“Fag.” That’s what started my little game nearly two weeks back. That word, tossed out with casual derision, and piled on top of an already impressive list of slurs and slanders. The speaker seemed both unaware and unconcerned with the immensity of his vulgarity. I strove to correct that. My name is Courtesy Man. Here is my story.
Scene: A public game like any other, and only one in a series of runs for me that night while leveling a character. Enter the perpetrator and his cohorts. Immediately, the tone of the game shifts. What had been a casual and relatively friendly set of games became… something else. The perp and his buddies chatted more than they played. Their perception of cooperative play seemed to involve a lot of following vice useful monster-killing activities. No big deal if it ended there, but it wouldn’t be much of an article if that were the case, no? They more or less demanded TPs. They asked for items (free of course). They joked incessantly amongst themselves in the manner of children, including frequent and unimaginative cut downs. I gained a distinct impression: Young teens that didn’t know each other well, but had formed together in recent weeks as a roving D2 “posse” of like minded fools. One of them was trying too hard. He clearly sought the position of de facto gang leader.
For my part, I ignored them. We have all seen the type, and they are best left to their own devices. And then they erred. They widened their target field, including other players outside of their little gang. It was malicious and purposeful. It was done in that “watch this” manner common among attention seekers.
Perp: sorc y u use hydra?
Sorc: Felt like it.
Perp: Fags use hydra. U a fag?
Cohort 1: lol fag
Cohort 2: lmao Josh.
I have edited a bit. The event under discussion had a longer build up which involved a snowballing set of insults directed at the non-gang players. I had stayed in the series longer than common sense suggested. You probably know why. It’s hard to find a seven-player public game in the area you want to run that doesn’t have a PKer in it. But then the fag thing came up and I hit
. I selected exit. I sat in the stupid little 1.10 lobby pondering my options. And inspiration hit me. I know your name, Josh. I know your name.
I changed characters, imagining myself stripping off mortal garb and donning my tights and cape, a big CM (Courtesy Man in case you missed it) emblazoned on my chest. I re-entered the game just in time as they prepared to make the next in the run series.
Me: Its me, Mark.
Perp: what mark?
Me: Last night was wonderful Josh.
Me: Can I see you again tonight? I need to touch you. I’ll sneak out.
There was a moment of what I like to think of as stunned silence here.
Cohort 1 catches on first. Good boy.
Cohort 1: lol lmao rotflmao
Perp: FAG Im not a fag fag!!
Cohort 2: OMG
Cohort 1: ooo Josh I didnt know
You can imagine the rest. Perp denies, attacks, and denies some more. Cohorts torment him like a cat with an injured mouse. The gang is divided internally. I don’t have to say another word. But I do. I express hurt and rejection. I tell him I’ll never forget him. I tell him he was my first. And then I leave, immediately returning with my first character. This could not have worked out better. I watch as it dies down. The gang, bruised but undaunted, soldiers on. Next game forms. I bring in my third character.
Me: Josh, this is Rick. I miss you. Why didn’t you call? I love you Josh. Pls call me.
Perp: Predictable expressions of rage, embarrassment, and denial.
Cohorts: Anticipated expressions of amusement.
At this point I assumed Josh and his gang would forgo any further participation in the series of runs, but Josh was not the sharpest tool in the shed. He stayed for more. I exited, returned with my fourth and last character that could enter this type of game.
Me: Josh is that you? Its Mike. Can I see you again? Your skin is like butter.
At this point the jig is up. We have the usual responses from Josh and his gang, but they realize I’m in this for the long run, and they choose to pursue other games. But I am a changed man. I have become a passionate crusader for tolerance and open-mindedness. I battle the forces of bigotry, racism, and vulgarity with the only weapon I have available: humiliation. I pause for only a moment to ponder the morality of playing on their teenage, angst-driven homophobia, wondering if I am really accomplishing anything. Perhaps I am making them even worse. But my zeal overwhelms such concerns. Since that night I have spent my D2 time prowling the realms in search of other such perps to take on. I am a vigilante of common courtesy, my own form of PKing. In a public channel I found a player who included “nggerz-gohome” in his character name. I suggested I was his special friend. His very male, very African-American special friend. He didn’t think it funny, but others did. I have found Korean-haters, Arab-haters, and ***-haters, but mostly it’s casual homophobia. And while some of them simply use “queer” and “fag” and “***” as meaningless put-downs, they are nearly all afraid of being labeled one themselves.
I know a lot of this is simply a product of the age group, but clearly some of these people are beyond their teenage years and ought to know better. What irks me is that most of our society finds overt racial slurs unacceptable, yet tolerates those aimed at the *** community. The children I condemn are following the lead of their parents. I am frustrated by such intolerance despite it having no direct effect on me. I grew up in a conservative Southern home. Some of my relatives were Klan members. My grandfather witnessed the aftermath of a lynching. I went to a conservative school where admission of homosexuality resulted in expulsion. I work in an organization that is a bastion of Republicanism, though less so than it used to be. And yet I have overcome such barriers to tolerance, so why can’t these kids do it, or at least their parents? I am weary of my game, the novelty has worn off I guess, but the convictions remain. See you in the game, lover.
Disclaimer: Bone App?tit is and written by Osteomata (Jack Likens) and hosted by Diii.net. The views expressed in this column are those of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of Diii.net.