Every once in a while, amidst the countless strings of chatter that is the MMORPG.COM forums, a poster will drop by and lay down the post-mortem of her or his MMO career complete with the level of disdain they feel for the "the way things have gone" in addition to the requiem for the level of excitement they no longer feel when playing these games. Often, the post will read like a scorning of the entire core of developers and players, and more often than not it will be a total load of BS as many, MANY of you, including myself, WILL return if for no other reason than to visit, and upon that return will only be wracked with the unnecessary guilt of having "sold out" your values. A concept that is weakening to both the spirit and the resolve.
Well, I want you all to think of me from now on as your dog. Dog as in Dawg, not as in the thing that you feed and wrestle with after work, because I'm going to help you out right here and right now.
Introducing the Big Bowl of Cereal story.
The big bowl of cereal story is a true story that I believe connects many of us together in a way that is pretty much undeniable. It encapsulates the entire concept of human desire and all of its dips, dives, and turns, and is, in my sincere opinion, the answer to many, many, many of the most angst ridden emotional problems you will have in your lifetime. Please feel free to share this story with any friend you may have who is having trouble staying in their marriage, keeping a job, staying in school, or leaving some poor girl/guy who is not interested in them alone as I believe that all of these problems, and so many more are just symptoms of this same, all consuming, situation.
And so I will begin.
When I was a kid my parents, like a lot of other parents, did not want me to eat a lot of sugary cereals. Now I am older than a lot of you reading this and so it wasn't as bad as only being able to eat Kix or something (god knows how you all made it through that without causing some real problems in your house), but it was as bad as only being able to have Corn Flakes (that we were allowed to put our own sugar on, yeah right) instead of Frosted Flakes or Rice Crispies instead of Frosted Rice Crispies.
Already I can hear the new schoolers, which in this completely abnormal case had it a lot harder than the old schoolers, saying "Are you freaking kidding me? You got to put your own sugar on your cereal?" Haha! Well yes I did, read it and weep! But on with the story.
In addition to not being able to have sugar cereals, we also could only eat cereal in a certain sized bowl.
Now my parents always told me that they were doing this because of the sugar, but I think you and I both know now that it was probably because of money. But that doesn't really matter since the results were the same. I just wanted to put that out there to let them know, if they were ever to read this, which they won't, that I am on to them.
So our favorite thing to do, my siblings and I, when my parents weren't at home was to get the biggest mixing bowl we could find and fill that bad boy up with cereal and sliced fruit, usually bananas or strawberries, peaches on a good day, and go to town on it. It was a family thing too, we all did it....seperately. Meaning that we did not get a big ole mixing bowl and share it, we each got a big ole mixing bowl individually and plopped down in front of the television to engorge ourselves in carbohydrate bliss in front of some Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (go figure).
So this went on for some time. My entire childhood to be exact. And my parents, each time they learned that we had done this, would throw a fit and threaten to never buy us cereal again. One time we literally had to eat nothing but oatmeal and cream of wheat for an entire summer, until we learned that those cereals could be dressed up just as well, if not better, with the inclusion of butter to the scenario.
So I, for one, when the time came, could not wait until the day that I finally had my own place and I could eat the big bowl of cereal while playing some Nintendo, with the stereo on in the background at the same time. Such a configuration would have given my poor mother an aneurysm had she been witness to it, but for me, it was not only a dream, it was a goal!
So there I was, around 20 or so, in my new place with my fairly new girl, and my new, big assed bowl of cereal. And it was good too! So good in fact that I ate big assed bowls of cereal for the entire first year outside of my parents house.
Then one day, for whatever reason, maybe I had gained too much weight, maybe I was tired of going into sugar coma's that caused me to wake up with the strangest sensations, whatever, I suddenly found that I no longer wanted the big bowl of cereal.
In fact, I don't think I wanted any more cereal AT ALL! Not Frosted Flakes, not Captain Crunch, not Frankenberry. I don't even think you could have enticed me back even if you had broke out a box of Quisp, which was a really hard cereal to get there for a while.
It seemed that my entire desire for cereal had run its course. Worse still, the same thing continued to happen for a lot of other things in my life that I had spent my life waiting to abuse as well like pizza, soda (or pop depending on where you live), potato chips, candy bars, WOMEN.
The honest truth of the matter was that I had just worn myself out. It wasn't that I no longer liked any of these things, quite to the contrary, I remembered every day I had spent with them with the utmost fondness. I had just gotten my fill of gorging myself on them to the point where I could take them or leave them, and that lack of urgency had turned into an almost complete indifference in lieu of other things that had taken hold on my psyche such as MMO games and learning everything there was to learn about everything.
I didn't really know this at the time though and so I acted the same way that everyone acts when they think that they are over something that they used to be quite fond of. I began to share my disdain for it to all in range of my ridiculous shouting voice.
"That crap is going to make you fat and rot your teeth!" Oh what a joy I must have been to be around in those days.
Then, one day, I happened to be in the grocery store with my wife and she says "You know what I want? I want some cereal! Let's go get some cereal!" So I'm like, "I'll walk over there with you but I really don't eat cereal anymore" looking down my nose at her as subtley but as sure as I could get away with. So we strolled over to the cereal isle and she got some Special K with Strawberries or something crazy that my parents would have loved her for, and something caught the corner of my eye that made me think, "Well, I guess an occasional bowl won't kill me."
So I put the box of Pops in the cart and went home and put them into a reasonable sized bowl and ate them up as though I were Daniel Plainview drinking a milkshake. I had another bowl the next day, and another bowl the next day upon which I had yet another bowl that night while watching Chopped on the Food Network.
Dude, Pops are good! So good in fact that after that box was gone, and that happened in pretty much no time at all, I never purposefully purchased another box of cereal again. But then the guilt set in. And for the next couple of years when cereal came into my house, usually because of my wife or my kids, I would just let it sit there and talk bad about it until it was gone.
Crazy, I know. But this is why I'm your dawg because I am sharing all of this crazy with you so that you don't have to go through it for yourself.
The point of all of this nonsense being that I didn't really ever stop liking cereal, I just ate too much of it for a really long time and it got boring to me. To this day in fact, if my wife or kids do bring cereal into the house that shit is as good as eaten the moment it hits the door, thus they have learned an important lesson about leaving the wrong things around old dad unattended for too long. But that doesn't mean that I have to feel guilty or wrong for not sticking to my cereal hating guns. It just means that I had to learn how to moderate my behavior. I do this by not being the one to suggest it, but also not just sitting in the pantry shouting at the cereal box, or worse, the family, until either it or they leave.
You see, for years I had blamed everything in the world on the things that I had decided that I had enough of like pizza, which was too fattening, or women, who were just too full of drama, when in fact all that was happening was that I was just growing up and my tastes were changing.
So before you go out and write your next manifesto to your boss, or to your wife, or to us here at the forums, scolding us for being unoriginal, not innovative enough, too supporting of the newer players or stupid for liking what you have, through your possible overuse, grown to hate, consider this...
You might just be tired of eating that big assed bowl of cereal you've been eating for all of these years and taking a break might not be such a bad idea.
You see, the whole time that I was going through my cereal crisis in my mind, there were millions, if not billions of children and adults all across the globe that were still enjoying a good, reasonable sized, if not big assed bowl of cereal just as much as I had enjoyed it back when I still enjoyed it.
It wasn't the cereal that had changed, it was me.
Besides, you can always come back, no one will hold it against you, we're all plopped down in front of the television right here with you and probably will still be here, in varying degree's of excitement or coma-like sleep, when you return. No reason to set fire to a bridge that you might, even for a visit, want to cross again some day. Especially when the likelyhood is that, if you do, you will be far more mentally prepared than you were the first time you were over on this side.
At least, that it is in my understanding.
Jesad (but you can just call me Dawg)
(Dedicated to Laura Genender - 1986 - 2008, a person I made laugh once. She left the game while I was pretending to be above it all and she is sorely missed.)