Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Velvet the Dungeon Master

Velvet is staying home today because he doesn't feel well. I'm having a hard time mustering up any sympathy since all last week, during his spring break, he should have been working on an essay but he's been playing Dungeons & Dragons until dawn with his buddies instead. This essay will complete his application to be a counselor at the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp we all know and love up in Vermont. As it happens, half the time the kids who were over here playing D&D unitl 5:30am were his bunk mates.

If said essay is not ready to email the instant I walk in the door after work this afternoon, there will be Trouble in Mudsville. Since his 18th birthday is Sunday, and I haven't killed the little testosterone driven Aries by now, we can be sure the child will survive my wrath. Most likely, he's pretty sure he can survive anything I dish out because it seems to me like Velvet has had the upper hand for years. I can still make him feel exceedingly guilty, however, which I suppose is my role in life as his mother.

This Dungeons & Dragons game took over my living room roughly ten days ago. In general, I completely support this activity because the kids agree you can't be too stoned or it fucks up the game. Ergo: they have stopped Hotboxing his bathroom. Velvet knows I hate it when I get off the elevator into our hallway and can smell weed as soon as I clear the smell of heavenly Indian cooking that generally seeps through the second door on the left. That curry is probably what has saved us from being raided by the hostile hag at the other end of the hall - an unattractive high school teacher who Velvet and the girl who used to live next door called the wicked witch when they were little kids. I'm sorry to say she does look a lot like the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz only with a substantially bigger ass. In any case, I hate it when you can smell weed twenty feet down the hall.

Velvet originally started playing D&D as a camper up in Vermont. Many people will dismiss D&D as something just for geeks - and I would agree except that there's a female in hot pursuit of Velvet who has told him that she thinks it's sexy that he's the Dungeon Master. I doubt this girl has thoroughly explored the BDSM sites on line to see exactly what goes on in one of those sexy dungeons, but she's not the first female who swooned over a fellow with an air of confidence and control. Unfortunately, her attitude has contributed to Velvet's cockiness.

I have been warned by my mother to expect Velvet's cockiness to reach new and staggering heights as a high school senior. He's right on developmental cue, and I must confess it's kind of heart warming. He is a popular child and living in Menopausal World Headquarters increases his panache. Notably, most of his friends have much nicer apartments. We have always been hanging tightly on to the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder here in NYC, and since Velvet has always attended private schools, he was convinced we were poor. People thought we were nuts to take him to India when he was in fifth grade, but he's never said one dang word about us being poor ever since he was surrounded by beggars at the Taj Mahal who were his own age. Velvet may not have the cash behind him that other kids do, but his Coolness Factor has more than compensated.

One of his long time buddies from the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp -- a formerly rich one who's father died in a diving accident, leaving the family so strapped for cash that the widow had to sell the experimental farm, the house in the Hamptons, and finally a Warhol -- has told me that the reason Velvet makes a good Dungeon Master is that he's completely random and retarded. I have since learned that his quick computational abilities enhance his Master Status. I always wondered what they were doing with all those goofy dice, and now I know that D&D requires a lot of statistics to determine exactly how much damage was inflicted by The Hydra, for example.

Between the mathematical computations and the reliance on mythical peoples, beasts, customs and weaponry, I can see how D&D got a reputation as a game for geeks without dates - especially since if you listen to them playing it sounds remarkably like Hercules has fallen into a chapter of The Lord of the Rings and started demanding statistics.

If they were stoned, they would never be able to do the math, and the argument about Mithril would continue for hours. They wouldn't remember the designated mathematical functions of the various dice.

That Velvet has spent his spring break developing his skills as a Dungeon Master indicates to me that he's figured out a way to enter into a college social scene. I imagine he'll be presiding over epic games in the freshman dorm since plenty of kids are RP Gamers (that's role playing, for the uninitiated). They may not have played D&D, they will certainly have played Grand Theft Auto or Halo.

Life at our house has improved dramatically ever since the Xbox broke. You can be UberHigh and play the hell out of Xbox - and that's why you would smell weed all the way down the hall in the first place.

So on Saturday night, in honor of Velvet's 18th Birthday, there will be a D&D Fiesta here at Casa de Trish. I may even bake an M&M cake, just like the ones I made for him when he was three, four, five and six.

Plugs for Friends:

If you happen to be in Austin, Texas before April 11, neon artist Ben Livingston aka beneon has a show up and running at the illustrious Continental Club upstairs in the gallery. I haven't seen the show yet since I won't get to Austin until the 10th - but I've known that Ben is a genius ever since he and my brother started hanging out in the 80's. Ben has one of those lives where you suspect all his major decisions are based solely on their entertainment value. He never fails to amuse. He describes the experience of performing in the world famous festival of Austin music, SxSW, at The Continental Drift.


Kitty said...

I've heard much that is good about D&D ... never seen it, experienced it, played it myself ... but maybe when my kids are older? Who knows.

I hope Velvet has a fabulous 18th birthday. My daughter hits 12 this week - another headstrong Aries.


PENolan said...

12 and Aries? Whew!

yellowdog granny said...

my middle kid tom when he was a teenager loved d&d...was no problem till he didn't want to go to school one day cause he and his friends had been up all night long playing d&d...since i believe in a small amount of child abuse..a few bips upside the head and a jerk on his foot and the threat of cold water bath got him going..after that..there were strict rules on D&D

PENolan said...

Granny, that is precisely what I feared was going to happen today when he started bellyaching. Fortuately, he really had a belly ache.

Comrade Kevin said...

I never could get into D&D or magic cards for that matter.

PENolan said...

In college, we played bong backgammon and watched Star Trek.

Gail said...

I am horrid at all those games - no coordination to speak of.
Wow 18? A landmark for you too mom/.

And Velvet's strong mind? Gee, I wonder where he got that from? :-)


Love Gail

womaninblack said...

It's all about the Wii at our house - I'd welcome some D&D action. At least it wouldn't give the kids repetitive strain injury.

womaninblack said...

It's all about the Wii at our house - I'd welcome some D&D action. At least it wouldn't give the kids repetitive strain injury.

fergie said...

okay, i admit it... i played d&d in HS back in cheddarland. I also admit to being the only female. but it was FUN! and yes, having a brain helps.

good luck with that sr year in HS. My male offspring turned into an Ogre that year and hasn't recovered yet ... thankfully he ran away to inflict his ogreness on the other side of the family. I sure wish he'd gotten into D&D instead of Halo!

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