Thank Grog It’s Firday,
So…let’s start by getting some of your concerns out of the way.
First- me flying back to NJ had nothing to do with a “family gathering for the holidays.” I flew after the holidays…in a half-filled plane…with more layers of PPE than the average operating room staff wears in the critical care unit at a hospital. We have two nurses in our family. One is an ER nurse in the Covid unit at a VA hospital…and they made sure I was safe as I could be. And, I was.
Second- because I am being careful (very careful) not to expose or harm “Bob,” in this revelatory story, you don’t have to worry. EA won’t suddenly pull some shennanigans in regards to his employment, or altering the game. It’s too late for that. The damage has been done. But, as you will see, the damage has also been corrected about as much as could possibly be done. So, Chillax.
But, I had to know…and as it turns out…I’m glad to know, what I know now.
And, when I am done with telling the story, you’ll feel the same way. Or not.
Let’s start by backtracking a bit.
My primary concern for finding out what “Bob” knew, had to do with the very clear, and obvious lack of changes to the game. Several things were driving long-time players nuts, and for the most part, seemed to imply that the game was simply on “Life Support,” and barely staying alive. Same routines. Same lack of attention to what COULD make it great again. Same lack of fixing some of the most annoying aspects of the game for longtime players.
As it turns out, not only did “Bob” have little to do with these issues, but in fact, he was responsible in no uncertain terms, for keeping the game alive. Even in its “less than,” “meh” state. But, alive is alive. Trust me on that.
When you have three aging parents in various stages of “trying to exit this earthly plain,” like we do…you know the difference between alive, dead, and mostly dead.
I love the concept of “mostly dead,” as Miracle Max describes it, in the Princess Bride. “Mostly Dead, is Slightly Alive!”
And frankly, that is how most longtime players would describe TSTO over the past few months.
But, the question I had was, “If the game is mostly dead, who and why are they keeping it slightly alive??”
That is where “Bob” comes in.
As I intimated in last week’s post, meeting (some would say capturing) “Bob” came about through stealthy detective work, to reveal which food delivery service he was working for, and why he was being forced to do a “side hustle” in the first place.
As it turns out, there is more to this than you would think.
As I revealed, we figured out “Bob” was working for “DoorDash,” in San Francisco. We had figured this out through my daughter Ali’s friend, who also as it turns out, loved being part of the “capture crew” that made this all happen.
It was Greta (not her real name) who had originally told Ali (her real name) about “Bob” (not his real name), which had led to them meeting at a party, where he revealed that the EA team (where Bob was working at the time), were huge fans of TSTOAddicts, and especially CrankyOldGuy. But, that was a couple of years ago. And Greta (still not her real name) had pretty much lost touch with “Bob” (still not his real name) and had not been aware that I had been writing countless Emails to him, trying to get him to talk about the game. Which he wouldn’t. Which brought us to the need to track him down.
There are loads of details I am going to leave out, due to space and time limitations. But suffice it to say, that after finding out he worked for DoorDash, Ali, Greta (not her real name) and Ryan (his real name), Ali’s husband, and I had placed several orders from DoorDash, in the hopes of having him deliver to us, unsuspectingly. Greta (not her real name) was kind enough to let us use her San Francisco apartment, as Ali and Ryan had moved to Sacramento after getting married.
And it worked. It took hours. And as I also mentioned, after several orders of fried chicken nuggets, authentic Cajun ribs, and a handful of burger trays, Greta (still not her real name) had made the point that she was Vegan, and all of this meat was starting to stink up her apartment. Point taken.
So, we had finally reverted to the Falafel Tray that I talked about last week. Even though, in my opinion, Falafels are just as pungent, if not more stinky, than Cajun ribs. But, it was her place…and as it turned out, it was the “Magic” we needed to get “Bob” to come to the door.
It was actually pretty hilarious. Unless you were “Bob.”
The doorbell rang, and Ryan opened it, and said, “Come in, she has your money.” Bob, came in, giving Ryan a questioning look, as Ryan is a former college rugby player, and is pretty much “movie star” handsome. Almost everyone who meets Ryan does a double-take. He is big, good looking, and always has a smile on his face, even when he is about to smack you. Which he wasn’t…but “Bob” didn’t know that.
This hesitation allowed Ryan to shut and bolt the door.
I was watching from the kitchen, mostly out of sight…and what I saw forced me to stifle a laugh, so as not to reveal myself too quickly.
First he saw Greta. He kind of shook his head in recognition, and started to say, “Hey! How are you doing?” Then he saw Ali. The very same Ali for whom he had revealed a bit of a crush, when I had posted her picture months ago. He started to smile, and blush bit…until I stepped out from behind the island in the kitchen.
“Hello, Bob…nice to finally meet you,” I said in a clear tone…trying to be friendly, but likely with a menacing glint in my eye.
He recognized me immediately. I mean, let’s face it…I look just like my cartoon “CrankyOldGuy” image, and he had probably “FaceBook stalked” me when he became enamored of Ali. I am also a former football/rugby player, and can also appear menacing if I choose to. Which I wasn’t. At least I don’t think I was.
“Bob” dropped the Falafel tray (which I also mentioned last week) and turned to bolt toward the door…which was being blocked by all six-foot-two of Ryan.
“Bob” is a computer guy. Clearly not an athlete. And, I had to believe that countless scenarios from Junior High and High School instantly played out in his mind. He stopped…shoulders drooping…and just said, “OK. What’s up? What do you want to know?”
I said, “Relax…I’m not here to intimidate you. I’m just looking for some answers. I mean this wouldn’t have happened if you had replied to my emails.”
“Bob” instantly began apologizing, telling me that EA was brutal with NDAs and tracked employee emails, and that he WANTED to talk to me, but started getting freaked out when I was blogging about his “side hustle” because he thought that I was following him...and what the hell?? I am SAVING THE GAME!”
Now, he had my attention.
However…once again…I am going to have to stop. Many of you have commented that my posts are too long, and I don’t want to challenge your “reading impaired brains.”
Plus…Jake (his real name) my grandson just got up from a nap, and it’s “Boopah Time!” There is absolutely nothing in the world more enjoyable, than getting to babysit your two-year-old grandson…teach him a few bad habits…feed him some snacks, and then simply try to keep up with him as we go from “trains,” to “riding the car,” to “throwing the ball,” to playing “make grandpa make that face again!”
Bob should have it so good.
Here I am…prepared to do battle with the airlines during peak Covid Season.
And, Here is WHY I risked life and limb to fly!
Grandson Jake, sharing his first breakfast, and news of something he had stepped on…on the first day of “Boopah DayCare!”
And then…Boopah brought out his surprise for Jakey…an engine that pulled the train around his wooden tracks. This was good for hours…