He’s alive!

My friend Das, in his gear from 6 years ago (Wrath!!!), with my druid Anacrusa, with whom he raided when he last played. And yes, we danced with each other several times while hanging out in Dalaran, because an occasion like this deserves dancing and singing!

My friend Das, in his gear from 6 years ago (Wrath!!!), with my druid Anacrusa, with whom he raided when he last played. And yes, we danced with each other several times while hanging out in Dalaran, because an occasion like this deserves dancing and singing!

I still play World of Warcraft. I don’t raid in the traditional sense, nor do I PvP. I don’t even succeed at meeting personal goals, like doing an Ironman or whatever. And I haven’t blogged since shortly after I hit 100 on Mushan in December 2014.

But I still play. I do some leveling, holiday events, hit up LFR/LFD on occasion, and have 7 100s. And I do enough garrison crap to not be paying to play anymore.

Sometimes, I think I will be done soon. I was thinking about not getting Legion until I heard some lore-related stuff* that made me reconsider my lack of desire for new content.

*The more “veteran WoW player” I become, the less I want to know about anything new before it comes out, other than mechanics-related info…

But, every once in a while – and this is very rare – something happens that changes perspectives and makes one glad that he/she has stayed the/(some type of) course… and on Saturday night, I got the strongest dose of that feeling that I have ever experienced.

 * * *

Back in the summer of 2013, I wrote a post called “Someone I loved is lost. Is he gone forever? I may never know.” Disregarding the snow we got yesterday, the post is almost three years old.

In the post, I revealed my anguish regarding my friend and former raid-teammate Das, whom I was worried might have killed himself. I had read a post on Facebook from March 2013 that basically gave me no other option – given that he had disappeared from every online means of reaching him – than to seriously concede that the worst could have happened. Without belaboring the content of that post again, I was shocked, scared, and shattered by the idea that my friend could be dead by his own hand.

Over the past couple of years, on occasion, I have retraced my steps and looked for new information avenues in attempts to find out if my friend was still alive. My limit was money: I was unwilling to spend money online to do “searches” with questionably legitimate companies in order to maybe find out nothing. Not being a hacker, or otherwise IT-wise, I looked as far as I knew how for free, and found nothing conclusive.

I didn’t look perpetually: it would be unhealthy to obsess over it, so I wrote that post, shared it with friends and family, and grieved. And, as I said, I retraced my steps from time to time. After the initial shock, however, I quickly settled into a state of unwilling acceptance, that I might never know what happened, and that probably my worst fear had come true.

* * *

On Saturday night, I got home after a long day at work, and logged in to WoW. Mushan’s garrison missions, done. Logged in to Anacrusa, and GUESS WHO LOGGED IN?? My friend Das.

My reaction?

“WHAT THE FUCK??!!” I said, out loud.

“What?” asked my better half.

“Das just logged in!”

“Oh… really?! Holy shit!”

“Yeah, I’m trying to find out if it’s really him.”

I was not convinced it was him. Immediately, my heart told me that, years after my friend apparently did himself in, his account was being hacked by some grave-robbing asshole. So I steeled myself for rejection and ventured a whisper: “Hi Das! :)”

The result was more than I ever could have hoped for. He answered, and answered again and again, and then at some point he addressed me by my IRL first name, and asked me if I still worked where I work, and so on – it was, as far as I could tell, really him.

After further conversation, I can tell you that it’s really him.

My JOY was – and still is – leaping from every fiber of my being.

I don’t have to reference that original post on Das that I linked above to recall that, when I got the scare I got, I spent time frantically searching for closure on him, and, failing that, I became as close to catatonic as I have ever been.

The feeling when my acceptance of that scenario was unraveled/reversed was incredible.

We conversed via pink text (whispers) for over 90 minutes before I broached Real ID, and now we can see each other whenever we’re online. Back in the day, we were in the same guild and I played my druid mainly, but now I have several new alts and I wanted him to be able to find me – and vice versa – if I was not on Ana.

I spent portions of the rest of the evening on Saturday texting some of my old guildmates and family who shared my concerns, in order to share my joy with them. And I suppose this post is a continuation of that process. There were many of you who responded so kindly to my original post almost three years ago, and so if anyone is still interested in what’s happening with Mushan/Anacrusa**, the answer is “not much, but… remember that post? This is the resolution to that situation.”

I am so happy. I am high on joyfulness right now; I just got the best news I could get this year, and I wanted to share that with those of you who read and responded to or were touched by my original post in 2013.

Thank you, to everyone who ever responded to anything I’ve written, and to all who are reading this today. Your interest and friendship means more than I can ever express.

* * *

**A lot of my old guildies know me as Ana, since I mained my druid until late-2010, when I switched to Mushan and eventually started Mushan, Etc. To this day, I am still called Ana more than Mushan, and I consider it an honor. To know those people, AND to have been fortunate to have such an amazing toon that I built so many close relationships while playing, are things I will cherish forever. 

A guy and his video games… oh, and “his woman”

“If your girlfriend told you to quit playing video games forever or she’d leave you, would you do it?”

This question was posed to me by a customer on Monday night. I had previously helped the customer, so we were on familiar enough terms, I suppose.

I looked at him, smiled patiently (or, as I like to think, wryly), and replied: “Well, given that my girlfriend is more of a gamer than I am, I doubt that would ever happen. I’m probably the wrong person to ask…”

He seemed momentarily surprised, but he didn’t give me the response I usually get when I answer questions related to my girlfriend being a gamer, which is typically some expression of how cool and awesome and rad my girlfriend is (because too many people are still surprised to find that females actually play video games and play them well, I guess).

Then his cell rang, and he answered it.

His girlfriend stood there, a smirk on her face. I asked her if this was an actual issue. She nodded yes. We exchanged small talk for a moment, and then she moved away to browse.

Eventually, his call ended. I decided to be both honest and diplomatic.

“To answer your question… if something like this happened, I imagine we would have to have a conversation, in order to find out

  • if there’s something behind her demand (some deeper reasoning);
  • if there is a possible compromise;

and what we want to do with our future. I would ask myself, if this really matters that much to her, (what do I value more?)…”

[I’m remembering this conversation later, obviously… so I can’t remember everything that was said, as remarkable as this conversation was.]

“Is playing video games really the most important thing to me? Is this the person I want to spend the rest of my life with? Have a family with?–”

He cut me off:

“Already had that. Wife, kid. It’s over.”

“Ok.” (Why am I not surprised?)

“I guess if this was your only woman… see, I don’t have that problem. I mean, I have a girl, but she’s not the only one out there. There’s a lot of women out there. And I pull a lot of women, you know, so I don’t have to worry about that.”

[“And I pull a lot of women, you know” is an actual, 100% authentic quote, by the way. I felt like I was dreaming. It was bizarre. Meanwhile…]

During this astonishing statement, I was looking back and forth at him and his girlfriend, who went to look at something on a shelf a dozen feet away about halfway through it. She shook her head in amazement and, without looking toward him, said, “Sure ya do, sure ya do.” He didn’t seem to hear her.

I decided to directly answer his question.

“Well, in my case, if that was something that she felt truly felt was important, and we really wanted to spend our lives together, I would quit playing video games.”

“All video games? Like, computer games, consoles? Everything?”


He didn’t seem impressed, but I’m not the kind of guy who “pulls a lot of women,” so I really didn’t care if he was or was not. He joined her to look at whatever she was looking at, and I played parts of the conversation over in my head, trying to remember them so that I could write them down here.

* * *

For many people, video games are a serious hobby, a favorite pastime, and/or a culture. I understand those things, and experience/participate in them myself. And I’m in a relationship with someone who plays more games, more often, than I would/do, and plays them better than I would/do. So the likelihood that she will present me with an ultimatum like this is minuscule, at this point.

However, there may come a time when that changes. And when that happens, I’m confident that we will work through that change together, regardless of who initiates it. And I doubt it will come in the form of an ultimatum, anyway. But if moving forward meant that video games went on the back burner (or even completely out the window), I think it’s important to recognize that there are times when that may be necessary.

Of course, as I was experiencing this conversation, I was observing the couple. The first thing I thought was that these two people seemed very different. They were companionable in a way, but it seemed like this was a foreign world to her. He obviously values playing NBA 2k14 on his PS4 very, very highly – possibly more highly than he values his relationship with her. She doesn’t get it (playing video games), or thinks it’s a waste of time, or feels like the relationship is one-sided and that she has to fight him for his attention – I don’t know; in fact, I don’t know much at all about either of them. Watching them, though, I got the impression that they weren’t very compatible, and that she was mostly living in his world, and wasn’t very comfortable doing so. In a different dynamic, I’m sure that a compromise could be worked out if they talked about their issues and each made concessions to one another in the name of bettering the relationship, but I wasn’t counting on that happening in this case.

But what do I know?

As I said, not much. Well, other than that this young woman was not a gamer – which is fine, because we are all different – and that I considered the guy to be solidly douchebag-material. And I wasn’t comfortable with that. I’m not comfortable with people being disrespectful to others, and to see such a lack of respect on display wasn’t fun. But I couldn’t say anything. In cases like these, my job is to sell as much stuff to the customer as possible, and to give good service, in spite of any BS like this. And I couldn’t have changed his mind anyway.

I thought that I was as fair in my response to him as I could be – recognizing, of course, that this wasn’t a person who could be reasoned with, given that he and I are, pretty obviously, about as far apart as noon and midnight with respect to our personal philosophies and interpersonal behaviors…

It was food for thought, and a remarkable exchange to witness and to be a part of. I’m still shaking my head, thinking about it.

* * *

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!

Someone I loved is lost. Is he gone forever? I may never know.

Back in Wrath, I had the pleasure of raiding in our old guild, ThoseGuys, with some great people who no longer play WoW.

One of these was a resto druid; I’ll call him Das. While I was in my early-mid thirties at the time, he was in his late forties. He was a guy with whom I had countless great conversations on vent. He loved jazz, blues, and timeless rock and roll, and would often suggest internet radio stations that he thought I might enjoy. He worked as an independent contractor for a time, setting up and maintaining (as I understand it) internet and communications infrastructure for the military in the Middle East. He was a carpenter, and loved to show photos of his latest woodworking creations, particularly cool furniture that he had built and was trying to sell.

He always said he loved my voice; he called it a “radio voice.” (I do not have a radio voice, FYI.)

During that period of my WoW-playing life, a lot of us were friending one another on Facebook, because it was the thing to do, and it was fun. It also became my sole line of communication with Das, because, due to financial problems and a computer that could no longer handle the game, he quit somewhere around the time that ICC was coming out.

Since then, my experience with Facebook has been intermittent. During the latter half of 2011 – a time when I was using it more regularly – I noticed at a point that Das was no longer my friend. However, since we had messaged one another several times through FB, I clicked his name in one of our messages and went to his page. There was almost nothing on it that I could see. So I sent him a message, both to see how he was and to let him know that we weren’t ‘FB friends’ for some reason. He replied in a long message, telling me that he had un-friended everyone one night in a fit of frustration, adding that it was a “it’s not you, it’s me” kind of thing.

In that message, he told me that he was in a dire situation. He was divorced, broke, and homeless, living with his daughter for a while, although that wasn’t going well. He had no prospects; his money-making projects were all failing miserably. It was an extremely sad message.

At the time, I was also jobless, and powerless to help him. I sent him a response, trying to be encouraging to him, and to let him know that I was there to talk, but he never responded, and he never accepted my re-friend request.

However, he didn’t disappear. He continued to post from time to time on Facebook, ‘publicly,’ videos or articles that he found worth sharing, but there was little direct insight into how he was doing in his life. However, since I wasn’t his FB friend, none of it was in my feed, and I lost track of him.

Fast forward to this past Friday. I was puttering around on Facebook late at night, looking through my list of old messages out of sheer boredom. I know, that’s pretty lame, right? Well, anyway, when I got to his name, I clicked to his page to see what he was up to, and I was stunned by what I found.

His last post was from March 31st of this year. Here is the text of the post:

its been a ride. i tried to live well, be kind, help people… I can’t do it anymore. I have no friends, family doesn’t care about me, penniless and I just can’t stand to wake up another day like this.
I hope that every one that I care about has a good life, live long in good health and can keep their friends. obviously, I can offer no good advice. good bye

I was shocked to the core.

The feeling you get when you suddenly fear that someone you care about either is about to commit suicide or may have already done so is a feeling that is incomparable to any other. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s basically panic, and it grips your soul with an iron fist.

My response to the panic was to do several frantic searches. These proved to be basically fruitless, since I know almost nothing about his vital statistics, such as names of family members, names of people who knew him in real life, place of residence, middle name, date of birth, and so on. As I said, he had erased all of that from Facebook. The only things I had to go on were his first and last names (very common ones), the state he had been living in, and his approximate age.

I first searched for obituaries. I searched for arrest records. I changed it up and searched for death notices. Carpentry references with his name. I came to several dead ends. I couldn’t find him – not, at least, without paying a bunch of money to be able to do more in-depth searches of public records and so on. Money I don’t have, I might add.

I sent him a quick email, to the only address I have for him. It immediately came back un-deliverable. I pasted it into Facebook and sent it again. I have heard no response. The only phone number I had for him, from 2010, has been dead for a long time.

When I had exhausted my free options to the best of my knowledge (which is admittedly limited), the next phase of the affect of panic hit me: I became incapable of doing anything for the better part of an hour. I stared at my desktop and wrung my hands. When my girlfriend came over to me and asked what was wrong, I could barely tell her.

Eventually, I got up and went to bed, and was up bright and early Saturday for work. And Saturday night, we raided. And so on. The initial panic was gone, but the fear that my friend is dead is not.

I may never find out what happened to Das. I’m already four months ‘too late’ as it is, as regards my searches the other night.

I have to accept that. But I hate it. My only hope is that he is still alive, and that he will rejoin Facebook and respond to my message at some point. But it feels like a dim hope, a chance of slim-to-none.

This post is the first of at least two related to this situation. There is something that I have been considering doing lately – an alteration to the way I do things on the internet – and what happened on Friday only reinforces what I’m thinking about. I will likely write more about if and what I decide to do in one of my next few posts.

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc.