I wrote this in November of 2000. I was feeling pretty helpless. What had started as basically one big joke, and continued because I loved having an audience for my writing, had turned into something much bigger than I was. People felt like I was a friend, and the thing about friendship is that it’s not all keggers and valentines. Friends help each other through the dark stuff, too, and I felt hugely unqualified to help anyone. But I had to try.
There is someone in your guild who drinks himself into oblivion every night while he’s online with you.
The guy you sold a weapon to last night is so lonely he writes to rantsite writers just so he can have someone to tell his daydreams to.
Someone in the pickup raid you set up last night just moved to a new city, and he doesn’t know anybody yet. His only friends are in the game.
The funniest player you know is so unbearably shy in the real world that he wonders if he’ll ever have a girlfriend. He ended up going on a plane raid on his prom night because he never worked up the nerve to ask anyone to go with him.
The biggest flirt in the game was gone for a month, and she told you when she got back that she’d been on vacation. She was in the hospital for anorexia. She was certain she was too fat, even when she weighed eighty eight pounds. She’s afraid you’ll think she’s crazy if she tells you.
Someone on your friend list lost his job, and the only thing he can afford for fun is play Everquest. He’s afraid he won’t be able to find another job, and playing EQ all the time isn’t helping.
Someone in your guild had a rotten day today, and didn’t tell you because you aren’t a real friend, you’re an online friend, and he didn’t want to bring you down.
The person who tossed you a heal as you soloed that aviak is pregnant and doesn’t know how to tell her mother.
All of these people are in my email inbox right now, and I can’t help any of them.
I will tell you this, and I will tell myself that it makes a difference, if only so that I can get some sleep tonight. You are all important, and beloved. You make me laugh, you make me think, and the highest praise I can get is for one of you to send me an email saying I made you laugh. I’m fascinated and affected by your stories, your opinions, and the way you think. I read your notes, and I think how lucky your friends and families are to have someone as smart and caring as you are in their lives. Every single one of you matters, and don’t you dare go to sleep tonight or any other night thinking that you don’t.