Don’t “Aggro” the Kid

So the other day, Jonah was having a rough time. Just not happy about something. Suddenly, my wife started to giggle and she couldn’t stop. Then I heard this…

“Jonny, don’t ‘aggro’ your brother.” (I’ll explain later.)

She thought it was hilarious. Jonah was still upset, but my wife couldn’t stop laughing…

Here’s why…

Years ago, before the kids were born, life was… much different.

My wife worked 12-hour nights 6pm-6:30am at a hospital (rotating 3 days on, 4 days off). On days that she wasn’t working, she had to maintain her sleep schedule so she would be fresh for work.

I worked from home. My work schedule was deadline-based so I was able to set my own hours. In order to be able to spend time with my wife, I arranged my sleep schedule to coincide with hers.

So we were night owls out of necessity.

But finding things to do together that late at night was difficult. Nothing was open. We couldn’t go on dates or go out for dinner or anything.

So what did we do? We played video games together. That’s right. I married a gamer.

Now, most girls don’t like their boyfriends/husbands spending all their time playing video games and believe me, I played a lot of them. My wife met me while I was playing a video game with my roommate. I played video games all the time. And sometimes it got to be a problem.

But there’s something you should know about my wife: back in college, when we were dating, she wouldn’t be the one yelling at me for it. She would be the one to pick up a controller and join in.

Her games of choice were puzzle games, role playing games (RPG’s), and racing games.


In fact, one time, we got in a fight because she had started a game of the original Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo on an emulator on my computer and I went and finished the game while she was gone. She didn’t see it as a favor.  She named almost every character she made after that “Dontplayme.”

But, back in 2005, when we were newlyweds, the most popular game available was World of Warcraft (WoW). It was a “Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game” (MMORPG) which meant you played with people all over the world. I didn’t want to play it. I was too incredibly introverted to want to actually play a video game with loads of other people. It was my wife who started first. She got me playing.

In this game, each player must complete “quests” in order to earn experience points (XP) and level up their character. (starting at level 1 and going to 60). At the beginning, each player could choose what kind of character they wanted to play. Some player classes were good for dealing out damage (DPS), some were good for taking lots of damage without dying (Tanks), and still others for healing (Healers). For many quests, players have to team up into groups and work together.

All this to say that the first characters that we chose were indicative of the dynamic of our relationship. I know. We are special kinds of nerds. (you’ll have to excuse me if I slip into “nerd-speak” while talking about WoW)

I chose to be a “human paladin.”  Paladins could take some damage, but are mainly used as healers for other people in the group. Paladins do this (from the WoW-wiki)

In all things, paladins must reflect the Light, which supplements our strength. To strive to be divine for one of our kind does not mean we strive for godhood–we strive to be good in all actions. Although called upon to smite evil in these harsh times, you must always remember that it’s aiding others that will truly set you apart from the other citizens. Compassion, patience, bravery–these things mean as much to a paladin as strength in battle.

That sums my personality up pretty well. (usually) 😉

My wife decided to be a Night Elf Feral Druid. She was a “tank.” I think this choice actually represents her pretty well.

Druids harness the vast powers of nature to preserve balance and protect life. With experience, druids can unleash nature’s raw energy against their enemies, raining celestial fury on them from a great distance, binding them with enchanted vines, or ensnaring them in unrelenting cyclones.

Yep. I particularly like the “raining celestial fury on them from a great distance” part. Druids are actually a “hybrid” class and can fulfill ANY roll: healer, tank, or DPS (damage). My wife’s character could literally transform into a bear and take on a dozen foes at the same time. The similarities are uncanny. lol.

hehe… sorry I’m geeking out.

So we began our WoW quest together: the healer (me) and the tank (her). We each had our own computer set-up next to each other, in the same room. And we started questing and leveling up our characters. She would take on all the bad guys, I would make sure she didn’t die. It is remarkably similar to our dynamic in real life. We actually made lots of online friends through the game and logged many many hours and nights together in Azeroth (the realm of the game).

After 2 or 3 years of gaming, we both quit playing World of Warcraft around the time Jonny (our oldest) was born. We were fully immersed in the “Warcraft” language and had developed a “nerd vocabulary” known only to other players in the game. For instance:

Aggro: when you “enrage” an NPC (non-player character) and it enters a combat state with your character. Most often used when multiple NPC’s are attacking you because you got too close or you attacked them.

“Jonny, don’t ‘aggro’ your brother.”

So, fast-forward 12 years later, my wife had reached way back and to our gaming days and used WoW vocab to define what Jonny was doing to Jonah… and she found it hilarious.

In all fairness, so did I.

I laughed.

Jojo was still not happy, but my wife and I still found a way to chuckle about it.

I think back to our gaming days. Back when we used to quest all night. Those nights were cheap dates for $15/month. The simple joy and excitement we felt playing “The Burning Crusade” WoW expansion and doing quest chains together in the outlands, wondering if our kids would some day join us as gamers. Just happy with the “loot” we earned from completing quests and raids. Life was easy. Life was simple.

And then comparing it to now.

Two kids. School. IEP’s. Autism. PT. OT. ST. Doctors appointments. Worry. Stress. Anger. Bitterness. Anxiousness. “LIFE NOW.”

Sometimes you have to find the humor in these situations. Sometimes its the ONLY way to get through some of these situations.

Sometimes it will seem like there is no reason to be happy in life. Things are difficult. Things are depressing. Life has a death grip on you and your situation is hopeless.

And then someone will remind you of something that makes you smile. Something from the past. Something to make you remember that there IS an up. That where you are now isn’t the end. They remind you of friends that you made. Fond memories. Good times.

And somehow, the bad things now don’t seem quite as “bad.”


If you never played WoW, you can stop reading here.

I couldn’t stop with “aggro.” I had to find other instances of WoW terminology in my real life for the lols.

Squishy: When you have weak armor and die quickly when in combat.
“Jonny doesn’t handle confrontation well. He is a bit squishy sometimes.”

Polymorphing or sheeping: (don’t worry about it).
“Jojo was having a meltdown, but I “sheeped” him with melatonin.”

Pulling aggro: When an NPC is focused on attacking one character, but another player causes the NPC to focus on them instead.
“Jonny! Stop pulling aggro! Don’t taunt your brother.”

AOE (Area of Effect): An attack that aggros every character around you.
“Good Lord. That diaper. It’s like toddler AOE!”

Can you think of others?

While my wife was working, I rolled a twink (Eudiamonia – Dark Iron) and logged 65k hks in the 29’s… I got depressed b/c Blizz nerfed my leet shammy FC skills w/ flag debuffs and impaired moving. I tell ya, it went all downhill after 2.3.

True story.

Jason Reynolds
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Jason Reynolds

Jason is a freelance photographer and graphic designer. He is also a parent of Jonny (9) and Jonah (4) who was diagnosed with Autism in December 2016.
Jason Reynolds
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