I was just at my local watering hole / preferred place to play pinball (well, preferred up until all the drama went down and now I don’t feel as comfortable playing there as I used to). Got there a bit early in the day and flipped some balls around. As I’m playing Bride of Pinbot, out of the corner of my eye I see the person who routes the machines there and runs the weekly league as well. My heart drops.
This person does not like me.
This person DID like me, not too long ago. Before the days when I was labeled a “pinball gamergater”. But the person that maligned me as such is his best friend – he even bought a Paragon from them! – so you know this person was never going to give me a fair shake once all this bullshit manufactured drama went down.
This person told me through a third party that it was best I didn’t attend the league any longer. I was “making people uncomfortable”, as I was told. My embarrassment levels were at an all time high and I really didn’t want to make matters worse, so I complied.
But that was, what, two months ago? Six to eight weeks ago? Certainly things must have mellowed out a bit since then. I was intimidated AF, but I felt like I had to go up to him and ask. I took a big swig of my IPA and made my way over to him. As soon as his eyes met mine, I knew this wasn’t going to be a joyous occasion.
Plus, I looked down at his feet (he was wearing sandals) and I noticed he had some tree-climbing monkey toes. I have shitty worthless toe stubs. This was NOT going to end well.
I asked him, “Hey man, mind if I talk to you for a second?”. His face read the complete opposite of interested, but he didn’t speak, so I continued. “Is it okay if I join the upcoming league session?”
He looked at me like he wished he could make my brain explode on some Scanners shit and said “I’d prefer if you didn’t”.
I asked “Why”? He started to get agitated and said “Look, I do not want to have this conversation with you”. The wheels in my mind started spinning. Why is it that all of the wonderful people in the pinball community who have such an intense dislike for me have absolutely no desire to have any type of conversation with me? What better time would it have been than that to speak about this issue? The dude was holding a skateboard between his knees, it wasn’t like I was taking him away from brain surgery or even bulb replacement. But no. This dude was adamant about shutting me down. So I went for bad.
“You know you’re discriminating against me, right?” I said. That made his voice raise.
“LOOK MAN, you don’t have a bunch of people coming up to you saying that they feel uncomfortable with you around, they’re all like “this is guy is saying that shit on the internet?!?”. I have to worry about the safety of the members of my league!”
I crossed my arms in defiance. “Why is it that I’m allowed to play in [a different local league] but not yours?”
That made him angrier. “HIS LEAGUE IS NOT MY ISSUE, MAN.”
I lowered my voice, trying to defuse the situation. “[Name withheld], let me just ask you. Have I ever been anything but decent to you? Have you ever seen me having problems with anyone? Have you-”
He drew the line with that. “YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID, TIM. YOU NEED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS!”, he bellowed, rising out of his chair and getting into my face. I tried to respond and he interrupted me once again. “I DON’T CARE DUDE, FUCKING GO AWAY.”
And with that, I’m left with two decisions. One is very stupid and knuckle-headed and would lead to even MORE drama and issues, or I walk away.
I settled my bar tab and walked away.
I’m SO fucking tired of being treated like this. I’m SO fucking sick of hearing “well I never had a problem with you Tim, but….”. If I’ve never been anything but nice to you, and you decide you have to hate me because of what someone else says about me, then I highly suggest you visit a chiropractor post haste because you lack spine.
Of all the people that I’ve met over the years, played a round or two of pinball with, got my ass beat at pinball / beat their ass at pinball, shared a joke / laugh / chuckle / beer together, I just wish ONE of them would say “hey, you know what? I know that dude and he’s never been anything but a-ok with me”, and then suggest maybe a bit of calming down and getting along and stopping with the slander and propaganda.
But that’s a difficult decision to make, one I don’t blame people for not making. Not getting involved is the path of least resistance. Actually, the path of least resistance is just blindly going along with what has been said about me. Not getting involved is just an easy thing to do. You know what Geddy sang, though: “If you chose not to decide / you still have made a choice!”
Absolutely none of the people seriously embedded in this drama are willing to talk to me. Not a one. I send out a “yo, what the fuck?” via PM and immediately get blocked – or even get blocked trying to send that. I really, really, really do appreciate the few people who have been willing to chat about this, or offer a bit of support, or just not be a cruel, shitty person to their fellow man.
Especially one that’s fucking down on their luck. For the last two years I’ve been dealing exclusively in death, destruction and disloyalty among the few people around me, and now THIS? I looked to pinball as a form of escape, and a way to perhaps bond with my fellow weirdo freaky-deeks. Now I find that the freaky-deeks are really just part of the shitty ridiculous outrage culture that got Trump elected?