The fucking war has been going on for seven years.
The American war. The stupid war. The fear-mongering war. The war that I wish had never been.
When the Two Towers came down in 2001 I was at work, at the same job I have today. I and my co-workers were all sent home as it was a government building and no one knew what else might happen. I didn't own a car at the time (I would buy one two months later), so I bussed home. The wife and I watched the news all day on TV. I'm sure we got something to eat. I smoked a few cigarettes (I would quit a couple months later...the car was, in part, a reward for my wife and I giving up the habit). I called my father that night, the only phone call I remember making.
I told him I hoped to hell we didn't end up going to war over this stupid shit. Yes, someone was guilty of a horrific crime, but you don't go blow up sovereign nations for the actions of a handful of assholes.
Two years later, the fucking war started...and it's been going on ever since.
To me, the last seven years have been only a portion of my life...I'm 36 years old, and my formative years were long behind me when 9/11 happened. My growth and upbringing were mostly behind me, the shaping of my core beliefs and values already done. Yeah, there's constant "polishing" that goes on every day, and I learn new things and incorporate new things (consciously and subconsciously) into my psyche. But for the most part I'm the same guy today that I was seven years ago. A little fatter. A little "thinner on top." My lungs are certainly clearer. And I'm doing some actual writing, actually trying to contribute something to the role-playing hobby that has given me so much enjoyment over the years. Hell, I've gotten much more in contact with my gaming roots the last few years, not just playing, but discussing, reading, teaching, and sharing with others...being a part of a gaming community, even if it is mostly an on-line community.
But I am still (mostly) the same guy. Having opted out of the military many years ago (I nearly joined ROTC prior to college, and decided against it), the war hasn't affected my life except in the peripheral way it does other non-military Americans...the economy has been fucked and there's more fear and anxiety floating around the culture. That's peripheral to me...the death toll over-seas is like the scores of a sporting event or something. After all, no one moved into my town and blew up my water filtration plant or anything.
What blows me away, though, is that for many of my fellow gamers...the young ones, the ones in college, the ones under 25...the last seven years have been during their formative years. Kids that couldn't drink or legally drive in 2002 are married or have kids. Kids that hadn't even graduated middle school are now in college and perhaps part of a gaming group...certainly some for the first time ever.
How does the last seven years color their game play? I have no doubt that it's affected their personalities...has it affected the way they play and use role-playing games?
Do they cling to Pathfinder because D20, first released in 2000, is a rock of sanity and stability and an opportunity to enjoy a little (well supported) escapist fantasy?
What about the kids that have gone on to join the military itself? The guys (and gals) I knew that enlisted pre-2000 were certainly no strangers to RPGs...some played more games after joining up than they ever did before. How has the war affected the games played by U.S. soldiers? I know of at least one promising game designer that sold his company and joined the military back in 2004. I wonder whatever happened to him...
Ah, well...I've got other things to work on today. My mind is going to morbid places and it's a beautiful, sunny day outside. Time to get out of the coffee shop and walk the beagles!