November 26, 2014
Jesse does not like it when I play Go.
With my badger friend back in the apartment, it was initially hard to find time to get onto the server for even a quick game. A blitz game takes anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, which is more than enough time for Jesse to fall back into his feral habits. Just a few nights ago, I left him alone to go brush my teeth, and from the bathroom watched helplessly as he murdered my inflatable yoga ball. It was so graceful I almost forgot to floss.
But a good game of Go is something I require, much in the same way Jesse requires a good brushing, so I hatched a plan to divide my badger’s attention for an adequate length of time. I placed my rolled-up yoga mat in the middle of the kitchen and shoved some raw liver down the middle, then hurried to the computer to find an opponent. Jesse took interest in the mat immediately, and the way he growled, it was almost as if he knew it and the ball had been part of a set.
Soon I was deep in a furious game, trying my best to ignore the sounds of foam carnage from the other room. The mat had been premium, but if Go has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes you have to make tough sacrifices to get what you need. Using this strategy, I took a huge corner for just three stones, and readied myself to make a strike on my opponent’s daunting center. I was laying down a string of authoritative sentes when I became aware of Jesse prowling around my feet.
“Are you done already?” I asked, trying to keep my concentration. But it was Jesse who was now transfixed, staring at the shapes on the screen — black, white, maddening. The exercise equipment ruse had only seeded suspicion in his badger brain, and this new bi-coloured companion of mine was evidently an urgent threat. Just as my opponent forced a brutal seki, Jesse leapt at the computer, and foolishly I grabbed him, a mistake on par with catching a falling knife.
I’m definitely lucky to still have my eyesight, and I’m not sure how long we grappled, but it was long enough for me to lose the match on time restrictions. Jesse seemed to sense when this occurred, and left me to bleed, returning to the kitchen to finish off his liver.
Once VR tech becomes affordable, I am going to play so much Go.
November 19, 2014
Whenever this month rolls around I am reminded of the winter I found Jesse. Those freezing cold days doing web design, constantly getting lacerated — I look at my old scars now and wonder how I survived. And I realize now that I was undercharging.
But that winter ended, followed by another, and as Jesse grew into an adult badger, the cold apartment became unbearable, evidently for both of us. One morning, I woke to discover the front door hanging open. Jesse had gotten out! I searched the neighbourhood high and low, squeaking his favourite honey bottle.
Had I not seen the signs? Sure, he had been spending more time beside the window, and there had been that day that he tore out the back of the dryer because he felt a draft. But where would he get his favourite organ meats, if not my fridge?
I returned home badgerless, sinking immediately into deep depression. I couldn’t get out of bed, not without his sharp teeth in my carelessly exposed ankle. Who would catch our mice, and smear them across the living room floor? Where would I get my warmth, and where would he get his?
The last few years have been dark. Without a badger in my life, I was vulnerable to the allure of Go, and descended into its black and white vortex, infinite and all-consuming. I graduated from plain old web design to mobile development, and later, to RESTful web applications. Life continued — and over time, I thought less of Jesse, my deep wounds healing without too much medical attention.
But get this:
I was on one of my walks last week, trying to soak in a few precious minutes of winter sun, when I heard a distinctive snuffling from behind a tree. It was Jesse! A little more silvery around the snout to be sure, but when he leapt from the sidewalk into my arms, almost throwing me into traffic, there was no question. I looked around, but unfortunately no one had captured the moment on a cellphone camera. It doesn’t matter.
Jesse is back.