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How Dungeons and Dragons Probably Saved Me

It was Gary Gygax day yesterday. Here’s How Dungeons and Dragons probably saved me.

I have discovered D&D in a small library in Schertz Texas. My dad was stationed at the airbase nearby. My mother loved taking us to that tiny little library full of donated books.

One day I discovered a Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook. The one with the giant demon statue. I didn’t understand it, but I loved it.

Soon my dad was bringing home modules that he found at the base exchange. I made maps. I made characters. I really didn’t have many friends nearby where we lived, but I dreamed of playing.

That summer we went on vacation. I don’t remember where. I remember there was a t-shirt shop where you could make your own shirt. It was all the rage. The wall was covered with iron designs and letters. Each of the kids in my family got one. Mine was white and green and had a giant dragon. And I put D&D in little black cursive letters on the front. I loved that shirt.

We moved shortly after that. My dad would be working at Williams Air Force Base in Mesa, Arizona.

Taylor Middle School was huge compared to Texas schools. I was scared. I was different. I might of wore that shirt on the first day. All I remember is this kid coming up to me and saying, “You play Dungeons and Dragons?”

His name was Ernie. He lived in my neighborhood. We became good friends. We played D&D. His dad loved to play war games. We played a lot of basketball. He helped me understand my new city, my new school.

This one little thing helped me stay out of trouble. It helped me find a tribe. It helped shaped my future. Without that I may have not made it after our move. I know my brother had a much harder time than I did.

Thank you Gary Gygax. Thank you Dungeons and Dragons.

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