Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Life Lessons

I received the recent criticism of only writing for people only involved in competitive magic, and cutting the laymen a tad short, well for this articleI should write, for well the game in general. A long time ago, Tom Rose asked me to write an essay about life lessons from Magic. This was years ago, and knowing his memory, he might not remember, but I still feel somewhat obliged. Besides I am in a very introspective mood. Well I guess that brings me to lesson one:

1. Be confident in what you do, but never arrogant. Humility is important, confusing but important (lol esoteric rules joke). Put yourself in the right framework.

Honestly I would probably just say I am competent at the game, someone like Dan Jordan is good at the game, Gerry Thompson is great at the game, and the Finkels, LSVs, Nassifs, and Buddes are truly awesome. Everything really needs a framework for improvement. Many people I see get real confident and well basically assume there unstoppable, as soon as you do that, well you headed right into a wall. Be truthful about yourself, sure you smart and good, but look for areas of improvement.
I dated a girl back at Marist, and she said was probably more moral than 99.9% of human beings. That promptly end our relationship (not on the spot, more like wow that’s stupid), cause it’s just impossible. Sure you can be good, but how many tough ethical decisions do you make a day? Probably none. Same goes to magic, sometimes you play like a pro, but we all slip and well noob it up.

That said…

2. Just cause you aren’t the best, even good at something try it out, it could be lame, people might make fun of you, but hey f_K em.

A while back I got into writing lame poetry, at first it was to impress someone (I am looking at you Panos), but after awhile I found it aesthetically pleasing. I also started this blog to blog about gay erotica and then it turned into a magic blog. Both have been well mediocre to terrible, but hey irritating people is fun too. Sure you might lose a lot in magic, but hey really the journey is the most important bit. If you’re not good at draft, try type two, not good at that, try edh, not good at all of those, well play anyway if it’s fun to try and improve, besides I really need my rating to increase. I think Babe Ruth said it best:

“I spent my money on women, cars and booze, the rest I squandered”

Oops wrong Ruth quote,

“The fear the striking out should never stop you from hitting a home run”

Sorry about the technical difficulties, my point is hit at the hot girl at the end of the bar, apply to that job that’s a reach, and try a new hobby, cause at the end of the day they could all lead to good things or not. But heck we all know what happens when you do nothing.

“Gee, its lonesome in the outfield. It's hard to keep awake with nothing to do”

-Babe Ruth

3. Be pleasant, be a good sport, try and obey the rules, but never forget the most important rule of standing up for yourself and keeping your honor intact. If you don’t have honor, you don’t have much.

I pretty much always shake hands after matches, a long time ago I beat a player, and he refused to shake hands with me after the match because A. I suck B. He was mana screwed. At the end of the day, well we all know who looked real bad at life rather than magic. A lot of people also say you should only shake after a tight match or a big match. Why not every match? Sportsmanship is important and shaking confirms the legitimacy of the result.

That’s not to say shake EVERY match, as if someone’s a jerk, is cheating, or hates life. One PTQ that I went to in NYC a few months ago, I beat my opponent but never opted to shake, why? the whole time he complained about my deck choice, and how lucky I was. He also insisted on having me shuffle his deck after every fetchland rather than me cut it, almost called a judge on it. Those may be true but, really try and enjoy yourself.

At college, I had similar situation. There was a guy I know through friends who well, is pretty much not a nice guy. I will call him Chuck. Last week in school senoir year, he got into an altercation with someone, spat on them and kicked them in the face. When I scolded him for doing this he tried he threatened me, and spat at me. Five minutes after things were calmed down, Chuck tried to offer a handshake and make it all better. I didn’t take it because well, I deserve better than that. To this day it has alienated someone of my college friends, but at the end of the day you can’t forgive people for everything.

I never really regreted that, for many reasons, one he was a dick outside of that situation, and well two, if people think I should be treated like that, oh well. Afterward I learned to stick up for myself, and fight for me, people aren’t always going to be good to you. However, still treat people with respect and sportsmanship.

4. Live with your decisions

Many magic players learn this the hard way, that taking things back, are actually against the rules. A slight aside, the slogan “no regrets” is actually the stupidest thing anyone has ever said. Probably up there with “hey let’s do heroine.” Life is one big lesson for the next life(as in the next generation). You should have regrets about things you have done, that is not to say be depressed constantly about times you messed up. Heck at times all of us are whores, liars, and not good people. We are all stupid financially, and with playing magic. However, there is a lesson at the end of the day.

“hey man I don’t even care about the past, it’s all about the future, no regrets”

The past is really all we have to learn from. The emotion of regret is according to Webster “to feel sorry and sad about something previously done or said that now appears wrong, mistaken, or hurtful to others” the point is to move on from that feeling to feeling of confidence, but you need that cycle. Sure you may have stolen from the candy store, sure you may have dated the wrong girl just for ass, sure you may have spent too much money, the point is to live with those decisions and not run away from them(all of those are real memories). Cause in fact Magic, just like life has no take backs.

5. Love what you do; who you’re with, the point in life is to enjoy it.

At the end of the day, all we know about this world is well that there is this world. Technology hasn’t proved any other planet with life, although we might suspect extraterrestrial life. Gods, spirits, and angels only appear in what we can so far tell are works of fiction. The only thing you know about this worlds, is well you, what’s there in front of you, and how you feel about all of it. Altough, many would even dispute that claim. Eitherway there is this illusion or reality that comes before us known as life. Magic is the funnest game out there, but many people get upset over it at times. My advice, find the right play group, format, and store to try and maximize the excitement of the game. It isn’t fun, do something else, which may sound anti-magic but heck it’s the truth. The game isn’t for everybody. The reason why we play, is because we love it, not any other reason.

In life you got to do the same thing. Don’t like your girlfriend? Dump her. Don’t like the school you go to? Go to another. Don’t like your job? Grab the Pennysaver. Magic shows that if you take the right approach to things you can be successful, if you can’t find sucess try something else.

Anyway those are the lessons Magic can show you, I hope you liked them. As a good exercise, if you’d like, write what gaming has shown you. If you didn’t like a lesson I put, write why, and then flame me constantly with criticism.

Until next time…


  1. "but at the end of the day you can’t forgive people for everything"

    this is exactly why the world is so full of war and suffering


  2. I didn't shoot him, I just didn't shake his hand 20 seconds later...

  3. also if people are bad to you, you shouldn't be nice to them, i mean you don't have to be mean, but there is no reason to be nice and buddy with them. Hate to say that, but thats how humanity is.