I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it before, but I’m a big fan of playing Magic: The Gathering. You know, that card game all the nerds like.
Oh, don’t look so surprised. I’m a huge nerd. Pretty sure I’ve made that abundantly clear already. Of course, then, I like M:TG, and as a card-carrying nerd, I can say whatever I want about the tribe.
Anyway, although I really enjoy playing Magic, there’s only one time a year — one weekend, specifically — when I usually have an opportunity to play: Labor Day Weekend. Each year my best friend from high school — indeed, from lo, those many years ago — comes back into town to visit, and as part of the festivities, we break out the decks. This year was no exception.
That said, there was a difference this year, if not an exception. Instead of HS friend coming to visit this year, we both brought our families to Gatlinburg for a weekend of Smoky Mountain relaxation. And each night of the weekend, once we were done with the shopping and the hiking and the other Gatlinburg stuff, we shuffled our cards and got down to it.
Full disclosure, we’ve been doing this for several years now, and typically, one or the other of us takes a beatdown. That is, someone gets a punishing. The following year, the winner, out of pity, buys the loser a new set of booster packs as a birthday present in the idle hope that the next M:TG competition will be more, well, competitive.
Which is a long way to explain that I wore these Punisher socks in honor of whoever takes the annual punishing. And I’m sad to say, the past couple of years, that whoever has been me.
This year, though, was a close one. Not a full-blown punishment, but I lost 6-7, nonetheless. The humiliation stings, of course, but at least it’s mitigated by the hope of rolling into next year with a brand new set of decks.
And, of course, with the knowledge that at least I had the appropriate socks for the occasion.