I mentioned yesterday before I posted a bunch of things that some crazy stuff has happened lately in my life. the craziest is that one of my friends passed during a routine operation. It’s got me thinking about a few things, and I want to share those thoughts with you.
Ashika McCurry was my wife’s best friend. She’s pictured above with my fierce dog. When I met my wife, within three dates, I met Ash. Ash was the test. If I wasn’t up to snuff for Ash, I would not be married today. Take note gentlemen and ladies, if you do not pass your future wife’s friends first test, she may not become your future wife! I did, somehow, and was married. Ash was a maid of honor, and over time Ash even became my friend. I was not as close as my wife to Ash because I only knew 12 years compared to my wife’s 22, and I didn’t grow up with here like my wife did. But, she was a good friend who I like hanging out with. Again, men and women, if you don’t like hanging out with your wife’s friends, she may not be your wife for very long!
When Ash passed, my wife and I were the closest to her house and bore the brunt of her collection of stuff. She was a hoarder, and I now have an abundance of semi-mint in package Barbie dolls and other random things. But, as I work to basically help take apart a life, I see lots of things from her past that I remember being part of.
Ash was a geek, but nowhere deep a gamer as I. She NEVER showed up to a game fully prepared. She didn’t agonize over character decisions. She liked being a ranger, shooting things with arrows, and making things die. You had to remind her of mechanics often, and she never really read the books. Even if you supplied her with the books, she didn’t care. Ash liked video games, but never keep up to date. Her systems were old, and I honestly don’t think she finished most of the games she played. When we cleaned our her apartment, she had a mint, in box Switch that was played. When I got mine, mine was opened within minutes of getting that bad boy home! In short, she was the filthy, filthy casual that all the Alpha Gamers bitch about at every store.
BUT, Ash was happy. Ash just liked to show up and game. Ash wasn’t there to make the numbers big, she just wanted to have fun. She played games while she enjoyed them, and left when she was done. She didn’t agonize over choices in obscure books because why do it? It’s just a game! She didn’t learn to hate Pathfinder, 4e DnD, 5e DnD, Cthulhu, or any other game, because yet again, she was just there to have fun with her friends!
Now, as I get all of Ash’s board game collection, a collection that doesn’t really even add a bump to mine, I’m thinking back as I also find old character sheets of games I ran for her often. I play EVERY game I start to completion-maybe past the point where its fun, BECAUSE I STARTED AND THAT WHAT GAMERS DO! I run lots of different games and get deep into them then bitch about them online to anybody who will listen on my blog. I’ve learn to hate the hobby I love because I’ve come to see how the sausage is made and learned tiny minutiae that dictate how board games are made and how that makes for sadder experiences all in the name of making a mail-able product. My most popular blog post recently was me bitching about companies and how physical products are created vs. PDFs. My wife often comments how I’ve turned a fun thing into a job, and I have to remind myself that BOARD GAMES AND RPGS ARE JUST FUN THINGS BECAUSE YOU ARE A FULL TIME TEACHER NOT A FULL TIME DEMO GUY!
In short, Ash was right. Being the filthy casual is fun. You don’t have to be an ass to others and judge the games they play because those other people are wrong! You don’t have to hate 4e DnD because it was wrong! You don’t have to do things because gamers finish things! You don’t have to agonize over shipping tariffs and what this will do to kickstarter’s business model and the gaming industry overall. Maybe, just maybe, I should just learn to enjoy gaming! Maybe that’s Ash’s last lesson to me. Aside from make the wife’s friends happy, the last lesson I really need to learn is just fucking game and be happy with the games you play. If it’s shit to you, move on and don’t bitch as those who do enjoy it. Just have fun!
In that spirit, as my friend is laid to rest in her final resting place today, I implore you all to go have some fun this week. Go roll with friends this week. Online, in person, on a chat, Facebook, or even in a play by post. Just enjoy a game this week, and don’t bitch about some other ones. It’s something I know I’m going to try to do better as I go on.