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Mike Sugarbaker

Test positive

2 min read

I got a new full-time gig recently, ending a six-month-long period of comfortable, underemployed lollygagging. Last time I had a period like that was in the bust times of 2001 and 2002. It was a little less comfortable that time, but really, the only remarkable thing about those two times of my life is how little I got done. Although actually, I had pretty decent-sized independent programming projects both times. Didn’t finish either one, though. And I had time to win NaNoWriMo and Narmo, respectively. But I shake my head at all the time I wasted. I slept in a lot. I surfed the web a lot. I wasn’t depressed exactly, but I wasn’t making positive effort for the good.

I’ve just gone to Origins and Gen Con, the nation’s two biggest game conventions. I’ve gone to Origins many times, but this year I resolved to do it differently: I signed up for a couple of the scheduled, limited-enrollment game events that these things have. Also, when not in a specific event but just wandering around, I resolved to start saying yes to people who ask me if I want to play stuff. I used to think to myself, “I could sit down to a random game right now and find out if it’s any good, but there might be something more fun around the next corner. I don’t want to be tied down.” This, of course, resulted in my never doing anything. And guess what? If you don’t do anything because you’re afraid of doing the wrong thing, you are doing the wrong thing. And how did I do? Okay. It turns out that it’s pretty natural to shy away from people who want something from you. But I did pretty well at Gen Con, where I played a lot of games influenced by improv theater and its tradition of “yes, and.”

Saying “yes” to things; making positive effort for the good. Different things, but also the same thing.