I knew Rizzo was going to be the next Wakefield. Sure, everyone says that about Celebrity X after they got famous… But if Rizzo was still around, you could ask him today.
“Riz,” you’d say,”Did Ferrett actually say you were the next Wakefield?”
“You bet,” he’d tell you. “Right after I wrote The Innocence of Magic, my fourth article. He said that if I worked, I could be it.”
Is it coincidence that he wrote his breakthrough article, Searching for Wakefield, right after? You decide.
Rizzo had been my right-hand man during my days at StarCity; his first article was written all of three weeks after I started my tenure here, and he’s always been SC’s biggest supporter. He wore our wretched T-shirt to tourneys to promote us.* He funded our contests (did you know that originally, the StarCity submissions contest was funded by what we paid Rizzo, who gave it up in the hopes of seeing better writing?** Now ya do). He served as the central nervous system of the Magic community; if you were anybody, anyone at all, at some point you got the inevitable Rizzo”attaboy” letter for writing a good article.
Fun fact: When I went to Pro Tour LA and played in side events, I seven people recognized me when I sat down to play them. Of those seven people, five of them asked me,”So what’s Rizzo really like?”
I told them to go ask Aaron Forsythe. I’d never met the bastard.
And I never would, either; a month after I moved to Cleveland, thus ensuring that we could meet at some PTQ somewhere between Cleveland and Pennslyvania, Rizzo moved to Maine. Thus, we never got to have that manly hug we had promised each other, and maybe some cuddles and that other stuff that happens between real men… Yet somehow, we never talk about in public.
But think about that; seven people knew me – and for five of them, Rizzo was StarCity. And I can’t blame ’em. In some strange way, losing Rizzo is like exiting my childhood…
…And yet I get ahead of myself.
So what happened, you big fat jerk?
TheFerrett <—- Will tell you.
So after Rizzo’s last article, I didn’t hear from him for three weeks.
Now do me a favor and flip over to the Rizzo Archives for a moment; specifically, the dates. Look at the consistency. Add seven days to any date in that archive, and you’ll be within two days of Rizzo’s next article. The longest gap between Rizzo’s spewings was two weeks… And that was when he was moving to Maine.
(For comparison, look at my archives. See those amnesiac gaps, sometimes spanning months, that lay between the individual gems of my articles, where I am apparently shuffling down the streets and trying to remember where I left my Night Train?*** Yeah, I feel bad, too. Go look at everyone else’s stuff for fun, if you have the time. There is practically no one in the entire world who came up to bat as consistently as Rizzo….)
So I got worried.
I emailed Riz in a brief epistle entitled,”Wherefore Art Thou, Riz?”
A couple of days later, I got this kick in the chest back – which, incidentally, for the first time I am presenting without any editing or censorship whatsoever. If you’re offended by strong language, well, for once you can go to hell while The Man speaks.
I spend way too much time making this site family-safe, all right?
“Believe it or not, I quit Magic. Not for angry reasons or any real reasons at all, but for many little, insignificant reasons that made my decision a no-brainer. I quit about three weeks ago or so, and so far it’s been great. I just wanted to disappear, like I said I’d do in one of my old articles, but there was one person I knew I’d have to let know. That’s you, chief, and for many reasons, most of which I’ve already told you before.
“There are a few loose ends to tie up, but I still intend to tell no one – I wanna be a ghost. Feel free to let peeps know if you want to/need to, but I’ve deleted all of my mail (after reading most of it, which I still intend to do), and can safely say that I won’t ever be back. No malice towards anyone, it’s just the way it goes. There is so much shit I wanna say, and I will get back to you on that. However, if anyone I’ve met since I’ve been writing would understand without me needing to explain it, then it would be you. Still, I’ll try to make sense of it and thank you properly….
“It’s been a lot of fun and frustration and cool shit and everything in between, and to think that it all started because you put that little footnote at the end of one of your articles. You remember: ‘while other editors are flogging through their 15th tourney report, I get Rizzo’s idea of a tourney report. It makes the day go better.’ Or something to that effect.
“I finally allowed myself to believe that, fuck, maybe I can write – or at least communicate in a way that gives peeps boners or something. Thusly, I decided to give this shit a real try and start sending my plays all over the country because it gets me as wet as writing a report used to. Plus, I’m working a million hours a week, which would leave like no time for Magic, let alone articles. Rather than go through the motions, I realized that this time, Magic has to take the back seat. So, it is.
“You probably have some idea of what it’s like to get lots of ‘dude you rock’ emails and have peeps come up to you and fucking get all nervous in your presence. While that was kinda cool for a while, it got to be very annoying. It got to the point where it seemed that everyone was being cool to me because hey, he might mention me in his next article. Or even like I was the cool jock kid in high school that everyone wanted to be able to say they knew. Well, that’s kinda fucked. Especially since I hate people. Mostly.
“After I realized the CPA message boards were shit, which took like two days, and much of the discussions on the StarCity list made me wanna punch someone, not to mention Misetings turning to shit, half of the Featured Writers at StarCity taking vacations, the Sideboard getting gay, the idea that Regionals was going to be filled with Braids deck vs. Braids deck matches, and the fact that it’s never gonna change no matter how great Wizards makes the game (if people didn’t play Magic, it would be the ultimate game), Brainburst getting elitist, Mouth getting banned – I know he’s shit, but I never thought he was a cheater – the TA attitude starting to take over slowly but surely, and a host of other little things, I realized that while writing is cool as hell, the rest of the shit is standing still – it will always be that way no matter how many Wakefield or Bruce or No ID or whatever articles I write. That’s really frustrating. Really.
“There will always be net deckers and ID’s, and Christ, why does no one feel as strongly about not IDing as I do (that’s fucking depressing), teen trash talkers and random fuckheads, very little creativity – let’s do what the pros do because we can’t appreciate the creative aspect – why can’t Magic be full of JMS clones?
“Maybe this is my way of saying, ‘Wake up, you fuckers – you thought I’d be there to make you laugh and be your issue boy, so fuck you and get a life and think about shit once in a while, you mindless pricks.’ Probably not, though. More likely, it’s just time to move on. Although, it’s kinda frustrating when I’m driving somewhere and I get an idea and am not able to throw it in a random article. But I’ll live with that because, fuck, just going away seems, well, almost like a brilliant move at this point.
I almost wrote an article about all of this shit, but I figured it woudl be cooler to make peeps wonder, or maybe even think. Call it my last article, but unwritten. Or something.
“Last I heard, Pete owes me eleven boxes, of which I’d like six to go to Granaas for his College Magic thing. I leave it up to you to find some cool way to give the other 6 back to the peeps. A contest or some shit? Or maybe spread the love among the guys that busted their asses to get the Featured Writer tag and still write. Doesn’t anyone have any fucking passion for Christ’s sake? Or maybe just take one for yourself. If ever there was an editor that was overworked and underpaid and underappreciated, then you be it.
“Again, thanks for inspiring and motivating me and all that shit – it means more to me than I’ll be able to convey.
“And I still don’t think I was able to explain shit very well. Heh.
“-johnny what the fuck boy”
My first instinct was to fly to Maine and punch him in the nuts.
My best writer? Fucking leaving me? When Brainburst is crawling up my ass and internet writing is falling to a bare minimum and Alongi is spending all of his time snuggling with Magicthegathering.com? How dare he?
Then I thought back to San Francisco.
When I was visiting my sister in SF, I was editing StarCity from a Kinko’s in a strip mall, mainly because her computer sucked and, well, the work needed to get done. At the time, I was working a terrible job in Anchorage, solely for the money – buying goddamn pens for a living for a bunch of people who fried pigs on the weekend and talked about their lawn.
I didn’t hate them… But I had nothing in common with them. They had a very narrow view of reality, and even the brief flashes of my strange lifestyle seemed to alarm them. “You went to a what tournament on the weekend?”
My vacation was a Godsend… But there I was, spending the early morning hours fine-tuning articles for StarCity. Why?
Because I loved it.
I love editing this site. I love being at the heart of a lot of Magic, encouraging people and watching them blossom as writers, seeing the various things that make it in, getting the occasional attaboys. Sure, I could have called in sick for a couple of days while I was in San Francisco… But did I ever get fan mail at my pen job? Hell no. Did anyone ever vote me into the Sweet Sixteen in the Pen-Buyer’s War over CCGBallpointPrime?
So there I was, and what article was I editing?
And I listened to Rizzo – even though to be honest, he was retreading territory that I had covered earlier in one of my better articles –
– it finally hit home.
I realized what I wanted to do.
Screw the pen buying. Screw the life. I was tired of getting crap jobs for good money. I was gona be a writer, and I was gonna make money at it somehow, and I would rather enjoy life and be goddamn broke than I would buying Bics in 732-unit cartons until I was 65.
I quit my job. I went freelance. It hasn’t always been easy, but I haven’t looked back.
Thanks to Rizzo.
So then the kinder half of my brain kicked in – wait; I’m not that kind; I think it’s a kinder quarter, or perhaps a sixteenth of my brain – and I realized that if I had touched Rizzo in some way and changed his life, well then,”Quid pro quo, Clarice.”
Good for him.
That scalp-sparkling bastard.
So where do we go from here? Given the amount of time I spent cropping, pasting, linking, and organizing his goddamn tourney photos, I am taking a box of cards for myself, thankyouverymuch. Granaas will no doubt figure out what to do with his newfound boxes… And hey! If he doesn’t read my articles, I guess I’ll just start holding single-elimination College Of Ferrett tourneys in my basement!
But the remaining four?
Well, first, let me ask you all a question:
Who will be the next Rizzo?
Rizzo’s legacy is multifaceted and unique – think about it. Bad times for Becky. The Universal Netdeck. Bruce. Have a carrot. One-sentence articles. Never ID. Sexual chocolate. Random quotes.
And that little joke I stole for myself earlier.
(Wait, that’s his, too.)****
So that all begs the question:
Who here’s man enough to step up and take Rizzo’s place?
Because I’ve got four boxes waiting for those crazy bastards who are willing to try.
Here’s the deal, chief – Rizzo was unique for a couple of reasons:
1) In almost every one of his articles, he spoke about Magic. It was buried awfully deep sometimes, but invariably there was some form of strategy involved… Even if it was dicey, or silly, or what have you. Too many Rizzo wannabes just go off on whatever topic they feel like – like Bitter Bill or any number of misguided imitators – without really going on Magic at all. Screw that noise.
2) Rizzo had energy. He wrote every week. He had something to say… And believed you had something to say, too. He read everything on the net because he wanted to hear what you had. He believed – as I do – that pretty much every one of you can be a Rizzo. Got an opinion? Got some strategy? Then share it, you crazy motherfuckers. And keep sharing it every week. I’m not gonna give a Rizzo box to someone who writes twice and gives up because nobody wrote him back.
3) Rizzo had belief. Yeah, most of us thought he was full of crap for his weirdo positions on ID’ing and Netdecks… So what? He stood by them. I am equally convinced that you all have things that you will not bow from. Tell us.
4) Rizzo was honest. Can a man who writes a hundred-page article be truly accused of holding back? To be a Rizzo, someone who gets people involved, you’ve gotta share your own life – and not just what you did or who you hung out with before the tournament. Tell us what you feel. What you do in the time that’s not just two hours before or after The Tourney. Show us who you are, dude.
5) Rizzo was funny. That’s the tough one. But I know you can do it.
The prized Rizzo Boxes aren’t just for one-shot articles ù and I won’t be giving these out for another month or two at the least. Don’t you dare send me one article and ask,”Did I win?” I want the prize to go to those with unique voices who keep speaking despite the pressure to stop; those who deserve it. People like Blisterguy, Chris Romeo, Iain Telfer, Joel Allen, Geordie Tait, Squirrelguy, Nate Wilke, Tony Sculimbrene, Ted Knutson, and hundreds of others who I would mention but my internet connection has slowed to a crawl right now.
Hell, I might be insane enough to give a Rizzo Box out to someone who doesn’t even write for me. Wouldn’t that be friggin’ awesome? But I might just do it.
So remember: Rizzo quit writing because of you. Lemme quote the relevant sections….
“Half of the Feature Writers at at StarCity were taking vacations…. Brainburst getting elitist… the TA attitude starting to take over….”
Read between the lines: Rizzo left because, quite frankly, you weren’t giving enough to the Magic community.
Get off your bloodsucking ass and start writing. Every day. You love coming here and seeing what’s up and then wandering over to Magicthegathering.com and then looking at the Premier articles on Brainburst like Charlie looked inside the window of the candy shop when he was trying to win the Golden Ticket, and you read and you read and….
When do you give?
When do you start sharing your tech? When do you stop being afraid of people mocking you? When do you get off your ass and say that you don’t have anything to say, then go to Friday Night Magic and bitch to your friends about and whine and never realize that that’s an article?
When do you reach into your soul and start sharing?
Rizzo gave me four boxes of Magic cards. And they’re all for you. All for the next one.
It could be you.
All you have to do…
Is want it.
Good God, it feels good to cut loose and write without self-censorship – now back to the grind,
The Here Edits This Site Here Guy
* – Okay, they’re nice T-shirts. But I only wear black. Ever. Ask anybody.
** – Which lasted until he moved to Maine and decided that gee, he needed cards more than articles. Even Rizzo had to break down some time.
*** – But at least I’m the editor, so you’ll hear from me. And two events in my life guarantee that I’ll be writing more and more for SC – on real strategy, no less. And if you’re one of those psycho fans who voted for me over Alongi in the Writer War, well then… All I will say is that Monday, I am dropping the bomb.
**** – And that was blisterguy. But the footnotes are all mine – no, wait, I stole that from Tony Boydell and Terry Pratchett. Shit. I guess I’m unoriginal.
Has anyone else written about their virginity online? Wait, I guess that’s mine. What a goddamn legacy, huh?
Oh, yeah – after this I never get to swear again. Fuck shit hell motherfucker ass. Whee!
Now back to work.
What do YOU think? Share your
opinion with the community and you just may walk away with some FREE Magic cards… courtesy of your friends at