, lest one day I’m interrupted from a gaming session by the red eye of a laser coming down on my head.

Wait! Really, Bosch baby, it’s always been you…!

First published in the Yukon News on Friday, December 2, 2005

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