May 02, 2003

Worst. Blog Post. Ever. I

Worst. Blog Post. Ever.

I used to play Dungeons & Dragons. Upon learning this, many people who are in awe of my stature as a smoking hot specimen of male hunkiness will shake their heads in disbelief. But, it's true. I used to be a D&D geek.

It gets worse. My friends and I were such D&D geeks, we actually built a D&D playing room in my friend's basement. I should note here that the time frame I'm referring to was between my 9th grade and 11th grade years. I mean, it's not as if I gave up D&D just last week or anything.

Our D&D playing room came complete with huge posters of wizards and dragons and skeletons, as well as drawings of knights and weapons I artistically scribbled on the walls. We had a vast collection of player manuals, monster manuals, maps, dice, and binder after binder of D&D characters. We played D&D after school and during the weekends. We were a sorry bunch, even though it was kind of fun in a weird sort of way we could never put our fingers on.

Well, I haven't played D&D in over a decade, but on Wednesday night, after driving up to the cities to spend the evening with Melissa, I was reminded of my geeky heritage and I was confronted with the harsh reality of what my life could have been.

Melissa and I went for a long walk that night, strolling by stores on our way to Ciatti's restaurant. Adjacent to Ciatti's was a game store, and we decided to explore the shop before strapping on the feed bag. This place had every role-playing game you can imagine, from standard D&D, to Star Wars, to Star Trek, to Lord of the Rings. And there were comic books, and their were miniature models of Tolkien's Middle Earth. I mean, this place, by its very smell, stirred my inner geek. It was right out of the Simpsons. Even the guy behind the counter resembled the Comic Book Guy, right down to the waddling walk.

But then, the clincher. Towards the back of the store, there were long tables set up, and each table was packed with gamers of all ages playing all sorts of games. It was like some sort of geek casino. It was downright hilarious just how stereotypically perfect the scene was. Overweight men with ponytails were taking on pencil thin, acne-ridden high schoolers, rolling dice and taking every move so seriously it appeared at times that the anxiety would cause 12 major heart attacks throughout the room.

I remember thinking, "This could have been me," like an old drug user who got off the heroin just as his life teetered on the edge, and who now stood in the living room of a crack house watching those less fortunate.

For the most part, gaming like that is pretty innocent, so long as you don't let it consume your existence. But, I get the feeling that more than just a couple of the people I saw on Wednesday night don't have much for lives beyond that game store. Inside, they're gods, supreme rulers of whatever fantasy realm they escape to daily. Outside, however, they sleep on a bed of pizza boxes in their dingy studio apartments, no doubt dreaming of the day their half-elf will finally find the amulet of supreme power that will allow them to be the most powerful entity on Oerth, or wherever.

UPDATE: It's a sad testimony to my short term memory when I can't even remember writing about this exact same thing in December. First, Tim insists that I posted this before, then Linda takes a quote about taped glasses that wasn't even part of this post. So, I sifted through the archives and found almost the exact same post on December 5. My apologies for the repetition. The big difference this time around was that Melissa and I went into the store and perused the offerings.

Posted by Ryan at May 2, 2003 11:19 AM
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