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 So Lame!

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despyzer
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PostSubject: So Lame!    Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:24 pm

Woodrow's Story

My mom thought it would sound classy, but by the time I became aware of my name in the social context, I thought it sounded like a hick's name, not that I have anything against rednecks. In some circles it sounds like a name for a black guy, not that I have anything against African-Americans. I just wasn't either of those things and didn't feel like the name Woodrow really represented me. It's a terrible way to start out your life, hating your own name, but I did and still do. I was always open to nicknames, and maybe I was too open to them because none of them really stuck. That's why I was so glad that I became a teacher. Everyone had reason to call me by my last name instead of my first. I intentionally created an air of formality at work so that everyone (students, teachers, peers, and even administrators) naturally wanted to refer to me as Mr. Tucker instead of Woodrow. Mr. Tucker fit me so much better. It expressed a sense of authority, but it still allowed me to display a bit of whimsy when I would introduce myself as Mr. Tucker "with a T," to show that I was in on the joke even before it became one.

Growing up, other than my first name, I really didn't have have much reason to complain. My middle-class parents provided for all of my needs and just enough of my wants. They showed me love without over-inflating my self-esteem. I was given room to make mistakes without being granted so much freedom as to endanger myself. My parents modeled the importance of education and self-expression. They gave me a big sister to offer me some guidance and a little brother to foster my sense of responsibility.

The only things I didn't really get enough of when I was growing up were food and attention. I don't fault my parents for either of these because my desire for both was inhuman. On a typical day, I would start with a box of cereal (the sugary kind before we really knew much better) and  four to eight pieces of toast with peanut butter, honey, or jelly on them with two or three large glasses of whole milk. Lunch would usually consist of two or three meat-and-cheese sandwiches, a bag of potato chips or something similar, an apple or orange, several cookies, and either a soda or chocolate milk to wash it down. My mom would usually fix a big dinner with a meat-based entree, a vegetable side dish or two, some sort of green, fruit, or pasta salad, and always a dessert. Even after all that, I used to wake up in the middle of the night because I was so hungry, and I'd sneak downstairs to see if I couldn't scrounge up some sort of snack to hold me over until breakfast. You'd probably assume that a kid with this kind of caloric intake would be the fattest boy in school, but I wasn't. I was embarrassingly thin. Kids in school would make fun of my long, skinny neck and my bony shoulders and my arms that were so thin that the blood vessels rose above the surface because there was little room for anything besides bone.

Just like no amount of food would suffice, no amount of attention would satisfy me either. I strove for good attention, but bad attention was also good. When I was too young to even begin forming memories, I climbed aboard the outdoor stage at a church picnic and sang a solo before hundreds of strangers. I tried out for the lead in every school play. I learned how to play the guitar and the trumpet to have more opportunities to perform. I got an announcer's job at the local radio station when I was in high school. I would try to be the teacher's pet when I could, but if I couldn't I quickly became the class clown. There was one play that I was in where I did not get the lead. I did unnecessary costume and makeup changes and then crossed the stage at odd times. With girls, I would play the nice guy, but if I could tell that it wasn't getting me anywhere, I'd be content to be the weird one, the dude who spouts off non-sequiturs and then acts like you are dumb if you don't get it. My skinny body was super-limber, so at school dances I would jump up and do the splits or put both of my legs behind my head and dance on my hands.

After college, I settled down. I got married to a wonderful woman and had two daughters who are beautiful in every sense of the word. Most of my attention needs were satisfied with my role as a teacher and my role as a family man. My desire for food though did not slow down nearly as quickly as my metabolism. Over the course of ten years or so I went from ridiculously thin to considerably overweight.

Then, the unthinkable happened - the biggest and perhaps only tragedy of my life - my wife was struck and killed by a teenage driver who had lost control of her vehicle while racing home after cheerleading practice. Trust me when I say that losing my beloved wife was terribly sad, but so was my level of preparedness for being a single father of two pre-teen girls. I did the best I could with them, but I wasn't even all that good at taking care of myself. I'm sure I was way too strict at times, far too loose at others, way too ignorant about menstruation and its effect on a young, female psyche, and much too selfish way too often. Somehow though, Cheryl and Anne turned out better than anyone could have predicted.

A few years later, another unthinkable event occurred. I became a multi-millionaire.


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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:13 pm

Ricky's Story

My dad set the bar pretty high. He'd been a member of Shore Patrol in the Navy, which made him something of a tough guy. He'd been around the world many times in his twenty-plus year military career and had spent a great deal of time in the Orient, so he had many amazing stories of bravado, machismo, and any other word ending in "o" that meant "I am more of a burly male specimen than you ever will be." He was part Charles Bronson and part Earnest Hemingway, and no son of his had a chance to live up to his expectations. Towards the end of his Naval stint, he married a good-natured Polynesian woman who would keep him from passing on his manliest genetic material, thus setting him up for even more disappointment.

For a great deal of my childhood I did everything I could to live up to all the pressure he put on me. I played Pop Warner football and PeeWee baseball. By any normal measure, I was pretty successful, but my father saw things differently. Fortunately, he also saw himself as a strategic mastermind, so the blame for many of my shortcomings was shared equally with my coaches.

When American children face that much pressure, some of them will work themselves until the point of exhaustion or worse. The more strong-willed, like myself, will rebel. Meeting Tucker, who only played sports because he liked them (and that's how he treated most everything in life), back in 6th grade was the catalyst I needed to create my own set of expectations for myself.

The way he expressed himself was so liberating. His passion for music, movies, and books was contagious. Some of the things he said or did and the way he dressed seemed to invite mockery, but he just seemed to eat it up, and that was revolutionary. I offered him a lot too. He finally had someone he could play off of and someone he could verbally joust with. I helped him be a better athlete. I got him into partying, which meant more of a social life and a lot more girls.

Not long after graduating high school, I married my sweetheart and started that long, awkward, uphill balancing act of post-secondary education, family, and career. It required frequent starts and stops, but I finally acquired my Master's in psychology and settled into a satisfying (but under-paying) life as a family therapist. Along the way, I became a doting and supportive father to Kerry and Timothy. The four of us were very happy and were making ends meet financially, but many months it felt like we were barely staying afloat. When Tuck called and told us he was suddenly a multi-millionaire, I was extremely happy for him, but also a tiny bit envious of him.


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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:55 pm

Chaz's Story

I really don't like talking about my parents very much. My dad was a loser and a pervert, and my mom was a fucked-up bitch who should have been surgically castrated right after her first period. My dad was never around much when I was growing up because he was either in prison or the nut-house. My mom divorced him sometime in the middle of all that shit because she's just that big of a sweetheart. She seemed to be punishing me for everything that my dad did, and she let my little sister get away with everything. She chose both extremes from the bad-parenting handbook.

I got a part-time job in high school and she gave me enough of an allowance so that I could move out. That's the only good thing she has ever done for me, including giving birth to me. After rent, utilities, pot, cigarettes, and beer, I barely had enough money for groceries, but I made it work. You might think that sounds like my priorities are out of whack, but the cigs, weed, and alcohol were absolute necessities, not luxuries. Eating's important, but not as important as that other shit.

Ricky was a year or two ahead of me in school. He was kind of everything I wasn't but wished I was. He was athletic, popular, had a way with the girls, and all that shit. Most of all, he was cool to me when he didn't really have any reason to be. He mostly hung out with this Woodrow guy, who was kind of cool but a bit too straight-laced for my liking. A friend of mine put it best when describing Woodrow. He said he was like "the Mr. Rogers of partying." For the most part Ricky was pretty straight too, but he wasn't quite so black-and-white with it, and he wasn't so high and mighty with it like Woodrow could sometimes be. Woody was occasionally fun to be around, but he could also be annoying as all fuck way too often. When I hung out with Ricky, we sort of seemed like we were on equal footing, even though life dealt me a shittier hand. Whenever Tuck entered the equation, whether he meant for it to be this way or not, I usually felt like I was crap.

Seeing I had no foothold in life, I wasn't given a lot of options. I joined the military but got kicked out in boot camp when my drug test came through. I bounced (or got bounced) around from job to job - construction, bartending, caregiver at the adult retard home, fast food, grocery clerk, any place I could get an even break.

One night I was out at this topless bar and pretended to be a bit of a big-spender. Not like some of those guys who go crazy, but more than I probably should have considering my budget. As a result, this one stripper showed me some interest. Her name was Julie, and she wasn't the hottest chick in the joint, but she was better than I was used to getting. Out of all those guys that were in there staring at her and offering her money, she was showing me the most interest. That was a pretty big boost to my ego, so after the place closed, I asked her to go out and she said yes. We dated for awhile and fought a lot during that time, but couples do that shit. She got pregnant, so I married her in the courthouse. It wasn't long after she gave birth to our second boy that she started fucking around on me. I couldn't handle that shit, so I divorced her, but she got custody of my sons. I hate that bitch, but I have to deal with her in order to see my kids and be a good dad, so what can I do?

When Ricky contacted me on Facebook and told me about Woodrow becoming a fucking millionaire, I just about went homicidal, but then I remembered that this is the kind of shit-life I live.


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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:34 pm

Wes's Story

I grew up on a farm. Some people think that farmers are simple, but I think growing up a farmer makes you tough and resourceful. I wouldn't have been raised that way if my real dad hadn't cut out on us, but I think I'm better off. My real dad didn't have much to offer us anyway. My mom got re-married right away, but me and my step-dad didn't get along too well. I just did my work and tried to keep my head down the best I could. He treated my two little sisters a lot nicer than he did me, which sucked, but at least I knew he had some kindness in him. By the time I got into high school and could be the most use on a farm, my step-dad and I had butted heads once too often, so he kicked me out for good.

I ended up moving in with my grandparents who lived a couple of towns over. I hated the idea of switching schools and starting all over though. That first day was a nightmare, everybody staring at me like was some sort of hick. But after school, this dude Woodrow comes up to me and treated me like I was a human being. Maybe he looked down on me because he thought he was smarter than me or more cultured than me, but at least he took the time to ask me my name and find out who I was. All the time we went to school, he always took my side, and I'll never forget that.

Unfortunately, my dear sweet mom had a bunch of health problems that took her life way too early, and she passed those problems on to me. I only made them worse with all of my drinking and smoking and everything else. At this point I have a hard time seeing, walking, and breathing. I'd ask God to put an end to it all if I wasn't having so much damned fun.

I've got a kid with a girl I dated in high school and a couple more with my psycho ex-wife. I haven't been able to have a relationship with any of them except for through the internet. The internet's also how I found out my old buddy Woodrow became a millionaire.


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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:56 pm

Lee's Story

Chaz thinks he had it tough. He has lived a charmed life compared to what I've been through. Chaz's parents simply had nothing to offer him, so he got nothing. At least that's fair. My parents had everything and simply chose to deny me so that they could shower my little brother with all of it. "Can I have $5 to get some bread and cheese to pack for lunch-time sandwiches this week?" "No, Lee, you can't have $5 because we are spending $500 on your brother's guitar lessons." That's the kind of crap I put up with all my life.

If Woodrow weren't my cousin, he wouldn't mean shit to me. That guy has been given everything in life, and what has he done with it? Nothing. He's a fucking schoolteacher. You know what schoolteachers are good for? They induce boredom and hope that it produces some amount of conformity. I got all A's and B's in school and scored in the upper-1400's on the old SATs, but the only thing I ever learned in school is that if you have a smart idea, you better keep your fucking mouth shut. That's Tucker all over: boredom and conformity. He had a little spark for awhile, back when I hung out with him in high school, but that spark was quickly extinguished by the smothering blanket that is the married, lower-middle class lifestyle.

Now, my friend Ricky has somehow managed to avoid some of those pitfalls. Of course, he hasn't lived up to his potential either, but at least he isn't a schoolteacher. Schoolteacher? Isn't that supposed to be a woman's job? But Ricky can be solid. He's suitably amazed by the stories of my great adventures. He's impressed by how well I've done (hot cars, hotter women, tales of ribald and revelry) with so little. I really am the physical manifestation of the American Dream. Life keeps throwing feces at me like it's a methed-out monkey at the zoo, but I turn those steamy fastballs of shit into diamond-encrusted platinum bars.

I'm sure it's some sort of cruel joke that once again Woodrow was handed the world, despite doing nothing to deserve it. He'll definitely fuck it up, but I'll be right there to turn it into something amazing when he does.


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PostSubject: Woodrow's Response   Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:04 am

Woodrow's Response
Lee's claims are usually specious at best. For instance, he claims that I'm his cousin, but that's because my sister used to be married to one of his uncles many years ago. There's no blood relation there. He has made so many wild claims that have been proven to be unfounded that I question everything out of his mouth that I don't already know to be the truth. He claims he has a bachelor's degree, even though none of us know of a time when he even talked about taking internet courses, and we are almost positive he doesn't even have a high school diploma. To hear him tell it, he has been all around the world, made love to Hollywood starlets and supermodels, hung out with rock stars and athletes, gained and been screwed out of millions of dollars. He's been contacted by record companies to play guitar and by NHL hockey franchises to do some consultant work. There's rarely any evidence to any of it, but his stories are a lot of fun. I will say that he does have a great sense of humor and a livid sense of adventure. He can be exceptionally charming, at least for a few weeks. He's one of those people who really energizes you, but it's usually just so he can drain you. I do believe that his pain is real. I just don't know how much of the story that caused that pain is real.

Wes will always be important to me because he taught me the lessons of loyalty. I have no idea why I struck up a conversation with him that one day. I've never been the new kid in town, so I had no real reason to empathize with him. Smoking by the bike rack in his boots and jean jacket, he wasn't the type of guy I normally made friends with, but something compelled me. Maybe it was simple curiosity.

One thing we did have in common was a love of music, a love of books (particularly fantasy literature), and a love for romantic ideals. Both of us saw ourselves as chivalrous knights cast out of time. Ricky, Wes, and I started playing role-playing games together, and that created a deep bond between the three of us. We not only got to live out outrageous and incredible fantasies, but it also allowed us to explore each other's psyches, our frailties, our values in a way that teenage boys can't do by just playing on sports teams or partying and hanging out.

After high school, Wes and I saw less and less of each other and had less and less in common. If not for Facebook, we probably would have slipped out of each other's lives for good.

Chaz is kind of pathetic. He chooses to focus on all of the things he never got in life instead of taking advantage of all the things he did receive. When he's sober and in good spirits, he has a sharp mind. He's funny and creative. Maybe he wasn't dealt the best hand in life, but you don't need to have the best hand to win in poker. It's about knowing how to play with what you've got. I don't dislike the guy, but sometimes his outright distaste for me can be a bit too much to take. We disagree on way too many issues in life, and sometimes I feel like if he doesn't have a stance, his default position is "whatever is the opposite of what Tucker thinks."

I do consider Chaz a friend, even if he is a combative one, but the truth is he is more of Ricky's friend and desperately wishes he could be even more of Ricky's friend. I think that might be the root of some of his dislike for me. It's not that we are diametrically opposed, or oil and water, or anything like that, but it's because I'm Ricky's best friend and Chaz is just Ricky's really good friend.

I had friends, and I had a brother, but Ricky was more than both of those. Others didn't quite get how deeply we connected. People who liked one of us generally didn't like us when we were together because any third person was bound to feel excluded. We never meant for anyone to feel like that, but there simply was no room left for anyone else once the two of us filled up each other's company. Most people, of course, didn't care because neither of us were important enough to them. Some, like our wives, had enough self-confidence that they were relatively comfortable with the situation. A few, like Wes, just accepted it and did their best in those circumstances. But others, were frustrated by or jealous of the closeness of that relationship and pushed really hard to get in there.

Ricky's probably the one who had the biggest influence on me growing up, and I would expect him to say the same of me. In that way, we are somewhat responsible for each other's faults and failures, strengths and successes. Although we had lived in separate states for most of our adult lives, we still kept in close touch, mostly due to Ricky's diligence. I loved him and his family more than I loved my own brother and sister and their families. After I had told my daughters and my parents, Ricky was the very next person I called with the news.


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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:52 am

Woodrow's Call
I knew I needed to contact an attorney right away and I certainly needed to hire an accountant so I wouldn't become one of those lottery disaster stories. Before I did either of those things though, I called Ricky.

"Hello?" he answered.

"You won't believe this, man!" I could barely speak through all of my excitement, but I wanted this to be as dramatic as I could make it.

He hesitated. "What?"

"I'm a multi-millionaire. I have more money than I should ever be allowed to spend!"

"What?" He repeated in disbelief. "What are you talking about? How did this happen?"

"Our PTSA bought all of us teachers a lottery ticket for Teacher Appreciation Week."

"No freakin' way." He interrupted.

"Yep. I was the sole winner of the jackpot. Isn't that crazy? I'm like the first person who ever became rich by being a teacher!"

"Yeah, crazy! So how much did you win?"

"The jackpot was about 160 million, but I ended up with just under 100 million."

"Damn...."

"I know!"

"So now you're going to have to do it."

I played back tapes in my brain, trying to recall if I ever made any stupid bets where if I ever became a millionaire I would have to give him half or something, but those tapes were all blank. "Mmmmm..." I asked hesitantly, "Do what?"

"We always used to talk about what we would do if we became rich beyond our wildest dreams. Wes was going to buy an industrial ranch. Lee was going to build a destination recording studio/bachelor hang. I was going to hire all of you so we could do international Peace Corps-style missions. Chaz was going to try to be a drug kingpin...."

"And I was going to build the ultimate gaming compound. Yeah, we all say stupid things when we're discussing pipe dreams and nothing's really on the line."

"Oh, come on. You gotta do it. Don't go limping out on me here."

"No, I don't 'gotta' do anything. I will admit that I still do love the idea, but I've got to be practical here. I'm not only in this for myself, but I've got to think about my girls."

"Shoot, you're smart enough that you're not going to blow this opportunity for them, but even if you did - worst-case scenario, you are right back to where you are now. You've got nothing to lose."

"You're right about one thing. I am smart enough not to blow this for my daughters, and that's why this is never going to happen."

Since my wife passed, no one knows how to work me like Ricky. He knows I can be manipulated if you appeal to my ego and my desire for authority. He also knows when I have completely shut an idea down and knows he's not going to get anywhere, and he knew that this was not one of those times.

We had many conversations over the next few months, and he would always build up the idea of my gaming compound. He'd bring up the designs I had in mind. He'd talk about ways that I could incorporate and even benefit my daughters in this plan. One day, I decided he was right and quietly purchased over 250 acres in the foothills of the Rockies of Western Montana. I was playing with house money, more than a reasonable person would ever spend. Why shouldn't I use some of it to live out a lifelong fantasy?


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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:09 am

Ricky's Call
One thing I know, if I can get Tuck properly motivated, then he is all in, and this was no exception. All of us grew up in Montana, so it was no surprise that he chose to place our compound there, even though none of us had lived in that state for years.  I gave him a call to keep updated (and maybe give my input) on his plans and to keep those fires stoked.

"The initial plan calls for three full-time residences - one for my family, one for yours, and one that will be apartments for whomever is gaming with us."

"Have you contacted anyone else about this yet?" I asked.

"Not yet."

"Who are you going to invite."

"The usual suspects."

That wasn't good. I loved those guys, but many of them were likely to flake out or not be involved because Tuck could sometimes be a bit of a control freak when he was in charge of something. If Tuck got discouraged, he could very well bail on the entire project. "That's good. Keep your options open. Don't limit yourself to just those guys."

"Yeah, I'm not worried about it."

That was a good response. He probably wasn't all that worried about it. "So what else? How about the gaming center?"

"It's going to be a small, domed auditorium with lots of glass. The sound system and video display in there are going to be intense. The entrances to all of the gaming rooms are going to look like closet doors, but will in fact lead to spiral staircases that lead underground. Each staircase will gradually shift from looking like the auditorium when you fist step down to whatever genre the room is designated for: fantasy, sci-fi, western, gangsters, and whatever. There will be a dining room and full kitchen attached the the auditorium, but each gaming room will also have a small kitchen and bathroom. Each one will also have its own stereo system, laptop stations, and two overhead projectors - one facing the wall and one facing down onto the gaming table. Of course there will be plenty of comfortable chairs and lots of storage and shelf space."

"Nice. You're doing this up right. Have you thought about that basketball court I suggested?"

"Better. There's going to be a small gymnasium with a half-court, jacuzzi, showers, and a weightlifting room."

"Dang!"

"In town, I purchased a little office building there so that you can continue your counseling practice, rent-free."

"That's pretty cool. Are you really going to keep teaching?

"Yeah, I worked out this deal with the local school district. I'm going to make some donations to improve the school media centers, and they are going to allow me some flexibility in my classes. I'm going to take over the creative writing class and begin a film analysis class too. I'm starting a RPG club that will meet at the compound twice a week after school."

"I guess that sounds really good, but why are you even bothering with all that?"

He hesitated, so I knew a thoughtful response was coming. "The same reason you are continuing your practice. The work is important, and it's important to be a relevant contributor to your community."

"Good enough. If you're happy with it, I am."

"Oh, I also lined up up a job for your wife if she wants it. My contractor is expanding his operation with all of this work I am throwing his way, and he needs an additional secretary/salesperson. Talk it over with Becky and see if she's interested, but I bet she would do a great job with this."

"Yeah, I think she might be interested." And she would be, but this seemed like Tuck might be taking things too far. I know he just wanted things to go well, but he really could get pushy sometimes. "Hey, when do you think we can all move in?"

"The contractor says it will all be done by next Spring. If he runs behind schedule, we should still be able to to move in by the end of that summer, in plenty of time for the beginning of the school year."

"That will be Timothy's senior year. That's going to be tough on him." I had high hopes for Timothy's senior year. He had already made varsity in football and was the starting small forward on the basketball team. His coaches liked him and had big plans to give him more playing time and more attention. I'd like to think my dad would be proud of him if he was still alive, but I doubt it. He'd think Timothy was lazy and not living up to his potential, which was true. Still, I was proud of him and wanted him to get everything out of his high school experience that he could.

"Yeah, I get that. I tell you what. I'll talk to my realtor about looking at some rentals. You can move as soon as you we arrange something for you if you like."

"Wow, yeah, I'll talk to everyone here about that. Kerry is already making plans to transfer to the University of Montana, and she'll be staying in the dorms there. What about your girls?"

"Well, Cheryl has her job and her boyfriend and her dog and her whole life here in South Carolina. She's going to Skype and visit and stuff like that, but she's going to remain behind. Anne is gearing up for medical school. She wants to finish up at the school she is at, and then she's going to try to find the best school that will take her."

"Are you going to make a 'donation" to make that any easier for her?"

"I'd like too, and I've offered, but she says she wants to do this right and do as much on her own as possible."

"Man, good for her!"

"I know. I don't know where she gets that. She's always had that inner drive that I've never had."

"Well, it's not that hard to figure out. Out of all of us, you have always been the hardest worker."

"Sure, but I don't know if that's saying much."

"Touche."


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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:13 pm

Woodrow's Rules
Ricky had given me some of the lowdown as to what Woody was up to. Seeing we seemed to disagree a lot, I wasn't positive that I was going to get included in this big compound plan or not. Even if I did get an invite, I wasn't sure I was going to want to be involved. Tuck has a way of shoving all of his values down your throat. I understand the concept of "your ball, your rules," but I also understand the importance of walking away from the game if the rules get to be more than you can take. Tuck's rules were way too restricting. He didn't like when I would exercise my freedom of speech by cussing freely. He didn't like me "partaking of the herb" like his good Lord told us to in Genesis. He didn't like music that was too fast, too loud, too hard, or too awesome. He didn't like it when I drank to the point of puking and passing out. He didn't like me smoking around him. In short, he didn't like all the things that I enjoy and make me me. When the call came, I felt ready to stand my ground.

"So here's my offer," he started. "You get to stay in one of the apartments on the compound rent-free. I have hired a chef who will prepare meals to be eaten in the auditorium dining room three times a day. You can eat with us for free as often as you like. I will keep your refrigerator stocked with domestic beer. You'll have 24 hour access to the gaming rooms and the gym. I'll have my accountant send $250 a month in your name for each of your kids until they turn 18 so that you can help support them."

"That all sounds good, but what are you expecting of me in return?"

"You'll be our Gamemaster. That'll be your full-time job. You can also get a part-time job if you want, and we will play around your schedule."

"So I'll always have to ref? I can never play in any of the games?"

"Well, you know how things go. Obviously as the ref you can have as many PCs as you want. Also, it's always seemed to be the case that the better of a job that someone does at being GM, it inspires others to come up with their own stories and want to play them."

"Huh, it always seemed to me that when someone did a good job it fell upon them to always be the GM because they did such a good job with it."

"Okay, that's fair. That does happen sometimes. But bottom line, I am setting you up in a position where you will have no real expenses if you don't want them, and you'll get to spend most of your time playing games."

"Yeah, but what if I want to have a smoke?"

"Well, hopefully you won't want to smoke in the gym. The gaming rooms aren't exceptionally big, so it would be pretty rude for you to smoke in any of them. Is it too much to ask for you to just smoke outside?"

"What about in my apartment?" This was going to be a fight, I could tell already.

Tuck drew a long sigh. "It's a brand new apartment with brand new furnishings. The only things in it that will have had any use at all will be whatever you bring. Honestly, I hate the idea of tobacco smoke having direct contact with all of that. Once that smell gets in there, it never goes away. You can understand that, right?"

"Yeah, I can understand that. You are saying that I stink and I stink up everything I come in contact with. Well, fuck this, man." I hung up on him. I knew that wasn't really what he was getting at, but it was a negotiating tactic. If I could get him to bend on this and a couple more things that I knew were going to be an issue, then this might be a pretty good deal.


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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:04 pm

Ricky and Chaz's Call
My phone rang about an hour after that. I figured it was probably Woody wanting to re-negotiate.

"Hello?"

"Damn, you are blowing this." It was Ricky.

"So Woody called you, huh? Nah, I got this."

"I don't think you do. He called me to say he was moving on without you. He's going to put out some internet ads, and he hopes to start interviewing people next week. If you want something from Tucker, you don't make outrageous demands and hang up on him. If you want in on thi..."

"Man, fuck Tuck! I'm not going to suck his cock just because he won the lottery!"

"Well, yeah, in that case you're right. Personally, I'm kind of surprised he even asked you to do that. Was it going to be an hourly thing or just every once in awhile or what?"

"You know what I mean, and you know how he can be."

"I'm sure this is going to piss you off, but all he's asking you to do is not to smoke in this brand-new beautiful apartment that he is going to let you stay in for free."

"But I smoke almost all of the time. If I have to go outside every time I have to smoke, I might as well live outdoors. It'd be too fuckin' inconvenient to go outside two hundred times a day." Just having this conversation was seriously pissing me off, and Ricky could tell.

"If you two are coming to odds this quickly over this little of a thing. It might be best if you passed on it anyway. You're making this thing way too contentious. I think you might end up regretting it though."

"Maybe I'll just hold out for the deal you're getting. You're getting a complete house, and you don't have to do shit!"

"He's making me keep my full-time job. man! He's not stocking my fridge with beer! He's not sending any money to my kids."

I burst out laughing. "He's making you what?"

"Yeah, he's got it in his head that I have the same work ethic he does, and that I'd feel purposeless without my practice, so I've got to do it. I mean, maybe he's right."

"No, fuck that! Who the hell is he to say who has to work what?"

"Hey, his house, his rules. Nobody's making you play, and nobody's making me play. Hey, if this lottery deal never took place, I'd be working full-time anyway, and this way I get to hang out with my friends, live in a nice new house rent-free, and play games most of the time. I really don't see too much downside. Plus, you could never get the deal I am getting."

"I know that. Is he coming up with a bunch of other rules for you to follow too?"

"He really doesn't even need to. He knows I'm not going to do the kind of stuff that's going to piss him off anyway. We're kind of on the same wavelength there."

"But what if you wanted to do something that you did know he was going to have a problem with?"

"I'd probably just go off his property to do it."

"You don't think that seems a bit fascist?"

He drew a deep breath and let it out. "No, Chaz. I don't, but I'll agree with you that you and I do tend to see things like this differently. I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just saying that you have to decide if the fun that is being offered to you is worth whatever hassle you feel you'll be going through. I bet that if you asked most people, they'd say you're being an idiot."

"So what else is new?"


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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Thu Jun 18, 2015 7:16 pm

Chaz's Last Chance

Ricky called me after he talked to Chaz and told me about their conversation. A negotiation tactic really didn't make a lot of sense to me when only one side has anything to negotiate with, so I decided to go a whole different direction.

"So let's try this again. I'm willing to pay the expenses to move you to Montana. I'm scrapping the entire idea of the apartments though. You showed me I really don't want to mess with all of that. I can talk to my realtor about finding you a suitable place to live if you want, but that's up to you. I'm not asking anything of you but to play games with us when you can and to try to behave while you're at my place. I'm starting to accumulate some people who owe me some favors, so I can try to round up a job for you if you like. That's it. I'm not going to be your employer, and I'm not going to be your landlord. I'm just a guy trying to make it easy for you to join your friends and have some fun."

"Can I still get that fridge stocked with beer?"

"No."

"Damn. That was the only part of that deal that I liked." Chaz hesitated on the other end. "Well, I liked the idea of helping out my kids too."

"Once you get a job, I'll let you sit down with my accountant, and you two can figure something out that you can do for them."

More hesitation, and then," How soon do I have to decide?"

"It's an open-ended offer. Unless you do something really weird or stir up crap and piss me off, it'll always be an option for you as long as I have the money and the compound."

"See? There always has to be a condition with you."

I knew he was kidding with me, but I wanted him to know I was serious about the offer. "Yes, and I only think it's fair to let you know what the conditions are ahead of time."

"Okay, well... I'll let you know."


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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Thu Jun 18, 2015 7:47 pm

Wes's Role

Woodrow called me up and offered me a job.

"I want you to be my campus security guy." he said.

I knew he was throwing me a bone, and I didn't want to hurt his feelings, so I thought for awhile on how I should answer him. "No," I finally said.

He chuckled on the other end. "What?"

"No," I repeated.

"Huh," he hesitated. "Can I ask why?"

"Because I'd suck at it. What good would a security guy be who can't run and can't see very well? I didn't want to get into this with you because I know you're just trying to be nice, but your offer is a little insulting."

"What? How is it insulting? You don't even know the details." He did seem hurt.

"I can take care of myself. I appreciate it, but I don't need you to make up a job for me, especially one that is going to remind me of how crappy my health is all the time. It's only going to make me feel weak and run-down and shitty."

There was another long pause. "Hey, Wes. I gotta tell you that you and I think of you in completely different ways. You see yourself as old and run-down. I think of you as Barbarian warrior. You're freakin' Conan in my mind. I didn't just make this job up. I'm pouring millions of dollars into this compound. There's a ton of acreage and there's a lot of expensive equipment that will be in our houses, the auditorium, and the gym and whatnot. I'm going to hire someone for this job anyway, and you were the first person who came to mind."

"That's nice of you and everything, but I can't do it."

"Why not, Wes?"

My emotions were starting to get the best of me, and I couldn't believe he was making me say this again. "Because my eyes and my legs and my lungs don't work right! It doesn't really matter how you see me. The reality is that I would suck. I have enough disappointments in my life. I don't want  to be my own biggest disappointment that I have to face all the time!"

"Okay, Wes, okay. I'm going to think about what you've told me. I'll either figure something out or come to accept what you are telling me. But hey, promise me you won't harden your heart over this. Tell me that you'll keep an open mind that I might be able to make this work. Is that cool?"

"Yeah, it's cool. I'll do that. I promise you."
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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:43 pm

Woodrow's Answer

I'd contacted a service that installs security systems. We decided to place motion-sensored surveillance at several key points throughout the compound. There would be a monitoring station that would also serve as a guard house at the gate. We also decided to build a small residency adjoining this station for the head of security. Once I explained to Wes that all I needed was for him to analyze the heat-registered figures that appeared on the surveillance monitors when they popped up and call for sheriff assistance if he thought the situation warranted it, he agreed that this was something he could do and do well. He would have three other people working for him who would take turns manning the station and occasionally doing perimeter checks or rounds of the campus. I also explained to him that I wanted him to have the authority to take action against any of our regular gamers if they were breaking the law or breaking compound rules. Wes commanded a certain amount of respect due to his toughness, and his current debilitation still didn't detract from that reputation.

So with three of us on board, a professional GM, and any other gamers we might find in the community, we now just had to wait for the compound to be built. The first building to get erected would be my home, then the residence for Ricky and his family, and then the monitoring station and security chief residence. At that point we could begin moving in and oversee the construction of the auditorium and finally the gym. With so much extra land at our disposal, I also was tinkering around with the idea of a paint-gun course or some other outdoor activity.

As soon as construction began, the locals got curious. I was careful never to use the word "compound" around them because that's a word that arouses some suspicion in places like Western Montana and Northern Idaho. A few times the sheriff had to be called because teenagers were having keggers on the property or interlopers were poking around the construction equipment. My contractor hired a sub-contractor to begin immediate work on the fence, the gate, and the monitoring station. When you build out in the "boonies," there will always be delays as you wait for parts, equipment, supplies, what-have-you. This experience was no exception. I'm not going to share how much money all of the land, labor, and construction cost me, but it was definitely more than I was initially planning on plunking down. There were still plenty of expenses that lay ahead of me, but my accountant hooked me up with a good investment manager, and I was actually making a decent amount of money through that. My lawyer drew up contracts for everyone who would be living on the compound and/or under my employ. It wouldn't be long until we could start moving in.
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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:58 pm

Chaz's Return

There's a part of me that thinks I gave Woody such a hard time is because I didn't think it would actually happen. Another part of me probably didn't even want it to happen. Having Tuck in control of anything that involves me or any of my friends kind of gets under my skin a bit. It would be like being an ultra-liberal and conceding the federal government to Reagan and the Young Republicans again. Maybe it doesn't completely destroy the country, but it's going to be a pain-in-the-ass the entire time and will cause damage that it may take decades to undo.

Still, as I got updates from Ricky about how the initial construction was almost over and how they were moving from their Montana rental into their compound residence, I did feel like I was missing out on the fun. I had stood my ground and got Tuck to change his mind on what the compound was supposed to include, so that was a victory in my book. He also had to drastically change his plans on how I would be included in the whole ordeal, so that was one in my win column also. At this point, I could afford to lose a little face if it came off like that.

The call to inform Woody of my acceptance went okay mostly. He acted happy that I was going to accept his latest offer, but I couldn't help but hearing that smug contentedness scream in my face. It was almost as if that pretentious asshole thought he was doing me some kind of favor. I almost changed my mind and told him to shove it up his ass, but I decided I'd see if I couldn't try to play along and have a good time in spite of fuckin' Tuck.
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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:52 pm

Woodrow's Surprise

I had moved into my place; Ricky had moved into his. The fence was up, as was the fully-staffed monitoring station. Wes and I hired some young guys who had good reputations in the community. They would certainly soon leave us for family and better careers, but we had quality help for the mean time. The auditorium was nearing completion, and then work on the gymnasium would begin. Anything beyond that could wait until the compound had that "lived-in" feeling.

I had received a call from Jerry, one of the security guards, that someone was at the gate wanting to speak with me. This happened all day long, and it was usually solicitors. Jerry told me that this guy said he knew me. Once again, a lot of people said they knew me now.

"He said to tell you that it's your cousin Lee."

As I've said before, Lee's not really my cousin, but I am okay with that affectation. The problem is, he generally only calls me his cousin when he wants something from me, when he's trying to be manipulative. Maybe all he wanted was access to the compound though, to say hello or whatnot, and figured saying he was my cousin might sound better than saying he was some jerk who annoys the crap out of me. "I'll come down and get him."

I had purchased a set of luxury golf carts that could be used to buzz around the asphalt paths that we placed between the buildings and  the main gate. I jumped in one and headed down to greet my "cousin." He was standing by his Mazda RX-8 in his fashionable shades and a terribly wide grin that seemed like it would have been better suited to a shark.

Still grinning, he rifled off, "I heard you needed some help!"

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah, Ricky told me you were floundering! He said you were in need of someone with some real leadership skills to come in and make this place work. Hell, I'm not even going to make you beg me. We'll just need to decide on a title and decent compensation. We could go with something like "Corporate Vice President" or maybe something more low-key like "Compound Manager." I assume I will be bunking with you until you can get my place built. Where are you planning on putting it anyway or were you waiting for me to pick out a spot. That's actually a pretty good idea. I was thinking it might be nice to be near the gym so I can conveniently school all of you in basketball when you need to be reminded of my athletic superiority."

He stopped for a quick breath, and a normal person would have been done speaking for a moment, but he needed that breath so that he could cackle at his own wittiness. He stopped leaning against his car and approached me. "So how the hell are you, Tuck? I drove all this way to see my favorite cousin, and you have barely said two words to me." More cackling. "But seriously, what do you want me to do?"

"Do? Um, Lee, why don't you park inside the gate here, and then we can head to my place and talk things through."

"Sure, whatever you want, Tuck. You're in charge. Your place; your rules." A slight cackle followed.


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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:39 pm

Lee's Plan

That interaction tells you everything you would ever need to know about the difference between me and Woodrow. He was shocked (shocked!) that I would just show up and include myself in his plans without being asked. That's because he is used to having things handed to him; he's used to be included in things. I've had to fight and scramble for everything I've ever had in this life. Nobody handed me anything that I didn't take from them.

He told me that he didn't have any employment for me and that he wasn't going to build a place for me to live like he did Ricky and Wes (and offered to build for Chaz). He'd help me find a place to rent in town and help me find a job. I didn't need his help. I could and did both of things much better than he could. He said I could use the gym and join them during gaming sessions, but I was going to do those things anyway. He wouldn't have been able to stop me from doing that.

Chaz was a fucking idiot. Tuck offered to set him up, but he let his own ignorant ideals keep him from taking advantage. Rest assured, I have no noble concepts to hold me back. A wise man once said "You're in the jungle, baby!" I wasn't born the king of that jungle, but I sure as hell am the motherfucking usurper of the crown. I'm going to smile and laugh. I'll play the good soldier. I'll be the scroungy dog waiting for the scraps. If the scraps aren't big enough, I'll find another table. Otherwise, I'll wait until you are mesmerized by my charm and big, sad eyes. I'll gain your trust and then jump up on the table and clean every fucking plate while your back is turned.


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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:55 pm

Lee's Plea to Ricky

I like having my friends around, and I like helping out my friends when they are in need however I can, so I have always held the welcome mat out for people to come stay at my house. When these friends have been turned out of other places, it makes me look like an even nicer guy, which is gravy. So when Lee told me that he wanted to crash on our couch, I told him that would be fine. Tucker had two empty rooms, but I can see why he wouldn't want Lee in those rooms that he had set aside for his daughters. Personally, I was looking forward to it. Lee can be a blast. He has a way of boosting your ego up where his is, and of course everyone else is human garbage. Sure, he can be super-annoying at times, but he usually leaves all on his own before he ever becomes unbearable.

That first night he took one of the golf carts off-roading and wrecked it. Wes had to bring him back to the house and told me to make sure he stayed there. I wasn't sure I could, but I told Wes I would. Lee usually has a pretty good sense about when he's gone a bit too far, so he he just watched television (bitching all the time about the Wi-Fi speed and the position of the couch in regards to the TV and the quality of the pillow and comforter we provided him and the lack of snacks he was offered) until he dozed off for the night.
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PostSubject: Re: So Lame!    Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:02 pm

Jerry: The First GM

I still liked the idea of hiring a professional GM. Without one, we may never actually get anything done and then all this was for nothing. After an initial screening, applicants would run us through a game of his choosing. First up was a local college student named Jerry. His game of choice was a favorite of ours: D&D.

Ricky, Wes, Chaz, Lee, and myself rolled up 1st-level characters. He definitely didn't workout, so I'll spare you all of the details, but here are some highlights:

"You are surrounded by more than a dozen orcs.
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