I am feeling very melancholy as tomorrow is my 40th birthday. I can feel it looming like a giant albatross of death and decay, harbingering a withering decline into that good night. It also has me reflecting a bit on my life thus far, the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all. Fantasy and rpg’s have been such a big part of my life and the basis for some of the fondest memories of my youth. I have also been pondering what the future holds and what memories are to come. My heart already bursts when my 3 year-old asks me if he can play Dungeons and Dragons or forces me to engage in life or death swordplay as the evil “Green Knight. The thought of sharing my passion for fantasy and gaming with my son overwhelms me with such raw emotion that tears of joy well up in my eyes and inoculates me against the inevitable day when he just thinks I am lame. Unless of course my son turns out to be some kind of fantasy realist and telling me that my play style ruins his verisimilitude well then he can go fuck himself In all seriousness though, I only hope that both my sons find something that sparks their imagination the way fantasy and rpg’s has for me.
My mother dropped off a bunch of clutter she uncovered while clearing out some boxes in her basement the other day. Sand wedged in between crap where these hidden gems from my youth and fit with the sickening degree of nostalgia I am feeling today. I remember when I got the World of Greyhawk campaign setting for Christmas. I was always excited to get D&D things given the visibility and accessibility of gaming stuff just wasn’t what it is today. It meant my parents had to work hard to get me something they didn’t understand but knew would make me exuberant. I was just so taken by the detail, history, and lore contained in the pages that it almost made it seem real, like I was reading something for a geography or history class at school. I would stare endlessly at he coat of arms on the inside cover, imaging which my mighty paladin would paint his shield with and hoist into battle. This product even came with a two piece full color hex map of the setting, which I thought was the coolest thing ever and would act as a gaming table cloth for years to come, even if the game had nothing to do with Grewhawk.
The other hidden gems were these Endless Quest Dungeons and Dragons story books. I can’t begin to tell you how voracious my appetite for all things D&D was, it approached an Aspergers like quality of fixation, so it is no surprise these things found their way into my home. I look back and laugh at how tense and “involved” I got when reading and re-reading these books. I would read them like I was playing chess. I would keep my finger on a page when asked to make a plot choice and then briefly skim the outcome on whatever distant page. If it even hinted at ending in death I quickly retreated back to the choice page standing firmly behind my conviction that it was allowable because I hadn’t taken my finger off the choice page and therefore the choice/move was not complete. Man did I ever win the hell out of those books.
Well enough sulking for today, I am off to Vegas to celebrate my ever encroaching march to death.