I have something to tell you, but I don’t even know where to start. I’ve been keeping it a secret for a long time, and for good reason. It’s kind of embarrassing, hard to explain, and frankly, something I don’t really understand myself.
It has to do with Cory.
And where he often goes on Friday nights.
And why he sometimes disappears into the basement for hours.
And how it’s not “just a phase” I was hoping he would grow out of because he’s been doing it for about 17 years now.
You guys, my husband is addicted to Magic.
But not that kind.
Not the pull rabbits out of hats kind.
Or the smoke and mirrors "presto!” kind.
And least of all not the, “hey, you’re hardly wearing anything and your hair is so bright you could see it through a smoke cloud, would like to be my assistant?” kind.
I’m talking about Magic: The Gathering. It is a card game, and chances are if you have a pimply teenager without a lot of friends who plays in the band, wears a lot of black and occasionally dabbles in eyeliner, he probably knows how to play this game too. Cory will be annoyed with how I am portraying this, but the following is a TRUE STORY.
It was a weekend, and Cory went out one night to play Magic at a card shop in a neighboring town. He sat across his opponent, a young teenage kid, and began making small talk. Cory asked him where he went to school and when he answered Cory said, “Oh hey, I have a niece that goes to that school! Do you know ------?” And he did. And the next day at school this kid went up to my niece and said, “Hey, your Uncle Cory says ‘hi’.” And she was like, “Wha…?” So the kid explained, she came back to us and reported the run in, and we have made fun of Cory for that ever since. It’s how I show my love.
Cory insists that there are plenty of normal people just like him who love to play Magic (and that’s where the definition of “normal” gets fuzzy), and he has continually defended the investment of the hobby. I have always smiled and nodded at this defense, waiting to turn my head before generating an eye roll that could circle the globe. HOWEVER. (Cory, are you ready? Because I’m about to put this in writing.)
A few weeks ago my good husband informed me that he was in need of new golf clubs. Yes, and the Haitians are in need of clean drinking water because they are dying of the cholera. Anything else? Oh, he tried.
Cory: “You know, I’ve had these clubs for like, 10 years.”
Cory: “And the technology is totally outdated.”
Cory: “Maybe we could clip coupons to save more?”
Cory: “What if I sold some of my Magic cards to pay for new clubs?”
This weekend there is a tournament going on in Denver, so Cory decided to look through his cards to see what he was willing to part with and trade. Then, on a whim, I decided to go with him. As we walked into the convention center it smelled like a boys’ dorm, where the dirty socks never get washed and the pizza boxes never get thrown out. I looked around and leaned over to whisper in Cory’s ear, “You don’t have man boobs and I don’t have a lip ring, WE DON’T BELONG HERE.” But he saw the guy he needed to do business with and we stood in line to wait for him. It was just like Oz. I needed a heart, Cory needed a brain, there were people in braids, and it smelled like dog. Noticeably absent, any sequins or gingham. THEN, a dude walked by wearing a shirt that said, no joke, “Once a King, Always A King But Once A Knight Is Never Enough.” Oh, my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Unlike Cory’s Magic cards, which I would trade faster than a hummingbird on Red Bull to get bedroom furniture.
Cory settled behind the table and pulled out his rarest, best kept card. “Whoo boy!” the dude exclaimed. Cory plopped down his second best next to it, and the guy inspected the cards. Cory had paid approximately $40 for both cards some years back, and now the guy looked at the lesser card and declared, “I’ll give you $125 for that one,” and picking up the 2nd card said, “and I could give you…$600 for this one,” as he held up the rare. Cory looked him in the eye and said, “I think it’s worth more than that. How about $1000 for both?” He had to ask his boss, and his boss said ‘yes’, which is why you will want to invite Cory with you on your next trip to Tijuana when you go shopping for souvenirs. After plopping a few more cards down Cory ended up walking out with $1200, enough to buy his clubs and a nice dinner.
We did both.