Here it is, my Bell of Lost Souls intro and one of those things those who love to hate me love to hate.
I dig it! It makes me happy to tweak the nose of the easily annoyed - but what does it mean?
Some of you know, but I'm very sure the vast majority don't. Even if you were reading Strictly Average way back then, it's one of those inside jokes that's easy to miss. Here's the secret history of the Unicorn.
The Secret History of the Unicorn
I've been Stalking Jawaballs Since 2009, but sometime last year he started using the term Unicorn to describe female gamers. As I recall, it was around the time of the infamous, stomach-turning article, Anatomy of a Girl Gamer...
...which is Mkerr's evil masterpiece. You may not be aware, but it's why he's no longer around: he's in hiding.
The problem is, I didn't buy it. Unicorns are the female version of the typical male gamer? "Nope," said Brent, "it doesn't pass the smell test."
So I wrote an article titled Unicorns Don't Exist.
The only article I've written to actually get me in trouble with my lovely wife. And not because it was originally titled Unicorns Don't Exist and Won't Sleep With You. Nor because it was followed up by Unicorns Don't Exist... Still.
As an interesting footnote to this story, the second article has my favorite joke in it... not that most people caught it. It ran something like this:
Reader: Oh crud, I don't exist!
Brent: Only when I turn around; the waveforms break up at that point.
Another interesting footnote is these two articles, which ran back to back, ultimately changed Strictly Average more than any other single influence. The subject matter caused the links to get dropped by Ron From the Warp. I emailed him and found out he screens the blog content of everything that appears in his links. It was only temporary (whew!) but at the time it bothered me no end.
I didn't like the idea that my material was causing Ron a problem - even if only every so often. I respected what he was trying to do, so after giving it some thought I decided I would put more effort in controlling my potty mouth and giving more consideration to the quality of the material I put out.
It's where the *SELF-EDIT* came from... which I use but sparingly, otherwise it's not really screening anything, is it? Anyway, I think the quality of the blog improved as a result.
And as one last interesting development from all this... I'm fairly sure these things contributed (even if only in a small way) to Dethtron and Lauby deciding to create the House of Paincakes, which at its core is a home for links of a more adult-oriented point of view.
Back to the Story
So, what does all this have to do with Christmas? Because it does; it's why I'm writing it today... this is a Strictly Average Christmas story!
You see, these articles introduced me to a young lady with an avid interest in gaming and painting. She introduced herself and we had an interesting conversation about girl gamers and Unicorns.
That's probably where it would have ended, except she wasn't born female. She's transgender.
Before you think it wildly inappropriate of me to share all this, let me point out she's already done so. It's on her blog. Still, I'm not going to link to it directly; if you're interested enough, go find it for yourself.
She's not the only transgender Blogger; there's are at least two more I know of, and one of those I've chatted with via email.
In Trouble on the Home Front
These two articles created a bigger, more personal impact than I ever expected. It's one of the things I love about Blogging; amazing and completely unexpected things can happen when the things you write can reach around the world!
Anyway, I took my wife out to eat at our favorite Thai restaurant and, making conversation, I brought all this up. Being a dumb guy, it took me a moment to realize Jenn was really pissed off with me.
Shocked, I tried to puzzle out what I did wrong. Collecting her thoughts, my wife finally said:
"It's symbolism. If a girl wants to be associated with a beautiful, magical creature like a Unicorn then who the hell are you to tell her she doesn't exist?"
When I reference Unicorns in my bylines, I'm speaking directly to that small but meaningful group of people who were born with a few more challenges to overcome than most.
I get some of you out there are ignorant of the gay, lesbian, and transgender community, and ignorance leads directly to fear and stigmatism. For all of my education and training, I don't claim to understand how someone must feel as they grow up with the knowledge they are somehow different from their peers...
...because experience is relative. I'll never use the term, "I understand how you feel," because even a well-meaning lie is a lie.
Experience is relative: we live behind our eyes, trapped by our imperfect senses. We can never really understand those around us, no matter how much we may think we do.
Of course, that doesn't mean it's not important to try! Man is a social creature; we are happiest in a community.
The gaming community is no different.
Unicorns exist in our community. I've met them. So when I write my byline, I could care less if it pisses off some random people (they probably need shaking up anyway) because I'm more about making sure Unicorns know I support them.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
There's the reason for the season! The holidays are about community, love, and acceptance.
And Jesus, too. I'm willing to bet he's hanging out with Buddha. Among others.
Merry Christmas, folks.