The Giant Spoon : A History
About a week ago, our friend Jaedia over at the Lazy Sniper reached an important milestone in her WoW blogging career: the one year blogiversary. Instead of celebrating by herself like other, more selfish bloggers, she reached out to everyone and proposed some personalized topics to those interested. Wondering what kind of topic she’d come up with for me, I jumped at the opportunity.
Sure enough, she gave me the question that I swear I’ve absolutely never, ever been asked before: What is the giant spoon?
It’s true that, while I’ve answered the question many times in comments, on podcasts and on Twitter, I’ve never written a blog post specifically about the Giant Spoon. After careful reflection, I’m not going to here either. See, all the important bits of the story are short and boring. So I’m not going to tell the short, specific story, I’m going to tell the long story.
It all started one late summer evening, way too long ago. My friend Anna called me, all excited: “Hey can I come over? I have a video game I want you to play!”
“Um..ok…what’s it about? Is it an adventure game? In a medieval setting? You know I only play adventure games in medieval settings.”
She hesitated for a moment. Anna’s white lies were always so obvious. “It’s sort of like an adventure game…and the towns are all different, some of them are medieval. Most of it is more futuristic…”
“I dunno. Science fiction isn’t my thing. I like historical stuff.”
“Just give a try, I promise, you’ll love it!”
Then she came over and forced her video game down my throat. It’s a good thing she sat next to me and made me hit that “enter” button over and over again. Otherwise her game would have found itself buried it under my large of pile of games I don’t play and this blog would have a different name. I didn’t like this not-adventure, futuristic game. It was so stupid. There were no combat options, all I could do was select “attack” and hit enter repetitively. When I died to the first boss, I lost my temper. “This game doesn’t let me do anything! Why did it kill me?” She promised it would get better, but I didn’t believe her.
I stuck with it, though. I can’t abandon a poor video game. Then one day, it finally clicked. In an awesomely animated movie, my character burst out of an office tower in a badass motorcycle. I screamed in delight. OMG this was cool! I went back to my save point and played the movie over again. And again.
In case you don’t recognize the scene, the game was Final Fantasy VII and that very moment had me committed as an FFVII fangirl for life.
I grew up as a solo gamer so I did what I could to beat the game on my own. Final Fantasy fans know, however, that the games are designed with lots of hidden parts. It would take a lifetime to figure them all out on your own. There was one part in particular that drove me nuts: the main character is falling from some sort of roller coaster and has to catch treasures. My guy wouldn’t catch the treasure. I looked around online for some help but couldn’t find anything that explicitly told me what I needed to do to fix my stubborn (yet sexy, busting-out-of-office-buildings-in-a-motorcycle) guy. So I picked a fan forum that seemed friendly and started a thread about it.
My question was answered quickly, like magic. Beyond that, I was impressed by how close all these strangers on the internet were to each other. It was like walking into someone’s house and looking at their family. I decided I wanted to hang out with these people, so I stuck around.
And that moment had me committed as a message board junkie.
I was 15 when I registered my account there and I posted steadily for 6 years, until I moved to California. While I was in the States, real life took over and when I came back, I was focussed on WoW and sadly lost interest in the Final Fantasy world.
It’s weird how I sort of “grew up” on the internet. I did have a good social life offline, but, just like it is now, my life then was so hectic that I preferred to spend my rare down times in the peace and quiet of my house. Online friends have the advantage that you can answer them when you feel like it, you can do other things while you talk to them and if you fall asleep (or have a random outburst) mid conversation, they don’t notice. It’s also a lot easier to meet people from around the world and it’s fantastic how, wherever my nomadic lifestyle takes me, I have an old online buddy living nearby to show me around.
The kind of relationship people have with their guilds, servers and WoW friends, that’s exactly how it was on the forums. It was like one giant guild with 200 or so people (I think there were about 5000 registered accounts when I was there, but I estimate only a couple hundred members were active at any given moment). We had our own elaborate message board culture. We had debates and drama. We had internal cliques but united frequently for inter- Final Fantasy message board flame wars. We had our forum awards/internet popularity contests. (I won “nicest member” one year! Only time I’ve ever won anything in a popularity contest!) We had lonely teenage girls posting pictures of their breasts and we had annoying teenage boys going out of their way to piss off others. We had couples from around the world meet on the boards and fall in love. Many broke up, but I know of several who are now married with a few kids.
I won’t go into the private details of the many internet-related lessons I learned the hard way, but yeah, there’s been great times and not-so-great times. I ran my own little (but successful) spinoff social board for about 2 years, until I moved to California and abandoned my internet life. I made friends whom I’m still in touch with today. I got myself in trouble. I got myself out of trouble. Some experiences were happy and others were totally embarrassing.
What impacted me most, though, was our own, little community lingo. The words and expressions “gutted”, “arsed” and, yes, “I’ll beat you with my giant spoon!” became part of my every day speech. I still use them pretty regularly.
When I named my blog, I went with “Bossy Pally”. It was my (probably self attributed) nickname in my old guild as well as a trait I’d observed in most of the paladins I pugged with. (I guess back in the day when blessings and stuff were a nightmare, paladins in pugs had to be bossy with each other to make sure everything got done.)
“Bossy Pally” wasn’t enough, though. I wanted something catchy that showcased my absurd sense of humour. I didn’t even have to think much about it. “Giant Spoon”, a tribute to my message board days, fit the need perfectly.
The Giant Spoon is a weapon, always a weapon, designed to whack sense into silly people. But it’s a playful weapon, a mark of affection. It’s also loaded with memories and is a constant reminder that no matter how frustrating small, silly things can get, I’ll laugh about them eventually.
And if my search term history is any proof, I’d say I’m not the only one to take interest in large utensils.
PS. Writing this makes me want to do some shoutouts. Shoutout to LadyDragon, who keeps in touch with me after all this time. One day we’ll game together. To YE, crazy gamer extraordinaire and my San Francisco travel companion of yore. To Tenma Shilod, the Angry Bob who really wasn’t very angry. To the gentle, beautiful Michi. I hope that you found the same happiness your kind presence brought to all of us. To TTT and the Edmonton airport. It’s a shame we didn’t get a chance to really hang out. To Mostin Martin who eventually closed my catching treasure while falling thread. To Cutie Honey, whom I wasn’t at all fair to. I’m still embarrassed about it (although you did have a really bad screen name). To Munita who taught me a thing or two or twelve about myself. To Ace, who somehow was always able to make it all work, no matter the odds. To Myth, whose name still makes me swoon to this day. To Becci, my fellow bohemian. One day we’ll meet in some youth hostel in Thailand and have an indie rock party. To the Fellowship and the friendships that came of it. And of course, to the wonderful Hedo crew. I dedicate my Giant Spoon to you guys.
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