WARNING: No pictures. If you can't set aside your ADD long enough to read this, my post will mean nothing to you anyway.
On Christmas Eve, a close personal friend of mine entered me in a contest (http://www.destructoid.com/contest-what ... 8682.phtml) to win a box full o' items. I had no idea.
I woke up this morning to an email from one of Destructoid's editors (Hamza CTZ Aziz, I still remember his old, bleeding, tentacle rape monster avatar) that stated I won said box. I was actually stunned. I couldn't remember entering the contest.
As soon as I got to work, I went to the site and checked the post for the contest. The contest was designed so you enter someone else. I saw underneath that Broonor had entered me.
I immediately went through the comments page by page until I found his entry. It was a solid paragraph recounting the rise to glory between us. He's been a faithful friend with nothing but goodness in his heart for me and I've been proud to be at his side for his father's funeral and I've been proud to be the best man at his wedding.
I was truly moved to tears. I've never been married and the only loss of my father I've experienced so far is the shattering my illusion that he was all-powerful and immortal. In all honesty, I've never understood how truly impacted he was by my willingness to be at his side during those times of his life.
I'm now years older and years wiser though. Unfortunately, gaining the wisdom I have has caused me to all but drop out of his life, but, Broonor, I'm on my way back. Talk is cheap - I'll make it happen.
I first met Broonor shortly after I had graduated high school. A few people from high school introduced me to Ragnarok Online and after our falling out, I still enjoyed the game. I was still basically a nublet cake when it came to RO, but I had at least decided that I wanted an Assassin, maybe a Rogue.
As such, I was wondering around Prontera aimlessly in my cute lil nubhat and cute lil nubshoes. I stumbled naive and helpless in to a crowded pub full of assorted people from around the globe. One of them was a kickass Blacksmith with red dredlocks (redlocks?) who had a chat bubble open above his head.
"Make me laugh and win 10,000 zeny", it said. Mommy had always told me that I was special and that I was funny, so I figured if any asshole in this game could make this "Broonor Maxx" guy laugh, it'd be this asshole. I bravely clutched my mouse and clicked - I had absolutely no idea what was ahead and that was the best part.
I lurked silently for almost an hour as contestant after contestant threw out bad puns and lame jokes. One after another fell to the Steel King and with each combatant down, I learned more about the level 99 boss that awaited. I was a level 99 Jester though - all I had to do was figure out my opponent's weakness.
The dust began to settle and it soon came down to two random Joe's and myself. The time to strike was at hand. The adrenaline rushed and I typed out, "John Kerry is totally fit to be the next President of the United States."
It was super-effective! Broonor Maxx was dealt a Critical Strike for 9999 damage! Time slowed to a crawl as I watched his health bar slowly tick from 9999 all the way back to 0. "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes!" burst forth from the screen and I was victorious.
One Joe left, but the other found himself viciously offended as he was actually one of Kerry's lackeys. He spun around and his costumed disappeared. With his true form revealed, the clandestine operative attacked. Luckily my shield was drawn and I narrowly averted damage.
I swung my blade and barely grazed the beast. This was going to be a challenge...
As fate would have it though, Broonor had equipped a skill that used a Phoenix Down on him automatically should he fall in combat. He quaffed an X-Potion and firmly grasped his mighty hammer. I was too focused on deflecting the beast to notice, so I was surprised to no end to hear a skull crack and one final slam against my shield.
After momentarily being stunned by this turn of a events, I looked over my shield to find the Poodlelover's face planted firmly against my shield. For the time being, his mind was completely empty and he was completely happy. That's not to say that his mind was full when he was conscious, but you get the point.
Broonor extended his hand to me and I grasped it firmly as I thanked him for his help. He smiled back and thanked me for the laugh. He strode back to his cart, picked it up and began to make his way through the crowd and to the door. I stopped just short of it and dug around in his cart. Broonor looked up and me and said, "I almost forgot this," before a wallet with 10,000 zeny in it flew at me with almost no time to react.
I caught it and opened it. Six-thousand, seven-thousand, eight-thousand, nine-thousand, ten-thousand zeny; it was all there. As I looked up to thank him, I realized he was gone.
I made for the door, "accidently" knocking over and groping one of the bar wenches as I did. My hand grip the handle firmly. I pulled with all my might. As soon as the door was open just enough I dove through it and out in to the street.
Sunlight poured furiously down upon me and my eye needed a moment to readjust. Once they had, I scanned up and down the wide street for a sign of him. I spotted him turning a corner and took off.
The length of road seemed endless and once I reached the corner I flung myself around it to find him selling his wares to some sexy Ladywarrior. I donned the nearest cardboard box and stayed there - Solid Snake taught me well.
Once the transaction was finished, I approached him. Turns out we hadn't exchanged AIM screen names, so we rectified that mistake and for the first time in my life, I had joined a proverbial party and we were set for endless adventures and titanic challenges. We were ready.
When the phone call came that his father had died, my only answer was "I'll be there as soon as I can get a plane seat." When the phone call came asking if I'd be his best man, my only answer was "Yes". I feel nothing short of truest pride and truest happiness to know that our paths have met where they did and they will meet again where they will and forever in the records of history and the morgue of centuries our friendship will be known.
Again, Jeff, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my friend and for being the catalyst that ignited a Care Package drop for me. I may not say it enough and I may never find the words to convey my gratitude, but it is there and nothing will ever change that.
And so, for the rest of you, since the calender incontrovertibly states that it is Christmas Day and I don't really give a shit what anyone's opinion of "the holidays" is, I want to take some time to mention to y'all that behind the pixels that make up that in-game avatar, that forum post, the blog entry, or whatever it is, there is a human being with a full wealth of experience just like you.
They've gone through good times. They've gone through bad times. They've even sat around bored off of their asses at work at times. They've faced their challenges and have seen the Game Over screen more times than they care to admit, but that only makes the eventual victory sweeter. It's the same way for you. If you claim otherwise, you're a filthy liar.
Really all I'm saying is that you're only going to live once. And while our lives aren't some galactic test for aptitude sorting, don't be afraid to do a solid for someone even if the only interaction you've had with them just pixels on your screen and occasionally a voice in your headset. They're people too.
You never knows what lies in that treasure chest, but the ultimate weapon is always worth the time it takes to pop the lock.
And it's Friday, December 25th, 2009 regardless of what you believe, so Merry Christmas. <3
P.S. I'm going to open the package with a crowbar when it arrives. I'll take pictures to post too. :3