The guys and I were all sitting around just chatting when I invited them over to watch the game. There were nods and agreements all around, except Hank, who put up his palms, smiled, and said, "Sorry, can't."
I asked why, and he said, "I answered a meme, remember?"
"Oh right." said Tony. "The wizard." There were murmurs of recognition and remembrance from the others.
"Wait, the what?" I asked.
They looked at me. "Oh, right." said Tony. "You don't use facebook. You wouldn't have heard about this one."
By this point I was very confused and thought the guys were setting me up for something, but Hank saw my expression and gave a calming smile.
"It's a thing that was going around about a year back. There were these memes people passed around with things on them like, Your Choice: You will always be at the weight you want, but you can never eat pizza, or like, you get all the money you ever want but can never own a car. They got passed around a lot, until recently. I saw one that said I can own a nice cabin and 200 acres of land, but I can never watch football again. I laughed, said, sure, sounds worth it to me."
I scrunched up my face. "Wait, were they serious?"
He laughed. "No, of course not. But then the wizard got involved. You swear you didn't hear about this guy? All over the news. A real life wizard, seems he'd been laying low, used the internet to pass the time when he wasn't researching spells, and apparently these memes just sent him over the edge.
"It's like, I guess if you're a lonely weird magician, it's not hard to lose touch and start getting worked up over nothing, and this was what finally set him off. So he rolled up the sleeves of his robes and went around actually granting people the results of their choices. He gave them fantastic rewards in exchange for very specific curses. He created me a nice beautiful 200 acres and a log cabin right out of a folk tale. I mean, it's great land, even without the absolutely perfect hunting and fishing I love just taking walks in it, so I think I got off pretty lucky."
I started to remember hearing something like this, but I thought it had all been an ad campaign. A wizard?
"But now you..." My words were guarded.
"Can't watch football, yeah." said Hank.
"What happens when you try?"
"Oh man, don't even." interjected Tony. "We tried it and the TV just showed a hand, all covered in rings, I think it was the wizard's, and it just sat there on the screen giving us the finger. Then the TV started getting all hot, and then it cracked and melted. The downstairs smelled like burning plastic for a week."
"I'm still sorry about that." said Hank. "I kind of just wanted to see what'd happen."
"I don't try anymore, anyway." said Hank. "A lot of people got into trouble before they realized the curses were real. Like one guy's curse was that he could never go into a bar ever again- I forget what his reward was, it was something pretty big but I'm not sure it was worth it- and the first time he tried to go against it, he was shot back out of the bar so hard he nearly dented a streetlamp. Idiot tried again and when he walked through that door he found himself in a stranger's house. In a different city. So I don't try. I'd hate to see what'd happen if I actually went to a game. Someone'd probably get hurt."
"Is this still going on?" I started to get some wild ideas about joining facebook.
"Nah, nah, it suddenly went against policy to post that stuff. Oh MAN, are people still pissed about that! I mean, I get it, it's censorship. But someone could, you know, put up a meme saying You Get To Be President but Can Never Eat That Food You Hate Anyway or something, you see? And nobody knows how to get in touch with the wizard to get him to stop."
"Yeah, it's probably for the best. But I'm fine with it. Apparently I can still learn about the scores without it being a problem, so I still know what's going on. And it really is a beautiful piece of land I got. I got something to leave to my kids. Sometimes I wish I'd gone for something more, you know, grandiose, but I didn't know what was happening at the time. Sometimes stuff just happens."
I took a drink.
"Can you still watch baseball?"