(Cue bright lights; a dazzling flash of spiralling words flow past the screen, with the letters A, W, W, A, J, A, L, O, O, and M twirling down and into a bottomless well.)
Folks, I used to look like this.
But now, thanks to a miracle which I will shortly go into WAY too much detail about, I look like THIS!
And it’s all thanks to the Magic* of Team AWWAJALOOM!
(Words flash on the screen: STAY TUNED FOR FREE STUFF. The camera pans back to The Ferrett, fake sweat pouring off his brow as he puts down his folding chair and casually sits on it.)
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to achieve your dream of becoming a professional pro wrestler, like I did — matter of fact, the magic of Team AWWAJALOOM is that most of you will never achieve your dreams at all!
Take me, for example!
Since I joined Team AWWAJALOOM five months ago, I still have NOT:
But does this matter?**
(The audience shouts: "NO!")
That’s right, because with The NEW and IMPROVED Team AWWAJALOOM, you don’t need to accomplish anything! We’ll help you do absolutely nothing… and feel good about it!
(Audience: "Tell us more!")
I promise that I, The Ferrett, will teach you how to receive humiliating thrashings from far more talented players with far superior decks… and feel good about it!
But first, I have to tell how The Team started.
(Audience: "For God’s sake!")
Well, it all started several months ago, when I first started losing at Magic. "Hey," said I, "I’m the editor of a Major Magic Webite? Shouldn’t I not suck?"
(Screen flashes again: "FREE STUFF FOR TEAM MEMBERS STILL COMING UP. STAY WITH US, HERE.")
But alas, it turned out that I had a wife and children, who never feel at ALL like a dank ball and chain clamped tight around my leg as they drag me down, down, DOWN into the airless depths of a stinking, weed-filled ocean. I couldn’t practice! Who had the time?
And that’s when I realized the critical flaw in my existence: I actually thought things were my own fault. And on a dark, wintry Alaskan night, I had a revelation:
"By God," said I, "I could be better than any pro… if it weren’t for the fact that I had a wife! And kids! And responsibilities! And interests outside of Magic! I COULD BEAT JON FINKEL! IN MY OWN WAY, I’M BETTER THAN *ALL* THE PROS!"
And right then, right there, that’s when I formed Team AWWAJALOOM: Team Adults With Women And Jobs And Lives Outside Of Magic.
You can read about the full article here, if you’d like. You probably should. It’s a lot funnier than anything you’ll find here. But the principle of Team AWWAJALOOM is simple: By God, we could all be top-ranking pros if it weren’t for these other responsibilities. We sure could. Shucky-darn.
And in addition, Team AWWAJALOOM members had the following other benefits:
- Protection in multiplayer, as no Team member will attack any other Team member until they’re the last two standing;
- A super spy decoder ring, which looks suspiciously like a watch or a wedding band.
I was excited. I published the article, and some folks emailed to join, but you know what? It went nowhere. And that’s when I realized the second principle of Team AWWAJALOOM:
All people are a greedy bunch of buzzards who won’t do a damn thing unless you give them free stuff.
(The screen flashes: "FREE STUFF FOR THE UNWASHED MASSES!")
But what? What could I give them? Ah, that’s right… they’re Magic collectors! FREE CARDS FOR EVERYBODY!
I then found a helpful underground publisher and printed up several thousand Team AWWAJALOOM Magic cards for the occasion:
Team AWWAJALOOM Triumph
If you control a woman, a job, and a life outside of Magic, you win the game.
Now, I thought this was a fair and playable card — I mean hell, it was less broken than Force of Will. But Mark Rosewater heard that I was printing my own Magic cards and stopped by for a brief chat… If by "brief chat" you mean "Giving someone a severe beating with a rubber hose while they’re tied to a chair with a Delco battery sparking across both nipples." He then set my house on fire, using the ten thousand "Team AWWAJALOOM Triumph" cards for kindling, and skipped off into the night, shouting, "Only *I* design Magic cards! ME! NO ONE ELSE POSSESSES THE POWER OF ROSEWATER! MWOO HAH HAH!"***
You don’t mess with R&D, I guess.
Okay, so we couldn’t print up our own Magic cards. (Well, *I* couldn’t — not after the way R&D had broken my fingers.) But what we could do was print up LOSS CARDS for when Team members lost at tournaments — so that when we got crushed, we could let that snot-nosed teenager know that by God, they might have beaten us… But WE KNEW WHY!
Remember: Excuses don’t sound as lame if they’re in print! Ask President Clinton!
And with that idea in mind, I printed up the following two LOSS CARDS for you and you alone, my friends!
That’s right — if you join Team AWWAJALOOM, you get this set of beautiful LOSS CARDS to give away when someone beats the living tar out of you at a tournament! Ten cards in each design for every occasion! All for free if you but join up with Magic’s hottest and fastest-growing team!
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
If you join up right now, we will give you exclusive access to the Team AWWAJALOOM website, packed chock-full of information about the team, useless trivia, and cheap fart gags!
You will gain the support and respect of hundreds of other scrubs just like you, all of whom will do their best to convince you that you really ARE a pro in waiting!
You’ll gain an imposing .sig to put at the end of emails!
You gain the ability to drink openly at tournaments! In fact, this is a strategy that might actually win you a game or two! Bring a keg or two of good solid ale to tournaments, and pour yourself big, heaping glasses of cold, foaming beer. Drink it with gusto, smacking your lips after every healthy quaff. Look at that sullen teenager in the baseball cap across from you; say, "Well, you know, I’d OFFER you a slug of this liquid gold… BUT YOU’RE TOO YOUNG!" Then surreptitously leave the cup over on his side — and when he drinks it, call the cops you had waiting outside and bust the entire tournament for allowing underage drinking. Wait ’til you’re 0-2 to do it, though.
(Incidentally, I’m not sure what the official guidelines are for drinking at tournaments, but I wouldn’t worry about them. You know what works really well with judges? Copious bribes.****)
I know; you’re whipped into a veritable frenzy of anticipation, so I’ll just tell you how to join.
First of all, you must meet the following qualifications, as outlined in the first Team AWWAJALOOM article ever:
- You must be an adult. "Adult" is defined as "old enough to legally drink in your state", although we will accept "they don’t card me anymore when I walk into the bar". If you live in England, where they sell baby formulas that contain Guinness, you must be old enough to grow a beard that doesn’t embarrass you. Foreign women must also grow a beard – which we admit will be difficult*, but did you think just ANYONE could get on our team? Please.
- You must have a woman. If you are a woman, you are considered to own yourself.
- You must have a job. This job may not involve wearing a name tag, unless you’re the manager, in which case you don’t really have to wear the name tag anyway.
- You must have a life outside of Magic. If you live with your parents, you have no life. If you spend more than three nights a week playing Magic, you have no life. If you spent last Friday travelling an hour outside of town to go to the only theater that was showing "Crouching Tiger," you have no life, but at least you had plenty of company.
- You must not be on any other team. Hey, you’re too cool for us already.
- You must be a scrub… but a proud one. If you have ever finished first in any sort of Professional Magic tournament, you are automatically disqualified.
Not only must you meet these stringent requirements, but you must also agree to abide by the following rules:
- GIVE THE OFFICIAL "TEAM AWWAJALOOM" CARD TO YOUR OPPONENT WHENEVER YOU LOSE. The idea is to spread our excuses across the continent. No need to explain. The card just lets him know that you were prepared for him and his winning ilk.
- YOU MUST ADD "TEAM AWWAJALOOM" AND THE OFFICIAL TEAM AWWAJALOOM WEB PAGE ADDRESS TO THE BOTTOM OF ALL EMAIL .SIG FILES AND MAGIC ARTICLES YOU WRITE. Hey, we have to look imposing.
- IF YOU EVER COME IN FIRST IN A DCI-SANCTIONED TOURNAMENT (Prereleases don’t count), YOU MUST IMMEDIATELY EMAIL US AND TELL US EXACTLY HOW, WHERE, AND UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES YOU RUINED YOUR REPUTATION. We must know which of our brethren have fallen from the True Faith.
- YOU MUST AGREE THAT ALL OTHER TEAM AWWAJALOOM MEMBERS ARE FINE, TALENTED PLAYERS WHO SIMPLY LACK THE TIME TO GET GOOD. It doesn’t matter if your fellow team member is playing with a three-hundred card deck with twenty lands in it; by god, he COULD be Jon Finkel with just a few weeks of serious practice.
- YOU MUST NOT ATTACK ONE ANOTHER IN MULTIPLAYER GAMES. Well, not until the very end, anyway. No fair killing all of their creatures, either. Remember, the team is all you have; don’t mess it up. If you’re wondering how to tell whether you’re playing a Team AWWAJALOOM member, read the article.
- YOU MAY NOT REGRESS IN AGE. You’re supposed to be an adult, dammit. That means no youth formulas, no secret fountains in Florida, and no spinning backwards around the earth really really fast. Facelifts are okay, if done by another member of Team AWWAJALOOM.
So how do you join?
Email me with your real name, your address, and your favorite episode of "Star Trek,"***** and in return I will give you your official Team AWWAJALOOM member number and send you free cards!
Folks, does it get any better than this?
I mean, for a bunch of guys trapped in relationships?
(Audience: "Why the hell not?")
So what do you have to lose, my friends? Sign up today! Sign up now! Now! Now! NOW!
* – Pun intended.
** – Well, except for the owner of all that blood, but then again he never comes round to complain about it.
*** – I am told that I have the chance to meet Mister Rosewater at PT: LA. Boy, I can’t wait to see what he says to me after this.
**** – Be sure and let me know how this works out for you.
***** – This is a trick! If you have a favorite episode of Star Trek, not only do you ignore my footnotes at your own risk… But it is evidence that you may have NO LIFE! Be warned!