Fury Warrior Life Lesson – Be Ready
We’ve all seen those “coming of age” movies. You know the ones I’m talking about – a boy and his friends are harassed by a bully on the way home from school. Finally, usually in the third act, the boys summons the testicular fortitude to stand up to the bully. Usually it’s more of a “united we stand” kind of thing, adversity can be overcome, huzzah. Lessons learned, the boy and his friends are tight like that, roll credits.
Let me tell you something. Those movies are a crock of sh*t.
I lived that movie when I was a kid growing up in a small rural town. A quiet place, some might say. Sleepy, almost. Naturally people frequently lost their minds to boredom. I was eight years old and, a couple of times a week or whenever our luck ran out, there’d be this older kid who had nothing better to do than pester myself and my two friends. Sometimes he’d just throw insults at us. Other times, when he had run out of clever to say, he’d just run up to us and start shoving us into ditches. For you lifetime urban dwellers, a ditch is not a fun place to be pushed into. In the summer, there were rocks and branches, thistles and muddy water, and garbage to break your fall. In the winter, those ditches would be filled with about two to three feet of snow. You might think that a soft landing would take the edge off the impact. If you think that, you’ve never had a handful of snow mashed into your face and stuffed down the back of your shirt.
Yes, we told our parents. We told teachers. But this was back in the day before kids found themselves unable to cope with anything resembling adversity, snapped, and mowed down entire classrooms. It was a terrible thing, but we were supposed to ignore it. If the confrontation happened on school property, teachers would handle it. In someone’s front yard, parents would get involved. But between those two areas was a virtual No Man’s Land, a lawless stretch of streets where only the strong survived.
Finally, one winter day we’d had enough. The three of us agreed that we’d arm ourselves and if that bully tried to stop us, we’d stop him. Each of us walked through the snow with a big walking stick, one that each of us had wielded like a Samurai sword in the schoolyard earlier in the day, practicing our bully-bashing techniques. I had mad stick skills, and almost hoped that kid would try something after school. Too young to understand the concept of “be careful what you wish for”, that bully caught up with us at the end of the day. Only this time, we were ready. We were a united front. We had numbers on our side. Numbers, and sticks. I was so amped for war that I didn’t even notice the other two boys drifting a step behind me as the bully approached. “Leave us alone!” I told him, and tightened my grip on my walking stick. “We’re not scared of you anymore!”
“No?” The bully seemed pretty confident for an unarmed and outnumbered dude.
That’s when I realised that it was just me and my stick standing there. My friends had hung me out to dry while they ran home through the ditch, almost having to swim through the deep snow just to reach the other side.
My stomach dropped. I was never going to see my ninth birthday. I was dead meat. So I did what any smart piece of scared dead meat would do when faced with a large, confident predator. I swung my big stick with as much Samurai flair as I had back in the schoolyard.
The only problem was that, in the schoolyard, I wasn’t wearing handcuffs. That’s what I called the mittens my mother made me wear. Those knitted mittens had a length of string between them that ran from the bottom of the mitt, up my arm, across my back, and down the opposite arm to the other mitten. Mom said I lost too many mittens. Kinda like losing your head if it wasn’t attached, she reasoned that I wouldn’t be losing these wonderful hand covers if they were tied to me.
What they did on that fateful day, was get tangled together before I could swing. I moved less like a Samurai and more like a penguin strung out on Jack Daniels and glue.
I swung and caught nothing but air. Next thing I knew, my head was being pushed down into the snow as if it was supposed to pop out on the other side.
It hurt. The cold burned my skin, and the small chunks of ice worked over my cheeks like sandpaper. The snow packed down the back of my jacket melted and drained down my spine. I had no idea if I was soaked from water or pee. Neither would have surprised me. After playtime was over and I was suitably frozen and I’d shed an adequate amount of tears, I was left there in the ditch like a crime scene victim. My stick was nowhere to be found. The bully seemed pleased with his handiwork.
Needless to say, I was a bit of a mess when I crawled out of the ditch. The strings untangled themselves as I pulled myself onto the road. “Stupid things,” I sobbed while I shoved my cold hands inside my mittens. Stupid friends and stupid mitts and stupid bully and f*ck them all and that’s when I felt the big rock I’d stuffed inside my mitt earlier. I don’t know why I’d done that. I was prone to doing silly things like that. Still am, I guess. But the end result was that those handcuffs were now an Australian bola. But instead of hunting kangaroos I was going after bigger game.
Still sobbing, I shrieked like a maniac and charged at the kid’s back, swinging my knitted blue mitten of death around my head as I went. The bully turned around and didn’t quite register what he was seeing until the rock caught him in the cheek. He dropped like a toilet seat, which was a good thing because the impact had snapped the string that held my handcuffs together and the Mitten of Doom went sailing into the snow. Naturally I did what any sane person would have done. I proceeded to scream and cry and stomp at that boy’s head as if I was putting out a fire. I was wild, out of control, running on primal instincts and temper tantrum. He managed to get to his knees and shoved me away. Maybe he thought I still had the rock. Maybe it was the sight of his own blood. Or maybe this bundled ball of snot-spraying, sobbing insanity was too much for him to deal with. In any case, that kid got to his feet and ran. It was the last time he bothered me again.
Well, second-last. A couple of weeks later he caught up with me after school and pushed me headfirst into a telephone pole. It split my lip, but by the time the reactionary “reptile” part of my brain could compute the next plan of retalitory action, he was in a full sprint down the road. My nonsensical bellowing probably triggered some kind of horrific flashback from a previous life, one that he didn’t care to relive. Either that or he got sick of the crybaby. In any case, a win is a win and he never bothered me again.
What lesson did I learn from that humiliating tale? I learned that when the going gets tough, your buds will throw you under the bus if it gets them off the hook. Thanks guys, you suck.
More importantly, I learned to be prepared.
Last night I ran a Heroic Pit of Saron with a group of randoms. Randoms are like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get, and too many of them will give you the poops. We wiped twice before we even reached the first boss. Maybe it’s me just being stubborn, but I refuse to quit if I think there’s any hope at all in getting through. People kept dropping out all around me, but I wasn’t going anywhere. I kept eating my Dragonfin Fillets. While we waited, I broke out an Intravenous Healing Potion to get everyone up to speed. I was buffed and ready before I was group buffed and ready.
During the Forgemaster Garfrost encounter, I started taking a bit of a beating and I got the Low Health warning. Rather than asking for a heal, or bitching because I wasn’t getting a heal, I popped a heal potion and throttled back on the DPS, took myself away from the combat long enough to make sure the healer wasn’t getting attacked, then moved back in when my health went back up. I survived, but I’d dropped on the post-fight Recount report that the rogue was kind enough to post (thanks, asshole). I got the last laugh by pulling ahead of him in the next encounter because he died (Ha! In your face!).
Too many people don’t bother with any kind of preparation. They just assume that other people will take care of them. They treat a PUG like it’s some kind of Special Ed class. Sometimes it can be. But that doesn’t entitle you to act like you took the short bus to school. Since you never know what kind of situation you’ll find yourself it, you should always make sure you’re in the best position to survive the run. The same goes for Raids. Doesn’t matter if you’re running with four strangers or twenty-four guildmates – do the prep work beforehand and make sure you’re in an optimal survival position. A dead Fury Warrior does zero DPS, and no one likes letting down others by being ineffective (i.e. Dead).
No, this is not excessive. Would you walk through the jungle blindfolded and expect to survive? Of course not. You would do everything you could to stack the deck in your favour. Same goes for any group encounter you have. Know the boss encounters. Bring flasks for yourself. Stat food. Potions. Hell, bandages even. Don’t expect someone else to save your bacon. Try to save your own bacon first.
This is Herculao, reminding you that while you may walk into an encounter with your buddies, each of you carrying a big Samurai stick, it might end up being that rock in your mitten that pulls you through to success.