Thursday, February 28, 2013

Doing My Part To Reinforce Stereotypes

To All My Fellow Awkwardians, I Bid Thee Hello!

They say that if you haven't used or looked at something in over a year then you should probably get rid of it.  If that's the case then I really need to get rid of a lot of crap.

Unwilling to immerse myself in the spiritual nadir of a flea market or a swap meet setting, I decided to post some of my loose detritus on Kijiji.  So far, this has been a tremendous success.  In selling some of my unwanted crap I've made enough money to purchase a new board game and procured the budget to acquire each new ship in the ever-expanding X-Wing fleet.   

One of the things I put up for sale was my Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition Player's Handbook and the intro module Keep on the Shadowfell.  This is no big loss since I've wanted to turf this stuff ever since I cracked the cover of the Type-Four Player's Handbook.  At the risk of inflaming the Edition Wars: Fourth Edition sucks Herculean amounts of ass.

Actually before I get a bunch of geek-rage-marinated posts and emails sent to me, let me qualify that statement just a little bit.  Fourth Edition would actually be a tremendous system for, say, a superhero role-playing game.  But, for me, the Fourth Edition ruleset is about as good a match for D&D as raisins are to...well, just about anything.  Seriously, why ruin a perfectly good dessert by including something that has the consistency of a cured booger?

Heh.  If you didn't agree with my militant anti-raisin stance before, then I bet you do after reading that last line, huh?  One of us!!!  One of us!!!    

Anyway, Monday night I got an email from a nice lady who expressed an interest in buying the Player's Handbook and the aforementioned module.  Here's how the email trail went down:

HER:  I would like to buy the books!
ME:  Sure!  I'm at _____________.  TEL ________.  I'll be around anytime tomorrow if you want to pick it up.
HER:  Can I come by around 330/400?  Also do you have a DM guide?

To this I thought: 'Wow, she actually knows enough about the game to inquire as to whether or not I have a matching Dungeon Master's Guide.  I wonder if she's getting it for herself?'

This is what I wrote back:

"That time is okay for me!  I'm afraid that I don't have a DMG.  Sorry (insert lame sad smiley emoticon thingie).  Having said that, between the Player's Manual and the 'Quick Start Rules' included in Keep on the Shadowfell, you should be able to get started at least.

"Hope to see you later.  Take care and have a great day!"  

With these arrangements made, I promptly went to work editing the audio for our latest entertainment-related podcast.  Now, I tend to get pretty engrossed in what I'm working on, especially if it's something that I'm really invested in.  This seems to happen to the detriment of everything else, including arrangements I've made hours ago for someone to come by and pick up an item that I no longer care about.

Oh, and just a quick word about working from home.  Since, as a boss, I'm kind of a slave-driver I like to give myself a bit of leniency when it comes to the dress code.  Now, please don't think for a moment that I don't wear pants when I'm working.  I usually wear pants.  Usually.      

What I'm trying to say is: I have a tendency to let personal hygiene lapse a bit when I'm working from home.  Not for days mind you.  I brush my teeth twice daily and floss every morning lie a good little obsessive-compulsive.  But since I really sincerely believe that daily maintenance is actually kinda bad for you, I sometimes go a day without washing my hair.  This usually necessitates wearing a scruffy-looking Guinness baseball cap that my beloved wife brought back for me from Las Vegas in 2007.  As you can well imagine, after wearing this hat every other day for the past seven years, it's starting to look a tad threadbare

"Why don't you get rid of that ratty old thing?" she'll ask occasionally, sounding slightly cross.  "One of these days you're gonna put it on and require a tetanus shot."

In response to this I usually remind her about my odd-shaped cranium and how difficult it is to find a hat that doesn't make me look like a pinhead ("One of us!!!"  "One of us!!!").  As such, I'm probably destined to wear this hat until it looses structural integrity and disintegrates like an over-chewed stick of Beeman's gum.

Shaving's is also a bit of a bugaboo for me.  In fact, this clip from The Simpsons nicely illustrates the futility of shaving for me: 

So, this was me last Tuesday afternoon: a day's worth of Unibomber-ish beard growth and my unkempt hair concealed by a hat clearly liberated from Dublin's dodgiest Value Village.  Given my own draconian work ethic, my personal appearance was pretty much the last thing on my mind that day.  The only thing I cared about was reviewing, editing and then writing the accompanying post for an entry that I was hell-bent to complete by day's end.   

While feverishly hammering away at this, I caught myself scrubbing away at an itchy spot just underneath my nose.  Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a giant gout of warm liquid sprang from my nose and started streaming down my top lip.  I reflexively dabbed a fingertip there and it came away scarlet red. 

'Fiddle dee dee,' I thought to myself.  'I appear to be bleeding.  A lot.'

I rushed to the washroom, trying not to drip gore everywhere.  I looked in the mirror, took my hand away and was immediately shocked as a veritable geyser of blood left from my face like Regan's spinal tap pre-op scene in The Exorcist.  I quickly put pressure on the area with a piece of tissue paper and then promptly began the process of wondering what the f#@k had just happened.    

Now I know that, for a lot of you out there, the inimitable words of one Ralph Wiggum have probably spring to mind:

"The doctor said I wouldn't have so many nosebleeds if I kept my finger out of there."  

Um, yeah, thanks.  

Like all classic geeks, I will admit to a history of nosebleeds.  In fact, I had so many of them as a kid that I daresay that only Eric Northman is more familiar with the taste of blood.  But between a strict regimen of using a vaporizer to soften the dry winter air and a strict regimen of...*a-hem*..."keeping my finger out of there", thank you very much, I haven't had one in at least five years.  

After taking a closer look I noticed that the blood wasn't even coming from my nose.  It was coming from just below it.  I've always had a predominant and oh-so-sexy red vein perched close to the skin just underneath my snout.  While rubbing it absently I must have brought it to the surface and caused a rupture.  

So there I was, frantically trying to stop the bleeding like Dan Aykroyd in his French Chef skit when, all of a sudden, the phone rang.  Then, and only then, did I remember that I'd made arrangement for some sweet anonymous lady to stop by and surrender her hard-earned cash for my unwanted D&D swag.

With a swiftly-saturating piece of toilet paper plastered onto my face I ran to the phone and picked it up.  Sure enough, it was my unsuspecting Kijiji customer.  My heart sank. 

"'Ullo?" I managed to grunt through my not-so Kleenex.

"Hi!  It's _____!  I'm here for the D&D books!"

"Oday, ahl be dowd in a minnud!" I managed in reply, knowing damned well that I wouldn't be down in anywhere close to a minute.  

I ducked back into the bathroom and tried some last minute Hail Mary / Florence Nightingale shit in a vain effort to impede the hemorrhaging.  No matter what I tried, nothing worked.  With a perforated vein as the culprit I just couldn't get it to stop.  All I could do was grab a relatively unsullied piece of paper towel, run downstairs and then hope to complete the transaction before I ended up looking like an extra in M.A.S.H.     

Now, what I've been describing thus far sounds awful, but as I opened the door to the lobby it actually got a lot worse.  As it turns out, the person with whom I'd been corresponding wasn't buying the books for themselves.  They were buying them for their kid.  The same kid who was standing expectantly in the foyer with his moms right now.  Honestly I have no idea how old the kid was, since I'm really a poor judge of this sort of thing.  Just suffice to say that he was very young.  Way too young to see me in the state I was in, that's for sure.

Both of them looked completely aghast as this bleeding, vaguely-transient-looking weirdo whipped open the door to the foyer and practically threw a bag filled with books at them.  Books, I will remind you, that help people pretend to be elves and wizards and instructs them on how to go about slaying orcs and dragons.

"T...thank you," stammered the mom.  "Um...okay, honey...go ahead and give the nice man his money."

I'm pretty sure that I heard her add a barely-audible 'BE CAREFUL' under her breath as the kid shuffled incrementally towards me.  Wearing a facial expression suggesting rigor mortis, the child shakily offered me a handful of bill, stretching out his arm to the full extent of his reach.  I immediately snatched the money out of his clenched paw and then quickly turned to leave.

"'Tank 'oo," I blurted out from behind my increasingly-scarlet gore-rag.  I heard the mother remotely parrot back the same statement as the front door clicked shut behind me.  I quickly ran back to my domicile, hoping and praying that I wouldn't run into and subsequently spook any of the easily-startled senior citizens in my building. 

The bathroom mirror confirmed the worst.  I cursed under my breath as I took stock of my frightful appearance.  I looked woefully at the ratty, dirt-smudged beer hat crammed atop my birch-broom mop.  I silently chided myself for the day's worth of beard growth that might as well represent a week.  I grimaced at the sight of my nose, upper lip and chin cleft painted with dried hemoglobin.

To my poor traumatized customers I have only these three humble things to say:
  1. I'm sorry.
  2. Mom, please don't think that playing Dungeons & Dragons necessitates your child participating in some sort of blood-drinking Satanic rituals.
  3. I assure you that I'm not selling all of my stuff to support a raging cocaine habit.        

The French Chef by y10566

FAIL-ING THE PHYSICAL   See?!?  It's medical, dammit!!! 

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