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Of Orcs And Pajamas
1.6.2003 by Dan, every Monday.

Well, today's column is going to be short, because I've been spending all my time playing the PC game “Neverwinter Nights,” instead of writing a column or doing laundry, because I am an idiot. That's why I'm reduced to desperately pounding out a column a half hour before work while wearing a T-shirt with the phrase “I'm with stupid” printed on it and an arrow pointing up. Everyone's a comedian.

For those of you who are unaware, as defined as “having a life away from your PC,” “Neverwinter Nights” is a game based on “Dungeons and Dragons,” where you create a character and enter a rich and intricately detailed fantasy world on a quest to, stay with me here, save the world from a great evil. And only an underdog hero like yourself can pull it off!

But as fun as this quest is, the real fun is to be had with its online feature, where you can take your character and join player created servers where you can journey into dungeons and kill, well, everything (238 servers), socialize and role-play to your heart's content, (79 servers), or engage in sadomasochistic fantasies in a brothel (12,462 servers)(though to be fair to the players, most were empty).

As startling as it it is to find pornographic content on the internet, the real shock is when you find that this game has apparently had a vial of crack emptied into every box, because you can't stop playing it. I passed up my appendectomy to keep playing and find out the secret of the Temple of Tesh (as in John Tesh, the musician. And no, I am not making that quest up).

But so this column doesn't turn completely into a computer game ad, let me share this little story with you. There is another reason that I sink so much of my time into this game. Among my gifts for Christmas, which included such things as DVDs, books, PC accessories, and a dismembered mouse head (courtesy of my cat)(I hope), was a set of pajamas.

Now, I have not had pajamas since I was a kid, when I wore the little feet out of my last set. I spent my whole life from that point to this last Christmas morning without even thinking about pajamas. I had my ratty T-shirt (Where's the Beef), and my old gym shorts (never technically worn inside a gym), and I was fine with that. So I was a bit confused when I opened a package and found what looked to be a spectacularly hideous green plaid business suit.

“They're pajamas!” said my mother, in response to my baffled expression. then she made me try them on. And that, my friends, is when my world went mad. For you see, these pajamas had accessories. The top has a collar, because apparently you can get a matching necktie for it. Don't want to be under dressed for bed, do we? And if that wasn't enough to short out your cerebral cortex, it has a shirt pocket. I'm going to type that again, because that's the type of phrase your mind tends to skip over, because it can't possibly be right. “Dear merciful God in heaven ,” says one of your frontal lobes to the other, “We've got to get out of here!”

The. Pajama. Top. Has. A. Shirt. Pocket.

I stood in my mother's bathroom, staring at the thing sewn to my chest. I put in a finger, then pulled it out. Still a pocket. I picked up a toothbrush, and stuck it in. No, that's stupid! Toothpaste? Even dumber! I spent twenty minutes in that bathroom, randomly inserting items into The Pocket of Madness, looking for something, anything that would make sense there. But nothing did. Finally, when the fire department broke down the bathroom door, they found me sitting in the bathtub, sucking my thumb and with the shower curtain wrapped around me like a blanket.

And that, my friends, is why I keep playing Neverwinter nights. Because the colors are so very pretty due to the anti-psychotic medication the doctors put me on, and because there are no pajamas of any kind in the realm of Faerun.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some pajamas to burn.

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