Friday, September 16, 2016

A Kautionary Tale

One of the things I regret most is not purchasing hundreds of copies of the Super Nintendo game Earthbound in the late ‘90s, when Best Buy was selling them new for $5 a pop. If I had, I could have sold them on eBay for ridiculous amounts of cash in the early 2010s, and been able to retire to a life of Assassin’s Creed and cheap whisky by 2013.

Instead, I just finished writing my fourth press release of the day while my two trolling coworkers Tweet me insulting gifs. Meanwhile, having just returned his 1,000th meeting today, my boss secretly considers running away with nothing but his guitar and a case of club soda.

Well, at least I was able to achieve the cheap whisky part of my dream life.

The thing is, there was really no way for me to know what my Earthbound inaction would lead to. Today, I’d like to share with you a similarly blindsiding tale, this time a warning for the overenthusiastic. If I can save just one life, the ten minutes I spent writing and promoting this article on my anemic Twitter account will all have been worth it.

The year was 1993. I was in fifth grade, and Mortal Kombat was the hot new fighting game everyone was talking about, even the teachers and possibly their dogs as well. While discussing the game’s brutal and varied fatalities, such as Johnny Cage’s decapitation move, Sub-Zero’s decapitation move, and Raiden’s decapitation move, my friend Eric casually mentioned that if you preordered Mortal Kombat on a home system, you got a T-shirt.

“That sounds awesome!” I presumably yelled. I can’t remember. It was 23 freaking years ago.

“You don’t want it,” replied Eric.

As it turned out, Eric’s uncle (who was somehow only two or three years older than Eric) had preordered MK on the Genesis, and received his shirt. He cheerfully pulled it on and jumped on the school bus the first chance he got.

However, upon showing his face at school, he was pummeled mercilessly by classmates as they exclaimed “MORTAL KOMBAT!” over and over, again and again. I’m told this went on literally all day.

This story taught me a very important life lesson that I’ll never forget: Don't forget to use the block button.

You have been warned.

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