Saturday, January 3, 2009

Angsty Teenage Rebellion

Ladies and Gentlemen, when I first heard about Dungeons and Dragons 4th Ed. (let's call him FouRth EDition, or Fred for short), I thought, "Oh man. I hate that guy. I hate everything about him. He's so lame." All I heard, essentially was that he lost so many things that I loved about his older brother Third EDition (or Ted). Fred wanted nothing to do with rock bands or Bruce Lee. Fred was, well, a little simple minded. Fred, from what I heard, was a less intelligent or sophisitcated kid pretending to be his older brother, hoping all of his older brother's friends would like him, but really, we knew he wasn't the Ted we knew and loved. He was some obnoxious new kid.

It almost seemed that Fred wanted to be thought of that way. He wanted us to hate him. He wouldn't let us listen to music that inspires us to great feats of daring. He wanted to make sure no one he hung out with ever used the line "I know kung fu" by almost denying its existence. He seemed to limit our ability to change our minds about career goals later in life. Oh sure, he says he has no problem with us pursuing other interests as we get older, but we know that deep down, he'd be disappointed if we really tried to change our role in life. He said we'd need to buy random things to hang out with him. Ted never made us buy random things. We thought Fred was just trying to get our money for mommy and daddy.

But today, I got to know Fred. I sat down with him. Some of my friends kept telling me that I'd really like him once I got to know him. I figured I would give him the benefit of the doubt, but only because a couple of my buddies vouched for him. As it turns out, he's a really approachable guy. He's very friendly. He's efficient, and I'm a sucker for efficiency. He's not an elitist. You don't have to know a million little things to hang out with him without being called an idiot. He'll kindly help you keep track of anything important you may need to remember. As for good music and good shaolin butt kickers, he says he likes them. He just hasn't had time to really dedicate himself to those lately, but is making time in the near future to reacquaint himself with them. He gives his more intelligent and bookish buddies more opportunity to shine, instead of making the jocks the big important guys while the nerds were only useful a couple times a day, who needed to rest before they coud do anything worth while. And as for the buying stuff, I realized that most of the stuff he wishes I had, oh wait, I already own, and most people who hang out with Ted already have that stuff. They just don't have the new shiney models. Fred doesn't care. The bit about changing careers though, it's still kinda true. You can look into other career options, but Fred wants you to know that deep down, you'll always be your first job.

So why would Fred go out of his way for you to not like him when you first hear about him? My guess is because he's the baby from a family of overly permissive parents. His mommy and daddy are such touchy feely suburban yuppies. Everything all of their kids do is great, and they stand behind them 100%. Spellfire? I still don't think they've allowed themselves to call that a bad egg. So what's the baby to do? Even if the youngest kid in the family is a good kid, he's going to do all kinds of ridiculous things to get in trouble, to get called out by everyone on the playground just to get attention. "Look at me, everyone! I'm Fred, and mommy and daddy are giving me all the love and support they used to give Ted. Go ahead and hate me. Or love me. The important thing is I have all of the attention." He's just acting out because he's living in his brother's rather large shadow and so he'll do anything, even take unfair heat for being stupid or greedy or willing to hang out with anybody if it means people will pay attention to him and maybe give him a shot. Like the baby in any family, he just doesn't want to be ignored.

You have been informed.

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