Archive - Oct 2005

October 19th

You Can't Win

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First, because not even I can do this bit of reality justice, it's vitally important that you stay up to date on the unfolding saga of Jack Thompson vs. Penny Arcade.

The short version: Joystick Jack issued a $10,000-to-charity challenge to game producers. Someone took him up on it with a GTA mod. Jack reneged, claiming "satire". He could claim "satire" 'cause he used the words "modest proposal", which is the only piece of satire idiots know, and they think using those words in any context magically creates satire. Anyway.

Penny Arcade stepped up and gave $10,000 to charity in Jack's stead - specifically, the ESA, the organization fighting Thompson and the laws he inspires in court. Oh, and published a link to another site containing Thompson's contact information. Thompson has now asked the Seattle Police Department to arrest Penny Arcade.

This is disappointing, because his inevitable self-destruction is happening too fast, too soon. The only good thing is that none of this is leaking into the mainstream media - it's limited to game-sites and such. So with luck, Jack Thompson can continue to accidentally do good works for all gamers everywhere.

And now, memo to lottery-whores: YOU ARE DUMB.

I hate you all so much. I mean, it's bad enough that the lottery is essentially a regressive voluntary tax. Donald Trump does not buy quick picks. Jack Abramoff doesn't play his daughter's birthday in the hopes of winning ten grand. The people who want to win money are the people who NEED MONEY.

But those are the regulars. The people who keep the system going. They are not the lottery whores. No, the lottery whores are all around you. The people who only throw in when they decide it's worth their while. At some point today, as you go about your business, stop. Look to your left. Look to your right. Odds are, one of the people you just looked at has mentioned the fucking Powerball at least once this week.

Were they not so annoying, THESE are the players that make me love the lottery. These are the "tax on people who can't do math" players. People with jobs, people who are at least comfortable and eating regularly. If these people just bought their tickets and shut the hell up about it, I'd be the lottery's biggest fan. But they never shut up about it.

No. They have to re-tell the same tired fantasies about winning and quitting the job and what they'd do with the money OVER and OVER and OVER again. And it's not like they're interesting fantasies. There's never any prospective space tourists. Nobody who wants to spend the whole thing on sardines. Just the same "tell the boss to fuck off and buy a houseboat" bullshit every single time.

And heaven forfend you dare refuse to join in, either by mentioning you don't play, or worse, by opting out of a workplace pool. Then you get to hear the "can't win if you don't play" bullshit turned up to eleven. Yes, thank you, fuckhead. I'm well aware of the difference between zero and infinitesimal.

I know you've all heard it too. But don't give in to the peer pressure. Stick to your guns. Remember, even in the one in a cotillion chance they all become millionaires, if all of these Powerball-humping fucks quit their jobs and leave, aren't you the real winner? They get to spend the next six months arguing with lawyers, fending off family, and realizing that the cash they sent to Nigeria isn't actually going to offer any return on investment. And then they'll be back where they started, only they won't be able to afford the gas in their new car and they won't be sitting next to you.

And some things are more precious than money.