A couple of posts ago, I shared with those who read this blog (and will be aware I am sure, that I am very much a stream of consciousness type of person) something which was causing me some very serious 'issues' and whilst not about gaming per se, was a direct product of my experience within this hobby.
This morning, I was resigned to not attending the memorial get-together for Pete Armstrong. Yes, I am aware that I'd not named names but let's face it, it was pretty damned obvious wasn't it? So let's not be shy about being open and honest and tactful, because sometimes, tact can lead to people being forgotten. Being forgotten is something which I simply cannot comprehend, but that is another story.
Today, Clive Dudley whom I have never met in person, but for whom in our online interactions I have developed a sense of friendship and respect, counselled me that to not attend would do me more damage in the long run. And I reflected upon this and, he was right (Stop the press! Hides admits somebody else was correct!)
Then, tonight as I took a comfort break in the middle of watching 'Footloose' (because being the sad asylum seeker from the 80s that I am, I always watch an 80s movie on Sunday night) I checked my Facebook messages and noticed one from Chris Gilbride.
Now, I am not normally one to make public my communications with others, but I was genuinely moved to tears by what the message said, because it opened an emotional floodgate and reminded me, that you know what? I am not attending on Saturday to prove anything to anyone. I am going there to pay my respects, in my own way to a guy who probably had a greater impact upon who I became, than I realised or he could have suspected.
Let me be frank here, Pete and Chris made my life hell as a kid, because out of all the 'limpets' who clung to the figure bar and front desk of GW Sheffield, I would challenge any of them to have been as dedicated to the art of being a pain in the ass as I.
I remember standing outside the store every day (it was the school holidays) waiting for the release of Twilight 2000 and Golden Heroes. The staff stood inside laughing and mocking this kid who was determined to get those games as soon as the price tickets were on the delivery.
Sad wanker ? You bet... But let me tell you this, those are memories I would not trade, and I wear the tags of 'limpet' and 'mollusc' with pride.
If somebody wants to judge my life and my personality on that, then they can knock themselves out!
Without that torment, and attention - yes ATTENTION, I could have been like the rest of the kids in my school, a bland carbon copy of my parents, devoid of imagination and any character.
A couple of years ago, someone who did not really know me at all, commented, that they would not want my life. That's great news because then there would be two people like me and thereby the individuality I cultivated and now curate, would be destroyed.
But that is beside the point.
The point is, as Chris said, this may be the last chance I get to see some of those people. The last 5 months has seen 3 people of my generation, pass well before their time.
It is my duty - a duty to ME and THEM to not allow them to pass quietly into shadow. Anybody who feels the same is welcome to share in the sense of loss and celebration of a life, and those who don't see things my way or view me as 'their kind of person' are also welcome, to celebrate those lives, because one day it will be one of us, who is the subject of a memorial meet-up. And you know what? Regardless of what anybody thinks of me, I'll toast them and remember them for who they were and not what I thought of them.
Personal politics don't matter, people do.
Chris, Jo, Lisa - You were right.
Chris in particular, and Clive - Thank you!
Pete, if you can see this, you are probably rolling your eyes, commenting on 'the mollusc' and reaching for the popcorn. Bring it on Greb'... The least I can do is give you a chance to make my life hell, one last time.