Cooking with Oats 11 – A Fond Farewell -or- Thank God We Don’t Have to Suffer This Talentless Hack Any More.
November 1, 2012
Posted by Mike aka Mightily Oats
Howdy y’all and welcome to what may be the last episode of Cooking with Oats.
This is an open letter to all 3 of my readers (Hi Mom!): There comes a time in every man’s life when one has to take a good hard look at what he does and ask if this is what they are meant to be doing; a time when he needs to ask himself, “Can I do this, or do I look like some sort of gay super hero?”
I’d never really written anything before this gig and it was one of the most fun things I’ve never been paid to do. Based on the low volume of hate mail I’ve received one of two things has happened: I’ve done something right, or you are all a bunch of lazy bastards that can’t even be bothered to tell an anonymous dick on the web that his writing makes babies cry and he should save the world some time and heartache and take his own life, preferably with a torque wrench, some cheese wire and a Hefty Bag. Either way, as long as people are paying attention to me, I call that a win.
I started writing for CommanderCast as a lark, a little personal challenge that I laid in front of myself just to see what would happen. Taking quill in hand I penned a janky, stilted, and barely coherent article about a terrible Baron Sengir deck that was just as painful to play as it was to read about. As luck would have it, Andy is mentally deranged and is a terrible judge of character. He immediately offered me a spot on the writing staff with all of the benefits thereof. He gave me a pretty sweet deal, too. I was offered a $0.00 signing bonus, $0.00 per article, plus a matching 401k up to 10%. Taking the long view, I would have been a fool to turn him down.
For the next 6 months I slaved away, hunched over the blazing writing forge, hammer and tongs gripped in my gnarled hands, belching out product of questionable quality. The other writers and I toiled away, living in constant fear of displeasing our Demonic Taskmaster as his displeasure tended to manifest itself as a sound thrashing about the head and shoulders followed by a convivial boot in the ass. On those rare occasions when he was otherwise occupied with his sound editing for the show, the writers would while away those quiet moments by playing Tic-Tac-Toe on each other’s scared backs.
Like a biker gang, there is only one way out or CommanderCast: Death. I know that I will live the rest of my days in constant fear that Andy will leap around a corner, homemade shiv in hand, backed up by his entire posse of ex-cage fighters and Viking warriors, and beat me mercilessly before he guts me like a trout. Even when I’m eighty years old I’ll have to keep looking over my shoulder for a crazed Canadian charging at me with a walker held over his head while screaming, “LET’S GET IT!” at the top of his lungs. Truly, I will never know another nights rest from this day forth.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Commander and a really love writing about it and I really, really love the CommanderCast community, but working a “real” job, raising two feral children, trying to write a novel, designing board games and busting out a new Commander deck every other week and then weaving a ‘cock and bull’ story around each one has left my brain a quivering mass of tapioca. Like the winner of the Tri-County Laxative and Ipecac Chugging Contest, I’m feeling a little drained.
That being said, I issue a challenge to any would-be writers in the community: Get your ass into the ring! This is a no disqualification, falls count anywhere, steel cage, Royal Rumble-esque slobber knocker and we need more Superstars to continue the fight. Have you ever wished that someone would talk about your favorite general? Get in there! Have you ever wished you could show off your crazy ass deck that is mind-blowingly fun to play? Get in there! Have you ever read a piece of shit article and thought to yourself, “Even I could do better than that”? GET IN THERE!
The pay is shit, but that’s the point. We don’t answer to Wizards, we don’t answer to sponsors and we don’t answer to shareholders. The people who slave away on this sight do it “For the Love of the Game” and other trite clichés. We answer to no one but the community. We all came from the community. We are the community. That which dies for the community can never be killed by the community. We community the community in the community with our huge, throbbing community! COMMUNITY!
“But Oats, I’m afraid that my writing won’t be good enough.”
Look, if I can do this then anyone can do this. Everyone who writes for CommanderCast is required to help all of the other writers, whether it’s through editing, proof reading, rules questions, article ideas or a strong shoulder to cry on. My articles would be an undecipherable jumble of lunatic ravings if it wasn’t for the diligent eyes of so many generous people on the writing staff. There are so many fail safes in place that you would really have to go out of your way to post a bad article.
“But Oats, I can’t write an article every week like those psychos Imshan and William.”
Good point. Few people would subject themselves to that grueling writing schedule without a serious chemical imbalance. Lucky for you Andy is pretty flexible with the schedule. Every other week? Great! Once a month? No problem. One article and then you are out? Ain’t a thang. Most of us write on odd schedules, so you got no excuse there.
“But Oats, I’m afraid to put myself out there.”
Welcome to the human condition. To a greater or lesser degree, I would be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that every person who writes for CommanderCast, past and present, felt bowel twisting fear the first time anything they had created was put in the harsh spotlight and subjected to the ravages of “The Public”. If I had to be honest, I would say that it never really goes away. But dealing with that ever-present fear is totally worth it when even just one person says they liked what you created.
So, yeah… Know Fear!
I really wanted to thank Andy for a bunch of things here, but I think one thing over-shadows the rest. I want to thank him for using his Rock Star status around here to harass us into giving money to Child’s Play. You see, ever since I became a dad I’ve had a standing agreement with the universe: I will give money to Child’s Play and St. Judes with the understanding that my daughters will never require their services. It’s worked out pretty well so far. In my estimation, there is nothing more heart wrenching then seeing a sick child, dealing with very grown-up diseases, trapped in the most joyless, creepy and soul crushing structure known to mankind: a hospital. If my money can help that kid take their mind off all the bullshit they are forced to deal with and just be a kid for even a few minutes, then I say that is money well spent.
A big “Thank You!” goes out to everyone who pitched in to the Gifts Given drive this year.
An even bigger “Thank You!” goes out to Andy for doing more than most people would to make this world a little less shitty than it needs to be. You are a good man, Charlie Brown.
And this biggest “Thank You!” of all goes out to my three fans. Y’all made this experience one that I won’t soon forget. Keep it rugged and rough, y’all. Oats out!