Mixed Knuts: My Love Affair With Rizzo

You forced me to think, and for that I am grateful. I didn’t want to do it, but you made me love you. Now you leave me in the cold and don’t even tell me why you’ve gone.

As I write this, it is storming like a banshee outside, which pretty much reflects my mood. Today I received an unspeakable compliment and a heartbreaking piece of news in the same article, and find myself roiling with unfocused emotion. The news was that everyone’s favorite sonuvabitch John Friggin’ Rizzo was leaving Magic for good and taking his writing with him. The bestial bl***ob* packed up his ball and went home without so much as a by-your-leave or even a wave goodbye. The compliment is that The Ferrett (a man whose comedic writing talents I can only dream of aspiring to) mentioned me as a unique voice in the Magic community. Let me deal with each in turn…

As to the compliment, the proper way to handle it is to bat your eyes, curtsy, and politely say "thank you" – so”Thank you,” Mr. Steinmetz, I hope to continue providing the occasional bit of amusement surrounded by some Magic tech and random bits of info about my life, provided you continue to do the same (presumably about your own life… although if you find interesting tidbits to share about my life, feel free to do so. You certainly made Sean McKeown and the life of your nipple more interesting than I thought possible). An unasked for compliment is such a strange, unnecessary thing – and yet some days it makes all the difference in the world.

Now, on to the more challenging topic; the departure of Mr. Rizzo. I’m taking this personally, and thus will direct this partially to Mr. Rizzo, for reasons that I will explain. Let’s start with how I feel… I feel pissed. I am angry that you left, I’m angry that you are taking yourself away from me (and the Magic Community at large,) and I’m particularly angry that the bald carpet licker* did so without even saying goodbye. I’m not just some ignorant fanboy that dug his rants and his crazy style; I was an active, participating reader and writer. Granted, I only ever wrote you one time, but I did start writing my stuff on the internet in small or large part due to you, Mr. Rizzo. I read your crap and I read your genius, and I talked about you to my friends. I seriously thought about the evils of IDing and NetDecks, though I was almost always too much of a scrub for either to matter. You forced me to think, and for that I am grateful.

I didn’t want to do it, but you made me love you.

Now you leave me in the cold and don’t even tell me why you’ve gone. Instead, you think it "will be cool" to ghost away. I started to worry about your lack of publication over the last three weeks, worrying that maybe you died and no one had mentioned it yet. Then I find out through an intermediary (think of like when your girlfriend’s best friend comes and tells you that your lady has left with another man,) that not only have you died, but you have done so by choice! You haven’t been forced to leave me; you chose to do so. In spite of the fact that you always had a good heart in your articles, that makes you a bald, callous squirrel humper.*

Now a lot of the above is said because I am hurting, but I can distance myself from the pain enough to say that the words would be true even without the emotion. When I started writing, there were five writers on the net that I decided I liked enough to consider stealing bits from: Seth Burn, Zvi Mowshowitz, Sean McKeown, The Ferrett, and John Friggin’ Rizzo. Now I’m original enough to write my own stuff in my own fashion, but having models for inspiration is useful when trying to develop your own style.

Now can you tell me how many of the writers above care that other people write stuff?

Well, all of them probably care a little (even McKeown has to have a grinch-sized heart in there somewhere; it’s just clouded over by his ego), but Seth, Zvi, and Sean are all probably looking for things that pro players look for. The Ferrett regularly encourages other people to write – but it’s practically his job. Rizzo, on the other hand… That kid doesn’t give a damn what you write, but he wants you to lay it down for him. Put it on paper (so to speak), make your thoughts heard, put forth some effort and some product. He also proved to me that I can write things in a style that I choose… And as long as it doesn’t suck, people will come to read it. To me, that made all the difference in the world.

I write for myself, but Rizzo encouraged me to do it. I answered your call, dawg. I’m here, writing, putting out, making the secret sign. I’m doin’ it, movin’, you know, like a writing machine. Sure I get all the benefits from being an up-and-coming internet writer (whatever those are), and that’s great.

What do I get from you for doing it? You leave. Sounds like a tough beat for me.

Did I know John personally? No; I wasn’t that fortunate. What I did know was what he put out there in his articles for me. For two years, he forced me to swallow everything that was JFR (Eeyew – The Ferrett), and while I didn’t always agree with him, I appreciated what he wrote. I loved the personality. I loved the humor. I loved how much he cared. Even when I was taking a hiatus from the game of Magic, I still went to Star City and read Rizzo’s articles because they were that good, that enjoyable.

Johnny boy, you were the Tyler Durden of the magic world. All the kids have their secret "No ID" clubs, and the fraternity of rogue deck players is running strong. You made me not care if I have bitch-tits and a name like Robert Paulson. I need that weekly article from you; that hour of random thought, of magical musings, of genius and crap. Of pure Rizzo.

Why then have you forsaken me? I don’t have to have Tyler Durden in my world, but life appears to be a lot more interesting when you are around.

You want to know what the worst part is though? I can’t even go back and read your archives – because every time I do, I find that I’m unintentionally rehashing everything you have already covered. Every new, semi-interesting idea that I have seems to appear somewhere in your mammoth body of work. Going back and reading your stuff actually shames me into realizing that I’m covering things that have already been done, and oftentimes better than I can do it. You crush my heart and then you crush my ego to boot. Leave a brother some dignity, compadre…

If I step back from the pain, I can understand your reasons. I’ve felt burn-out in random aspects of my life before and I know I’ll feel it again. I can respect the pursuit of a dream, and I hope you achieve it. If you ever start publishing anything ever again, I want to know about it, because I’ll still be the first in line to buy a copy.

In the meantime, though, I’m going to sit here, be completely selfish, and tilt at windmills while lamenting the fact that you left me just when I was getting going. Screw you, you evil burro pomposo.*

You let me know you though your writing. For that I thank you.

I wish you the best of luck. I’ll miss you.

I am Jack’s Broken Heart.

Because I chose to love you.

Ted Knutson

[email protected]

* – I chose to not to put real insults in this article because Rizzo doesn’t deserve it, so instead I went for a bit more of a Mad Libs style. I just want to make sure that in spite of what is written above, I completely understand John’s decision, and I have no right to ask anything more of him. However, just because I don’t have the right to do so won’t stop me from doing it…

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