The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED TWENTY FOUR: Find Your Own Fate
When I was a kid, I use to love playing board games. If I could get my family to sit down all at once and play a board game, I was one happy kid. Monopoly, cards (poker, Rook, Bridge, and Uno), and Yahtzee were some of my favorites.
But at that time, my favorite was a game called Wahoo. It was basically like Trouble or Sorry. Look it up. I loved playing that game. We would sit down in the den and set up the folding table and chairs and play for a couple of hours. We might even have a bowl of popcorn or some freshly baked cookies and some Double Cola to pass around as we tried to get our marbles home. I never tired of playing that game.
Then my friends introduced me to other games. Risk, Stratego, and a handful of other board games that included a Titanic game (you heard me right). There were even some video games thrown in but I enjoyed watching my friends play, not playing myself.
Then, one of the biggest games of my life was introduced to me. A game I wished I could play every day.
Dungeons and Dragons.
This game blew my mind. It was all based on your imagination and allowing yourself to get drawn in. It was a game based on luck and skill, just like real life. And you could be somebody other than yourself.
And for a kid that lived inside his imagination as much as I did, this was the perfect game.
Whenever the chance arose that I got the chance to play, I would.
Of course, I couldn’t play every day. I was lucky to play once a month. The only friends I could play with was at school. None of my neighborhood friends played that ‘nerd stuff‘. They were into sports. So, when I was allowed to play with the other neighborhood kids (they were older than me so they had to be in the mood for me to be involved), it was kickball, soccer, riding bikes, football, etc. That kid stuff wasn’t allowed.
I suffered. I tried to play D&D by myself but, of course, that’s pretty impossible.
Then a friend of mine at school (and who it was, escapes me) showed me these books that were a little bit like D&D. They were Choose Your Own Adventure books. He showed me the one he had and showed me how it worked and I was automatically hooked. It was like Dungeons and Dragons for one person.
Friday came and my allowance with it. I begged to be taken down to the local bookstore, Bookland, to try and find one of these books. I went in and hunted down the series of books. I saw the one my friend had and reached for it when I saw something that was a million times better. I honestly thought my mind was playing tricks on me.
There was another series of books from a different company. They were called Find Your Fate Adventures. And who did they feature?
Screeching halt on the Choose You Adventure books. I grabbed the first issue of the Indiana Jones Find Your Fate book. I could not believe my luck. Holy Crap!!!! I can go on an adventure with Indy.
I looked at the price and saw I almost had enough for two. My dad had waited outside for me and I ran outside, nearly getting struck by a car, to ask him for another dollar to go with my allowance. Reluctantly, he gave it to me. Of course, it would come out of my next allowance but at that moment, I didn’t care. I ran back in and bought number one and two.
I read those books over and over. After a week, I knew every adventure and situation those two books had to offer. The next allowance came and I could only buy one. But then I was on a schedule. I would buy one, then two, buy one, then two, and on and on.
Every time I started a new adventure, I would get nervous. It was like it was more than a book. I really wanted to make it through. And if I died by taking a wrong turn in the story, I felt horrible. It was even a bit scary.
But then I’d go right back to the beginning and start over and remember what I had learned the previous trip.
Over time, I wore those books out. I would even take them to school with me. All of them. I didn’t want to be separated from them. Then there was one time I was walking in the hall, going to class, and I had forgotten to zip my backpack all the way. It unzipped all of the ways and spilled all of my books out. I jumped down and hauled them back, in fear they would get stolen. Come to find out, one did. Some kid had picked one up and tore one of my babies away from me, never to be seen again. I didn’t realize this until my next class. After class, I headed back to the area they had hit the floor…and nothing. Gone. I went to the lost and found. Still nothing.
It was gone.
So, why did I tell you all of that for?
I think the reason I enjoyed playing Dungeons and Dragons and loved reading those Find Your Own Fate books was because of the adventure in them. You had to use your imagination (which I had tons of..and still do).
And that’s what life should be like.
Those kind of things always were my kind of thing. Any game that caused me to use my imagination just fit me, like a glove. I believe there are things in this world that connect with us for some reason or another. Those are some of mine.
By the way, many years later, as a man in his forties, I found another copy of that first Indiana Jones Find Your Fate Adventure for a few bucks on eBay.
And I bought it. Who knows? Maybe it’s the same one. I liked to think it is.
August, 31st 2018
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.