A few weeks ago, I was quite happy to actually have a date lined up for Saturday evening. Without going into the sordid details, let me just say that I usually average around one date every six months or so and anything that gets me out of the house on a Saturday night is generally a good thing.
Of course, I’m also extremely absentminded. After making this date, I then remembered that that Saturday was also the local Extended PTQ.“Well”, I thought to myself,“the only way this will be a problem is if I somehow, by some unbelievable stretch of the imagination, manage to make the top eight.”
You’re smart people. You can figure out what happened, can’t you?
I was fortunate. My date for the evening was familiar with Magic, and I had previously explained that I might have to delay that evening’s get-together if I managed to do very well, which I ended up doing.
“So,” my date asked,“what exactly is Magic?”
And that is where things get difficult. Explaining Magic to non-believers and still managing to sound both a) credible and b) like you don’t still live in your parents’ basement rolling d10s all day is a bit of a stretch. Too often I come across as Tom Hanks’ character in that god-awful“D&D is bad for you” movie, I think called Mazes & Monsters. This was way before Tom actually got good or anything, and if you haven’t seen it, I recommend doing so to see how badly Hollywood tends to mangle this type of material. It pops up on Joe Bob Briggs’ Monstervision on occasion. Watch, laugh, enjoy Tom’s horribly wooden dialogue. But I digress.
I have found explaining Magic to“nonbelievers” to be one of the more difficult things to do.
Actual conversation, occurring when I had a lovely young woman over at my swinging bachelor pad (okay, just“bachelor pad,” very little swinging ever went on there). To protect the innocent, all names have been changed.
Me:“Grab a seat, dinner will be read in a few (yes, Dave can cook when the situation calls for it).”
Camille (observing Magic cards I had foolishly left out in plain view):“What are these things?”
Me:“Those? Part of my Magic card collection.”
Camille (growing dubious):“Magic cards?”
Me (sensing growing unease):“Well, they’re like baseball cards, and you can collect them, but play with them as well. It’s like a cross between poker and chess set against a fantasy milieu.”
I had thought my explanation to be fairly adequate (even throwing in a big ten dollar word like milieu), but when I was grilled for more details, and I attempted to explain the five different colors and their strengths and weaknesses, her smile slowly faded to indifference. Even describing some of my great tournament plays failed. I knew that I had failed in my task to introduce my would-be girlfriend to my wonderful world of Magic, and I would be getting no nookie on this night.
Now I don’t feel like I’m one of those people William Shatner is ranting at during his classic“Get a Life” Saturday Night Live sketch. I will confess that for over five years, not one day has gone by without me thinking of some tweak I can make to a deck I was working on,
But rather than taking the viewpoint that Magic is curtailing my social interaction, I think it has actually improved it. Off the top of my head, I can name over twenty people I consider friends that I’ve met playing Magic. I’ve traveled to places I never would have before to play in tournaments.
In fact, it was my involvement in the local Magic scene in central Oregon some five years ago that led to me to become a partner and part-owner of a game store in Bend – Gambit Games (please pardon the blatant plug). From playing a silly little card game, I’ve become a small businessman.
I know of a great many people who are over 25, lead“normal” lives and play Magic as often as they can. Some have significant others, some have kids of their own. In fact, I know of several father-son teams who play together quite frequently.
Yes, Magic takes up a lot of free time. I don’t think a day has gone by in five years that I haven’t thought about some deck I was working on. And yet, look at all the social interaction I get out of it. Okay, so instead of discussing the great German philosophers or the chances of the Portland Trail Blazers this year, we have hour-long arguments over which is better, Shock or Seal of Fire. That’s really no different than arguing over sports or politics or relationships.
Thus endeth the rant for the day.
Now, all I need to do is find that leggy redhead who’s partial to beatdown decks, and I’m set.