How to build a PC is a three-part series chronicling editor-at-large Chris Plante's misguided attempt to build a PC. Two weeks ago, he learned about the people you meet when building your own PC. Last week, he struggled to make room and time for his needy new machine. This week, he finishes the series by looking at how the machine changed the man.

Have you ever lived with a friend? It's an unusual dynamic. You take on some of their habits; they take on some of yours. The two of you motivate each other to do things you might not otherwise do, like go to bars at midnight or spend extra cash on a sports cable package. You see, hear, and smell one another, constantly.

My first roommate and I, we got so comfortable that I think we subconsciously tried to one up each other's slothishness. I turned my Chinese takeout refuse into an art installation. He left a doctor-commissioned stool sample next to the milk in the fridge for a week. We were gross.

I haven't been that disgusting in years. I don't want to give marriage credit, because trust me, the institution begets its own gnarly, lazy rituals. It's just that, in my late-20s, I figured I'd grown up. And then this PC thing happened.

Maybe this isn't a universal experience — honestly, I hope it isn't — but my new PC has had the same joyfully toxic effect on me as that first roommate. The peer pressure, the frivolous spending, the unexpected social activities, and a degree of slobbery that is so shameful, it actually loops the loop, into unadulterated pride. "Yeah, my beard's unkempt and smells of cream cheese. Deal with it."

This is the story of a PC gaming stereotype-made flesh.