I had this brilliant idea the other night that I’d write a satirical essay comparing certain, present-day online communication (email lists, forums, and the like) and career titles with the role-playing, strategy game I know nothing about called Dungeons and Dragons. Unlike many other ideas which come and go I actually chewed on this one. I got to know it. And my conclusion was that it might be a good idea, even a fun one.
Now you may be asking yourself, “Why? Why would she think about, let alone write about such a ridiculous topic?” I’m afraid I don’t much of an answer for you. (But if you figure one out for yourself, please let me know because it might save me a whole hell of a lot of time).
I know about the game. I know it revolved around the art of role-playing. I know there were dwarves, elves, and priests. I know there were bad guys. And I know there were numerous levels. I know that all of them liked to fight.
“How hard can this be?” I thought.
I played Dungeons and Dragons once. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was around 14 and the boys across the street (much like the rest of the world) were suddenly consumed by it. But Dungeons and Dragons started cutting into our break-dancing time. I couldn’t have that. If I was going to lose out on a few headspins, I certainly had to be involved in the conflicting activity.
These boys (like most boys) liked to talk about what girls couldn’t do. And I knew from an early age that girls could do pretty much anything boys could do. There were times girls might not be dumb enough to try, but we could do pretty much anything if we wanted. For example, the day Vince told me I couldn’t pee into a jar while standing up, I took it upon all female-kind (the most feminist act I ever took part in) to at the very least try. I peed all over my hands. Some hit the driveway, some of it hit the jar. I called it a success. When I was a girl-kid, I could pretty much do anything. Especially when someone said that I couldn’t.
And so I taunted. I wanted to play this game. I wanted to figure out why kids were going crazy from it—even killing themselves. I wanted to figure out why kids were losing sleep, growing zits, losing weight, and missing school. And I wanted, most of all, to touch the dice. Those dice were so pretty. They were like little jewels in my girly, I mean, manly hands.
I was finally invited to play. I was so excited! I played for about a half an hour before I gave up to a cloud of confusion. I had no friggin clue what was going on.
Understanding Dungeons and Dragons is like coming in halfway through a primetime drama series after everyone else has been talking about for 20 years. There’s just so much to it! There are classes and characters in classes. There different levels of characters within characters of classes.
Needless to say, my past experience with Dungeons and Dragons was next to nothing (shame on me for assuming otherwise). But now that I know a little bit of a whole lot, I wish I had given it a better chance because I think my imagination (back then) could have used an external vacation from an every day fantasy.
All that said, the past couple of days I have been gathering Dungeons and Dragons information. I have been reading about it in my spare time. I have been perusing the artwork, the weird graphics, and getting better acquainted with pewter. And I haven’t gotten very far. (Not much of a magickal elf now, am I?) But something has occurred to me. I finally understand why it is people kill themselves while taking part in this game. It’s really quite simple. This game is the more complex and confusing than Fermat’s last theorem. It’s harder than finding a left turn in San Francisco.
It’s no wonder why kids went mad.