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Excuse No. 1

By Ernie Melchoir

Originally Appearing in Diplomacy World #2


This doesn’t look like it’s an excuse; in fact, its crucial function is to unmask one of the hobby’s great myths, but with the myth unmasked, the excuse will be obvious.


My story begins with a DipCon a couple of years back.  I had just gotten into postal Dippy a month before, and knew three names: John McCallum, John Boardman, and Walt Buchanan.  As I got to DipCon, I obviously looked for those three people.  Suddenly I saw a huge cunning-looking fellow with a name tag that said “Walt Buchanan.”  I exclaimed “That’s Walt Buchanan.”


At this point, he gave me a very funny look.  “Very funny” is an understatement.  This look was utterly hilarious.  In fact, the friends that were with me are still laughing at it/me.


The other day I was thinking about the continued assertions that Walt is not a very humorous person.  I find them ridiculous.  Anyone who could make a look that funny has to be a very witty person.  Thus, Walt is a very witty person.


Now consider: according to Rod Walker, in the last Diplomacy World (and he should know), witty Diplomacy players write press releases that other people find amusing.  To be a good press release, the character must be slightly ludicrous yet believable, consistent in his/her character, and appear over many games for readers to follow.  Examples are Honj of Boardman, Lucretia of Walker, and Madame Edyth of Birsan.  Why has Walt not done this?  Why doesn’t he have a character that is ludicrous, profound, silly, and still believable?  Why hasn’t Walt written a single series of press releases in his Diplomacy playing career?


I suggest he has.  He has created a ludicrous, laughable, and totally believable character whose profundity has livened up more games than I can count.  The name of this character is Carol Ann Buchanan ((I am NOT a character!: CA)), and most of the hobby believes she really exists.  Not so.


Does anybody really think that Walt is married to someone who spends her whole life criticizing Indiana ((wouldn’t you if you had to live here?!)), spending Walt’s precious money sending out complimentary copies of Diplomacy World to players’ wives, who won’t care any, and at the same time, reversing her policy and typing the zine for him?  ((You’d better believe you’d type too if Walt chained you to the wall deep down in the dungeon in front of a typewriter and stood over you with a bullwhip…))   No one, not even a madwoman, would be so self-contradictory!  Do you really think any woman, however incompetent, would have any trouble burning all the Graustarks she wanted to?  ((My poor Siamese cat is being held hostage in order to guarantee the safety of the stup marvelous Graustarks.))  Ridiculous!  Walt has created the most ludicrous, silly and foolish character in all Diplomacy, and half the hobby thinks she types up his zine for him!  Face it; there is no Carol Ann Buchanan—Walt is currently dating a girl by the name of Mary Lane.  ((He’d better NOT be!))


This great hoax was perpetrated to a much larger degree when Lebanon’s lady plumber happened to be at Walt’s place when Beyerlein got there last summer, but this is irrelevant to this expose.  ((That was no lady—that was just is wife…yeah, I know…groan.))


Now for the excuse.  This came up (me not being married yet, though I’m marrying Penelope Naughton Dickens in the Pouch shortly) when I asked a girl out for a Friday night one Tuesday.  That Thursday, the Dip game started.  I was conceded to on Saturday afternoon at 3:30.  My excuse?  I just told the girl that the group had been praising the Diplomacy Widows Association.  “For two days?” she asked.


“Could an adequate praise of that fine group be done in any less time?” I answered.


“No,” she said softly.  Then I asked her out for the next weekend.  The next weekend was the best date I’ve had in a long time…but it was with another girl.


((I feel it is only fair that I should warn you, Ernie, that for your treachery, deception, and lies, you will soon be several little gifts which I obtained from Box SH here at Diplomacy World…cackle, cackle!  CA))