Saturday, January 12, 2008

Life as a Crossword Puzzle or a Dungeon

I've said before that I start my day with crossword puzzles. It helps to clear the fog in the morning. Between obscure clues, making my hands move over the keyboard, and my cup of Joe at my side, I gradually come to full consciousness.

The theme for today's Web Crossword puzzle was "Possessive Creatures." Okay. That could mean a spouse or a clingy child. But no, it was pointing toward phrases such as 58A "Remarkable thing, in old slang (with "The")." catspajamas

Once you start to fill in those major clues--lionsshare, hornetsnest--the rest of the puzzle begins to open up. I am not always able to get those major ones right away, but when I do, it all begins to fall into place. Obscure hints such as 7D "Apple target," (icon) begin to form into pieces of words. Eventually I see the words forming. Is it sad that I got 61D "Spell caster" almost immediately with no letters appearing (mage) but I couldn't get 9A "Comes out on top?" (balds)?

Yes, I'm an old D&D hag. Haven't played in a long, long time, but we had some amazing dungeons back in the day. I had a very cool mage named Morgana Asmundr and a warrior named Orla Pendragon. (I'm an old Once and Future King hag, too). The cool thing about dungeons was that they let your imagination run wild. Pretty soon we began to worry over our characters--what was next? what new adventure would they find? Orla rescued a male player from a white dragon. (roll for agility) No easy feat. Morgana was more interested in finding new young playthings for her harem. She got bored easily.

It was like having multiple personalities. We could act out parts of ourselves without fear or shame. We just got into character, rolled for strength and hoped for the best. It was interactive. It was a group thing. If you were playing a dungeon alone, that was just sad and was kind of like cheating. After all, you could change the rules at any time.

These days everything has changed. It's all on the computer. The great thing about the Wii is that it started to get people together again. We've lost a lot of the social interaction with gaming that was once the best part about it. When I was traveling, I looked forward to a weekend game when I came home. Our friends (and their kids) would come over or we would go to their house. We'd put out snacks, beer, soda. We'd tuck the kids into a communal bed when the time came. And gradually, the lights would dim and our characters would fully emerge.

In comparison, real life is boring. Yet it is the same in many ways. Sure, we don't roll for backbone when the boss calls us in for a little chat. We don't roll for agility when some fool pulls out in front of us. We don't have ourselves neatly marked into boxes on a character sheet (constitution: 5, intelligence: 9). But we are very much like those characters. We integrated parts of them into us, because they were us.

Now, if only life would resemble my crossword puzzle a little more. If only one clue would lead to a sudden torrent of understanding. Then, my friends, then there would be some real hope!

I'll have to think on this more. Time for one more puzzle before my day really begins...

Peace - D

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