Abe’s Note: I wrote the article a little while ago, but I did not submit it for publication to Knut. I do not believe this to be the typical SCG fare. Just writing the piece was a little cathartic. However, upon review, it contains the greatest piece of wisdom that I have to endow. More important than what card to play in what matchup, more important than ideas for casual decks, and more important than flipping cards can ever be. As such, I felt that it was my duty to see this through, all the way. To take the next step and submit it for the readers at SCG. I hope that you find it enlightening.
Nothing is more annoying in life than being awoken by the sound of men hammering at a concrete wall to your apartment two hours before you are supposed to wake up. The misty fog of construction swirls with the odor of heated dust. I’m awake, and I’m pissed.
Oh, I try to cover up my ears, roll over, and get some sleep anyway. The stubborn obstinacy of slumber clings to me as I try to ignore the pounding. A few minutes later, the drilling begins, and a sound akin to a giant dentist’s drill forces me awake much earlier than my body intended.
Sometimes getting up in the morning is the closest analogy to death that I can think of.
I make my way from my bedroom to my closest and don the closest apparel that I can find. My office in the residence hall is just outside my apartment. Half-stumbling, I pour myself a cup of RC Cola and head into my office. I am awake so early that the lady working the front desk looks at me suspiciously, as if I am the clone that has replaced our friendly neighborhood Abe. I plop myself down in my chair and slowly become fully aware of the sounds of a Mesh CD and the constant musty stench of burning concrete. They are using a torch now.
Refusing to give in to the system, I decide to write today’s article. No Magic article has been in me longer than this one, yearning to breathe free. Writing this article is my greatest fear. And maybe my greatest joy as well.
Interestingly enough, I remain unsure if this article will ever see print, even with a decklist. Anyway, allow me to set up the decklist for you with a little background information on myself. Trust me, this info is vital to understand if you want to understand the deck.
Have you ever thought about your retirement plan? If you are, say, fifteen, then probably not. I remember getting my first job after acquiring my M.P.A. at age twenty-four, three years ago. Retirement plans revolve around retiring around age sixty-five. Maybe you’ll end up retiring a little later or a little earlier, but that’s your target age. Your plan revolves around it.
But, what if you do not expect to live that long?
When I was in eighth grade my mother passed away from heart complications due to Huntington’s Disease. What is Huntington’s Disease, you may ask? It is a disorder that affects a victim’s brain, causing the victim to slowly lose control over their muscles. A person begins to twitch and convulse. The degenerative condition marches inexorably towards becoming wheelchair bound, then bed-ridden, until death ensues. The disease also leads to loss of emotional and intellectual faculties. There is no known cure. And it is hereditary.
I had a 50/50 chance of having the same disease that claimed my mother’s life at the age of forty-two. Can you imagine growing up with the knowledge that you have a 50/50 chance of only living until you are forty or so? While other children dream of long lives with children and families, you wish only for a clean set of genes? Can you imagine the sidelong stares at your mother when they think you are looking away?
My mother was so full of warmth, intelligence, and love. I would highly value her advice and support today, if she were alive. To know that the same beast that took her life could be beating within my breast is a heavy daily burden. It colors everything.
When I was considering grad school, I decided that it was time to take the test and find out whether or not I had the disease. A simple blood test and a few months’ wait were all it took. I had to be certified ready for the information from a counselor. The news that I was given was hardly surprising. I think, in some way, that I always knew.
I am only 27 years old, and yet I must wrestle with the specter of my own mortality every day. I should have had my mid-life crisis when I was a sophomore in college. I guess I missed out on that.
While my peers are getting married, planning families, buying houses, and settling into careers, I have to deal with the basic fact that my life will be over in a dozen years. Who wants that sort of certainty in their life?
I have chosen to live my life as a single man. How could I burden any woman with my future condition? I will also remain childless because how could I risk any possible genetic contamination? The demon that killed my mother, and her father, and his father before him, will die with my own death. In a way, I will emerge victorious.
Would you like to know, truly, why I became a Magic writer? It’s because there is so much within me, bursting to come forth. I fear that my death will leave me with things unsaid and unexpressed. I want to contribute so much to this life of ours.
In many career paths, you have to develop a resume, work up the ladder, until you have a job with authority and impact. That’s the major reason that I am a housing administrator. I have a daily impact upon the lives of my residents, and I didn’t have to spend several years working my way up some ladder. I simply do not have time for impressive resume development; my abilities must suffice on their own.
Take with you the following life lesson that I have learned: Enjoy life. I do not have regrets about my past, for I cannot change my mistakes. I learn from them and move on. Do not worry about the future, for worrying will do you no good. You simply do not have enough time to worry or regret. Enjoy your life and all that God has given you.
I love Magic. I spend a lot of leisure time playing games, but I love to focus on Magic. In Magic, there is the strategic element, which is vitally important to me as an intellectual exercise. There is also the competitive part, and my friends will inform you that I am very competitive. Lastly, and most importantly, there is a social aspect. While I flit about from game to game, Magic has remained the one constant in my life. I think the social aspect of the game is the ultimate reason why I am still flippin’ cards instead of chuckin’ dice or pushin’ metal.
I just returned from a meeting of the campus gamer’s organization, called ARCHMAGE (which stands for Alliance of Role-Playing, Comic, Hypertext, Movie and Anime Guild of Eastern—I’d prefer they just call it Geeks Anonymous and move on). I am the co-advisor for the organization, and I try to help them with the technical side of running a student organization. What I love about them is that they simply get it. They get that gaming is, ultimately, about relationships. It’s like having a party but with a meaningful structure.
How do you want to be remembered upon your death? If people can say that “Abe had a meaningful impact upon the game of Magic. Magic is a better game because of Abe,” then I think that I’d be happy. Well, I’d be happy in that metaphysical if-I-were-still-here sense.
So that’s why I write about Magic. I will continue to write about Magic here at StaryCityGames.com until one of five possible things happens:
1). I quit playing Magic (like that will ever happen)
2). StarCityGames.com fires me
3). SCG shuts its website down
4). I get a job at Wizards (they probably would not want me to keep writing here)
5). I die.
Therefore you’ll need to buckle your seatbelts, set your trays in the upright position, and settle in for a long ride with yours truly. I am Abe Sargent, Casual Boy! Article number 75 is coming up, and article number 100 can’t be far behind.
As for that decklist, let me preface it with the following: This is not a typical decklist. It may be the most personal, most sincere, and most poetic decklist that you have ever seen. I call it my “Sorrow’s Path” deck. Read the decklist slowly, and see if you catch the theme.
Seeds of Innocence
Thirst for Knowledge
Battle of Wits
Change of Heart
Betrayal of Flesh
Kiss of Death
Moment of Silence
This deck is the Path of Sorrow. I am Sorrow. In other words, this deck, simply and truly, is my life, in order, from beginning to likely end. Each card title is a stage in my life. I am currently at the “Tragic Poet” stage. Read through it again, but instead of reading it as a decklist, read it as a poem.
This may be the greatest decklist I have ever created. Writing this article may be my biggest fear, but it may be the most intimate thing that I have ever done.
Remember—enjoy your life! As always….