Being in the Main the Mouth of Olde House Rules

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Attack of the (Fake) Grownups...

So a few days ago, I was chatting with an acquittance on Facebook when talk turned to Holmes basic and those cardboard chits. No, this isn't a post about chits. Chits are a kink in the fabric of gaming history. Food for the grateful, thank God I don't have to deal with 'em anymore ramblings common in certain circles. My friend got Holmes basic with the cardboard chits and immediately wanted actual dice, which is understandable. And it laid bare some enduring conceits about play and the meaning of our so-called maturity.

He wanted dice, but his parents weren't on board, which I understand. How were they to know D&D wasn't Monopoly? Complete and self contained. Kids are notoriously fickle, and one week's must-have toy is next week's forgotten relic in the hallway closet. Anyway, I'm emphatically not knocking his folks, who were loving and indulgent enough to buy their son a thing he clearly wanted for Christmas. But my friend went on to describe a lifetime of family and friends dismissive of gaming (and play) as beneath any right-minded adult...

I've experienced the same. But first, a disclaimer. My friend's parents weren't this, and he wasn't deriding his loved ones. We can't all share the same interests, and accepting this salient fact seems to me the adult thing to do. But there's a snooty species of grownup that adopts a more superficial definition of adulthood; often, the negation of certain activities, while criticizing others for failing to meet their narrow criteria. Basically, people who dismiss others as deficient or immature for the (non-)crime of liking to play games.

Good-natured ribbing is one thing. In moderation. But telling people they're childish or somehow failing in their life and obligations is something else entirely. It's mean-spirited and obstructs our ability to connect with and appreciate others. This is often done with a self-congratulatory air that betrays their insecurities. I can understand this. Some people come from generations of deprivation where anything that doesn't pay the bills is seen as frivolous, and this thinking, born of an undeniable need to survive, is a guilty inheritance...

So yeah, hobbyists of any kind are a privileged lot blessed with resources to spare. But what does it mean to be grown up anyway? I'd say it's all about responsibility. And our priorities, obviously. People who only think of themselves, or refuse to own up to their choices, or make zero effort when they could. People who play first, work later and get indignant at the very suggestion that maybe, just maybe, they've gotten it backwards. These people are immature, and it's not be wrong to say so. But play is never inherently a childish thing.

Robyn's a retired opera singer who spent a year of twenty hour days caring for her dying mother. She's also an avid gamer. I challenge any brave soul to call her a child. I'm a retired Air Force officer and disabled veteran. And there's more. Ask the ICU nurse who plays to unwind after a week of keeping people alive. Or the fellow veteran who manages a business for all that implies. They're adults, which has little to do with their hobbies. Fortunately, the mainstreaming of the pastime is eroding such notions, making us all better adults...


  1. I manage complex legal issues by day and paint Black Templars by night. Some people like watching sports and buying expensive cars. I like small power armored religious nuts.

  2. "chits are a kink in the fabric of gaming history." LOL

    It is interesting the response people have when they discover you game. In the Army (contrary to what people always say) I found very few people that played and so I often kept it buried. I especially did this in the middle years as I was striving to make rank. Once I was senior and closing in on retirement, I did not care any more and let others know. It was still shunned. And it was not only me, my battalion XO played Warhammer but he too kept it quiet as it would be seen as childish.

    My family never really supported my hobby. They never bought me a gaming item as a gift, I bought everything with paper route money. They certainly did not participate or encourage it. This includes my current family. My youngest was slightly interested but as she grew older interest faded. My wife was never supportive, at times deriding it, and thinks it is a weird childish thing.

    Cut today, and my new job. My boss asked me what I did for a hobby, I said I draw maps for D&D. His reply actually shocked me. "Really? And then you use them in the game? That is very cool, you will have to show me these."

    Strange times we live in.

    1. Yeah, the military curbed my gaming too. Ironically, gaming encourages tactical thinking, so the service should appreciate it more than it does...

  3. "Holmes and Chits forever" ;-)
    Used those chits until my parents ordered me a set of dice from far away USA...
    They never played but always supported!

    1. That's great to hear! My parents saw my grades (and math) improve, so they got on board pretty quick. Even played with me once or twice...