chainsaw_headerSomething of cognitive cognizance: In the year 2014 the internet (most notably Facebook) was literally flooded with the latest in new online holiday fads. Around this time that year, it was impossible to log on, check your email or even search for gopher porn without some mention of or reference to the 30 days of Thankfulness Challenge. Anyone who was anybody was doing it because they were truly thankful…or overly concerned about being trendy? To appear humble, blessed and brag about how great your life was, was the savvy, modern social media thing to do. Despite the motivation, it is commendable that some managed to persevere and be thankful throughout the duration of the month. Yet here, two years later and this positive light, in a sea of negative online trends, has gone the way of the dodo. So now it has become passé to be publicly thankful. What happened? Did you run out of stuff to be thankful for or just stopped being thankful because it’s not what everybody else is doing?

While we’re on the subject, I’d like to take a moment to express some thankfulness of mine own and it won’t take 30 days to do it. On behalf of my dotting spouse, Lil Red, and myself, a hearty thanks to our friend Adam and his friends (who will hopefully in the future become ours too), for a fun, imaginative and interestingly educational night of gaming. It was our first true experience with RPG (role playing games) and we found the experience quite compelling and delightful.

To be honest, I personally have always had a fascination for the genre, but due to beliefs instilled upon me in my youth, have always watched from a safe distance. Always somewhat fearful because such things were considered taboo during my childhood. To better explain let’s take a moment to travel back in time to a dark time in American History…the 80’s. So slide into your parachute pants, grab your Rubik cube and stuff a Devo cassette tape into your Teddy Ruxpin as we Beat It back to a time of true terror.

If you grew up in the 80’s you knew that everything in the 80’s was evil. Ronald McDonald was a Satanic cult leader. Little Ponies were actually representations of demonic forces. Small blue humanoids were blasphemous representations of creation. And at the helm of all things evil, right up there with Heavy Metal and He-man was the original fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.

Dungeons & Dragons (or D&D, duh), is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game, first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. It was an immediate hit within the geek and nerd communities and still remains the market leader in the role-playing game industry. Easily finishing out the 70’s the game had more than three million players around the world by 1981 and that’s when the trouble started. Remember, EVERYTHING was evil in the 80’s. And a tabletop game that used magic and was oft won by killing fellow players was an easy target.

fchainsawsBy 1985, numerous murders and suicides among young people were attributed to D&D. This was based loosely on police investigations and a whole lot of misunderstanding and assumptions. Media outlets immediately jumped on the band wagon, because murder/suicide, regardless of the reason or cause, is news.  It didn’t help that the Christian community added to the melee by publicly stating that “The game is an occult tool that opens up young people to influence or possession by demons.” They convinced parents that the game had ties to Satanism and occult practices and would lead their children straight to “Th’ fiery pits of HELLa…can I get an amen?”

The truth of the matter is a lot of things can be attributed to a person’s actions. In the end, the blame falls mostly on the individual themselves and their inability to perceive the reality of any situation. Some people are just born slightly unhinged and if it’s not one thing it’ll be another that completely knocks them off their framework. Of course, being taught to find the darker possibilities in everything probably doesn’t help the situation. Anything can be evil depending on how twisted your perception is and how desperate you are to find evil within it.

We’ll stop there because the witch hunts truly never end for some. But for those who valiantly continue said hunt here are a few adages that predate the 80’s era of evil and probably yourself: Birds of a feather flock together. It takes one to know one. Evil is fittest to consort with evil.

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Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!