This Dan guy sure thinks a lot of himself. As far as I can tell, Dan's hobbies include the following: 1: Telling stories about his father. 2: Reminiscing about old pro-wrestling matches. 3: Trying to casually slip references about the state of Kansas into completely irrelevant conversations. A few back, I was walking around the office when I heard Dan's distinctive voice babbling on about Gearbox's Randy Pitchford. I lingered around, hoping to hear how Dan thought Mr. Pichford resembled Irwin R. Schyster, when things suddenly got personal.

"Randy and I were talking about Gamerscores and how he and Reiner used to have a rivalry going on but then Randy stopped playing to actually ship a game and then he lost any chance of catching up to Reiner again and Randy Pitchford is amazing and he's my new best friend and I want to go on a vacation to Kansas with him someday." I'm paraphrasing a little, but that's a fairly close approximation of what Dan was gushing. Dan then stated that he and Randy were going to compete for the highest Gamerscore because dreams really do come true in America. If that wasn't enough, though, he made a couple of jabs at his co-workers. "I'll catch up to you early next year," he told Reiner, before turning to me and saying, "I'll beat you before the end of the year."

Oh no he di'nt.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a bit of an Achievement ***. Like countless others, I've fallen prey to Microsoft's reward system even though I am fully aware of how completely dumb and ridiculous the entire concept is.  I have played games I didn't like very much just to get a few more points added to a tally that nobody ultimately cares about. Well, nobody other than me. When I look at my list of Achievements, it tells a story. Those two long gaps mark when my sons were born. Here's when I downloaded Yaris. Did it really take me two years to beat Assassin's Creed?! Ultimately, it's a story of how I continuously ignored my familial obligations to sit alone in a darkened room and move my thumbs around to make little make-believe guys do stuff on a TV.

So you can see why I took Dan's nonsense so personally. For a while, I thought he just might do it. That strengthened my resolve further. I'd walk by his desk and see obvious score fodder stacked high. Brave -- Warrior's Tale. A bunch of Sonic games. MLB 2K6. "Bah," I scoffed, popping in Night at the Museum 2. "At least I have my dignity."

Here's how it ended:

When I mentioned the contest to Dan this morning, he acted as though he'd forgotten all about it in the first place. "Oh, that!"  I didn't buy it for a second. I know that he was racing to get home from work every night, skipping meals and showers just to maximizing his gaming time. "Oh that!"?! He played a bunch of Sonic games, for crying out loud. He wasn't doing that for fun, was he? If there wasn't an ulterior motive, I fear for us all.