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Rules of Engagement · 30 March 2019



There are certain rules of engagement that must be followed when accepting a challenge. And those rules are set by the challenger.


I recently wrote a piece on terroir. A strange word to be sure. I even wrote some lame reason for writing about such a strange topic. At least a strange topic for somebody who is not an expert on wine. Especially one who does not even touch the stuff. But the lame reason I gave, was actually mostly true. I wrote about terroir because of my own terroir. My environment both influenced the way I write and the topic I wrote about.


(I was going to write the last sentence the way my friend, foil, and arch-nemesis, Marc the Spark (Is that a cool super villain name or what!), would write it, but the thought of his face as he read the sentence ending with a preposition was too much to resist.)


I was at a department meeting when my friend, foil, and arch-nemesis, Marc the Spark (Is that a cool super villain name or what!), said I should use the strange word, terroir, in my blog. This was, of course, after everybody in the room told me in no uncertain terms that I was an idiot for not knowing the meaning of the word or how it was spelled or pronounced. Actually, they did not tell me that I was an idiot. I just felt like it because I was the only one who did not know what terroir meant. (By the way, did you know that there are more terroirs in the state of Washington than there are in all of Europe? Interesting the things you can learn at department meetings. Even when the topics at hand have nothing to do with terroir.) At any rate, after I was done hearing the data dump about terroir, my friend, foil, and arch-nemesis, Marc the Spark (Is that a cool super villain name or what!), challenged me to use terroir in a blog post. But the rules of engagement were that I could not just say that my friend, foil, and arch-nemesis, Marc the Spark (Is that a cool super villain name or what!), challenged me to do so.


To be fair, I did use a phrase like that in a previous post. Not that it was the only way I met the challenge, but Marc the Spark told me in no uncertain terms that I could not do that in my terroir piece. So naturally, I followed the rules of engagement and never mentioned the challenge in the terroir post like I did in the previous one. But the challenge, the new super villain name (which it only took four years to come up with), and the rules of engagement of said challenge had to be addressed somewhere.


Which is why I had to write this post.


I love it when Marc the Spark issues me a challenge. He is after all, my favorite super villain. I love his antics as he tries to throw monkey wrenches into spokes of the wheels of my writing machine. I love the fact that he is one of my true friends and faithful readers. And I love the fact that when he issues his challenges to me, that he lays out the rules of engagement.


Marc the Spark is certainly part of my terroir just as any super hero is shaped by his super villain arch-nemesis. (Not that I am a super hero, but it is cool having a super villain in my life. Even though he only pretends to be a villain. But that is another story. Or two. Or three. That I actually already wrote, by the way.) And when it comes right down to it, I am usually happy to agree to the rules of engagement in the challenges he lays down.

© 2019 Michael T. Miyoshi

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