10 March 2008

The Mean Thing To Do

Last week at Bible study, I heard an everyday word used in a manner that I hadn't considered before. The word was "mean" as in not very nice. The word was used and tied back to it's statistical use, "mean" as in the expected value. The expected thing to do is for a person, when confronted by an unpleasant, normal situation is for them to react in a mean manner, i.e. not with kindness. The point being made, we were then told that our standard for behavior was not what the average person would do, but what God would do, to act with love and understanding, rather than in a petty and selfish manner. Our standard for action is God's standard, not what the world says.

Good stuff, practical, obvious, and challenging. Yeah, a little too challenging.

Recently I was invited to a game night at Spanky & Mae's house. At one point there were probably fifteen people there, but as the night wore down, we ended up with six, the perfect number for an Order of the Stick game. The group was Spanky, CJ, Shmendrick, Mae, myself, and Ben (sat in that order).

One of the things that keeps me from serious gaming, is well, serious gaming. I want to jump in and get playing, and 'discover' the rules as we go along, make it a learning process. Let's play. I think it is an acceptable form of game playing, Schmendrick, with his knowledge of gaming, game theory, and role playing, could probably write an entire book on the subject. Mae feels the way I do about games, and I think to a certain extent, so does Ben.

It is not the only way to play a game, however, and I recognize that. Spanky likes to know what he is doing before he does it, which is not just about games, but about life too, and I respect that about him. Schmendrick can be interested in metagaming and interpreting the rules. CJ likes to figure out what the limit of the rules are and push them. I was frustrated with the pace of the game in the same manner I get frustrated on the golf course with a slow group ahead of me... "sheesh buddy your ball has been sitting there for the last five minutes and you can't figure out what you want to do until you get up to it?" I'm not certain if this was in fact what was going on, let's face it, Order of the Stick is a complex game, the quick start guide is a dozen pages, and it was only the third or fourth time we played the game. So not everyone knew what there options were, and these people are all veteran game players, we all know to keep the pace going. So I carefully considered all these factors before making an ass of myself, right?

I got mean. I timed two times around the table, and it took a lot of time (yes I know how much time), and when it got back to me I moved immediately. The reason I moved immediately is because my options were extremely limited. Was I smart enough to think things through as to why it was going the way it was? No, I opened my fat mouth and berated everyone else for the slowness of play. Nice work.

Hindsight being what it is, there must have been four hundred ways for me to speed up the game without resorting to the methods I chose to use. I "kept score" when I timed the play, and I am pretty sure we have been told that love does not keep score, and these are some of my dearest friends. The pace of the game did pick up later, but it had more to do with time constraints than any stupid utterance out of my yapper.

So here is an apology friends, I could have handled that better, and should have handled that better, and learned a another lesson about learning other peoples wisdom and applying it before I say something dumb.

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