SCG Daily – Hello and Good Luck

This week, we’ve a double-dose of SCG Daily goodness. There’s the mighty Ken Krouner, and the people’s favorite Tim Aten. Tim’s first foray in this week’s daily series deals with an important issue plaguing the cyberhalls of Magic Online… wishing your opponent “Good Luck.”


Alright, now that that‘s outtathaway, I can focus on "good luck."

Basically, I’m perturbed by the whole practice of wishing someone luck at the start of a match. I’ll tackle the typical, cliched complaints about the salutation first, and then I’ll provide some further reasons why I’d rather not hear the insipid phrase again while I’m romping in Dominia.

The most-cited complaint about "good luck" is that it’s often disingenuous. Why bother saying it if you don’t mean it? Some people might say that it’s just a pleasantry, like asking someone how he’s doing when greeting him in other social situations. Well, if you don’t really care how the person is, don’t ask that either! I know that our social system would fall apart if everyone were as cold and tactless as I, but there must be a way of being cordial that doesn’t smack of such fakeness.

Superficial considerateness (that’s a word – I looked) is not enough of a drawback to condemn an act. What if the person is serious? What does the “good luck” wish then mean? Does it mean, “I hope we both have good draws and have a good game of Magic that comes down to playskill”? Why not just say that? Oh, right – because it’s longwinded and as utterly meaningless and futile as saying, “I hope we win the Monaco National Lottery then bang the Hilton sisters.” Some people on Magic Online have taken to saying, “Hello and have fun!” I have no problem with that one. An activity where both people have fun sounds damn skippy in my book.

My least favorite motivation for wishing good luck at the start of the match is superstition. I know of people (and I won’t name names) that are sweaty-handed, bloodthirsty cutthroats who would like nothing more than to win at any cost, and yet they wish their opponents luck before the opening fourteen are drawn as a roundabout crazy hokey voodoo way of trying to get better luck for themselves. I don’t know whether I’m more offended by the ignorance or the hypocrisy. Okay, I lied. Definitely the ignorance.

The worst part about “good luck,” though, is the awkward situation it puts the opponent in. What if he doesn’t subscribe to whatever reason you have for wishing luck? Doesn’t it then become akin to saying something like, “May the Lord Jesus Christ, the one and only true Savior of mankind, be with you on this fine day,” at the start of the match?

I’ll elaborate. Suppose you’re playing against Josh Ravitz, and you say “good luck” to him as you begin, as it’s customary for you to do so. Suppose, then, that he doesn’t say it back! You’re of the “meaningless pleasantry” school; he’s of the “don’t say it if you don’t mean it” school. What he’s likely to say in response is a simple “thanks.” But now you think he’s a jerk for not extending you the same “courtesy” you displayed to him, while he’s just trying not to be dishonest by returning the sentiment!

Personally, I don’t know what to do when someone says “good luck.” I have no way of knowing if it’s an asinine remark or whether you’re some sort of masochist and actually hope luck is on my side in our particular encounter. It’s awkward either way. Sure, I’d like to have a good match, but if I can’t have one of those, I’d certainly prefer to win. It’s not as though anything either of us says will affect the outcome of the match anyway unless it’s something like, “Hey Carlos, I’ll scoop ‘em up for four bucks and a back rub.”

On Magic Online, if someone hits the “Hello and good luck.” button, I hit it back because it’s less awkward than silence. In essence, though, my opponent just wasted a few seconds of his time to make me waste a few of mine. Where would it end? Would he also be willing to waste two minutes to force me to waste two minutes? I don’t know if I subscribe to this whole “eye for an eye” mentality. I’d rather just have a friendly game of Magic.

The next time you’re about to wish an opponent luck, try to get a read on him (“or her,” as though broads actually play Magic) to find out if you’re on the same page. If you want to have a silly little “GL” exchange, have a ball. What you do in the privacy of your plane is nobody’s business but your own. But don’t force your stupid religion or me or others. I have no interest in getting in your Thetan-cleansing chamber, and neither do my friends.

That’s all I have for today, but before I go, I’d like to show you this.

Rodman* was quite surprised when I pasted this to him because, like many of you, he’d been operating under the assumption that I was gay. Firm but fair, I suppose. Rest assured, though, that I will not be making a habit of this. I’m not going to introduce a cheesecake section to affirm my masculinity**. I’m not about to start some bizarre crusade to prove I’m “just one of the guys.” I can’t lift anything heavier than a kitten; I’ll never understand baseball; and 99% of attempts to engage me in discussions of “hot chicks” will be met with blank stares and abrupt topic shifts. The Amanda Bynes picture just happens to be one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my entire life, so I figured I’d share it.

Like… you know how in the first Harry Potter movie Dumbledore’s all, “Blah blah many wizards have wasted away blah blah,” about that mirror thingy? That’s how I am with this picture. That said, rather than waste any more of our time, I think I’m going to get back to watching Ms. Bynes dance in the sand.

Join me tomorrow when I explain why reminding your opponent to pay upkeep is nothing more than an abomination.

Love always,
Timothy James Aten

*One of my best friends, and certainly a more interesting and multidimensional person than “Joshie” or “Bruce” or “John Pelcak” or any number of other characters that may or may not even exist. He’ll be at Nationals. You should go if only to meet him.
**”What masculinity lol?” etc.