As I walked away with the match slip I didn't recall my opponent saying anything other than "go" and "alright man" at any point during our match. To be fair, playing at 2-3 isn't exactly anybody's dream. Despite still being in top 64 contention there was no way I'd still be battling if I had access to a vehicle that was ready to leave Milwaukee. Even still, I generally play against more cordial players when the matches basically don't matter. Perhaps he likewise was trapped in the great Wisconsin labyrinth. Perhaps his actual dream of a top eight finish was of fantastic importance to him. For whatever reason, there was nothing content about his disposition.
Thousands of years ago I was working a slave labor job at a gas station where I would have several hundred live interactions on the daily. Approximately three of them were pleasant. Needless to say, getting off work and grabbing a beer or twelve was the moment that I lived for.
On a decidedly average night I was conversing with the only person that I would label as a gas station "regular" that I didn't on some level despise. On his way out the door he told me to have a good night and I responded with something unnecessarily sarcastic as I was wont to do at the time. Probably the typical "I'll do what I can."
He stopped at the door, took a sip of his coffee and said, "You know man, right now you've got your boozing, you got your girls, you got your drugs, but someday- I mean this- Someday man, you're going to learn to just appreciate a nice cup of coffee."
I sat with my face buried in my hands. My head felt like somebody had clubbed me with a bag of nails. I had been drinking water nonstop all morning and not an ounce of misery had left my body. It was a miracle that I had gotten out of bed at all- not everybody in our car had. I heard a voice from somewhere in the world around me.
"Are you dead again, Ryan?"
"That depends how you mean."
I removed my head from my hands and saw the face of Bennett Snyder. I'm sure he wasn't expecting anything pretty, but when I say I looked like hell I don't exaggerate.
I don't think this was the answer he was expecting.
"So, what's wrong then? You're 2-0 and I've never seen you so miserable."
"We're calling it a hangover."
Another game, another mulligan. Another short-lived attempt at the swiss-gambit after an 0-1 start in another Standard tournament. I wouldn't know this until the day after, but mulliganing to four twice in a Legacy event proved to be preferable to mulliganing at all in a Standard one.
Another turn and another incorrect understanding of the rules by my opponent. Another time that I didn't call a judge on him and another loss where it wouldn't have actually mattered. Another checkmark on another "drop" box. Another trip to the liquor store. Another opportunity to Cube.
2-1 and I found myself paired against Adrian Sullivan. I had assumed he would be on something on the zonky side, but I was somewhat disappointed. He was on UR Delver, though I did find his misers Cerebral Vortex quite amusing.
Our match consisted of one us getting a game loss and the other mulling to four (savvy readers will know what happened to whom). It was far from ideal, but I enjoyed talking to Adrian very much.
A lot of people don't like Adrian Sullivan, and very few of these people actually know him, and for this reason I admire his continued dedication to the game. He clearly has fans, and haters tend to be the more vocal group anyhow. I myself have my own fair share of haters, and to classify them as anything other than "adorable" gives them far too much credit. They are shallow and harmless. I had asked him about his commentary and I loved that he acknowledged its polarizing nature. Here was a man who knew exactly who he was and wasn't afraid of what others would think of it.
The end result was a "W" for him, but it was my most enjoyable match of the weekend. Somewhere towards the end of our match a friend of Adrian's delivered him something the he referred to as a Ponza. "For five dollars it'll take about five months off your life. And it's #@$%ing awesome." On a different day I would be all over one of those.
I laughed as I shook Stephen's hand.
"I actually can't beat you. Left the Crypts at home this weekend. Hahaha."
"Oh, heh. I thought you boarded some things in against me though."
"I have one Surgical Extraction and a Rough//Tumble- which would've been real fantastic here- but I'm basically cold to the manaless version of dredge."
I don't see how I could justify being upset about losing an unwinnable matchup after already being out of top 8 contention. I'm not going to say that I enjoyed playing it, but where else did I have to be? There would be plenty of time to grab Subway after I lost this one.
"I feel kind of like a jerk playing this deck. I mean, it requires basically no thought."
"Don't. I'm sure you have your reasons, and I hope you win out. Next time I'll probably have the Crypts though, so watch yourself!"
I didn't get much sleep on the five hour ride back from Milwaukee, but Kyle Olson, Dana Kinsella and Tony Ranallo provided excellent company. Tony was even sober Saturday night, so he had plenty of stories to tell us about... ourselves.
I had an early shift on Monday morning that I wasn't going to have a ton of time to get ready for. Maybe an hour to sleep. Plenty of time for a shower and breakfast though.
When my alarm went off I dragged my bones upstairs and fired up my newfangled Keurig. What a wonderful machine it's turning out to be.
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