Mekillthings the Froglok has applied – 37 Warden

Posted: September 6, 2007 by Kendricke in Everquest 2, Out of Character

I’d like to introduce you to an applicant to my guild.  His online name is Mekillthings and he’s a level 37 Froglok Warden.  He was referred to us by his long time friend and our long time member (and officer), Artteen.  On his application, he put down that he’s looking for “fun, good players, a good group of people to get to know”.

All that said, he’ll never be a member of the Legion. 

Honestly, he’s just another applicant in our register.  There’s nothing spectacular to catch my eye.  He’s a Warden and we don’t really need another druid.  He’s only level 37, so he needs to level up quite a bit.  Of course, there’s that name, too…

So why aren’t we bringing him into our guild?  Is it because he’s too low level or we’re too elitist?  Is there some reason I don’t want him in my guild? 

No, it’s none of that.  Truth is, I’d love to have the guy in our guild.  Right now, there’s at least a few of our members who would literally give anything if he could join our guild.  Simply put, we can’t invite him, anymore. 

You see, the player of “Mekillthings” died August 22 in a Blackhawk crash just outside of Kirkuk, Iraq.


I don’t know much about him, really.  From his friends in the guild and the newspaper reports, we know that his real name was Matthew Tallman, and on our forums he chose the name “Tallmantango” to register under.  He was the crew chief for his Blackhawk, and along with 10 other men, he crashed in Multaka, Iraq.  Back home in San Jose, California, he was the only child of Virgina Tallman…and the father of six year old Sandra. 

In his first and only post on our forums, he explained that he was looking to join us and that he was about to be deployed:

Well i would like to say hello to all. I just dropped an app to join. I have a long term friendship with Artteen and tristanna. I will not be playing for about a month and a half as I get sent up in my new home IRAQ YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. soo I loo forward to getting to play with you all and have lots of fun.

Like many guilds, we have a fair share of military types.  A large selection of our members are either currently enlisted or retired from active duty.  Mekillthings would have been just another in a long line of proud servicemen and women who had joined us throughout the years, passing through our ranks on their way to perform this duty or that. 

Artteen himself was recently called up, but just as he was completing his final training for his deployment overseas, he was informed that he’d been selected as a recruiter for the Army.  As you can imagine, we were all relieved.  His wife (another of our members) was estatic.  The joy was short lived however, as only a day after he’d received his new orders, he’d heard the news about Matthew.

The fact that he chose to share these bits of information with what essentially amounts to strangers only goes to show the extraordinary lengths to which these games connect people together.

I can’t possibly begin to imagine the conflicting feelings Artteen must be feeling right now.  I won’t even try to put words down to pretend I understand even an inkling of the emotions he’s putting himself through.

In a way, all guilds are families and ours is certainly no different.  Though we’d never actually had the chance to accept Mekillthings into our ranks, his death has touched us all.  We worry for Artteen and his wife.  We worry for a man’s family we’ve never met.  We grieve for a man we’d never known.

Of course, we’re not the only guild to go through this turmoil.  I’ve seen many stories from many servers on many games where this player or that had died.  All the emotions we may save for our flesh and blood family and friends may well up all the same for names we’ve only seen on our computer screens, for disembodied voices we’ve only heard through digitized voicechat. 

Just as with our real world funerals, we seek to find mememtoes of our online friends, sifting through chatlogs and hunting through screenshots.  We share stories with other online friends.  We try to seek solace and attempt to make sense of it all.

These friendships we make online are in many ways just as tangible and emotionally invested as those we make in real life.  We come home after work and log in to see who else is on.  We look forward to forming groups with certain players, not just because they may have higher DPS, but because they tell better jokes or say the craziest things or just because they are a kindred soul to talk to about children.

So while we all log in tonight and argue over whether or not SOE should have introduced Legends of Norrath into public servers, or how much we hate Blizzard’s customer service, or whether or not Warhammer Online is going to rule or not, I ask that we all take a moment to put things into perspective.   

Take a moment to remember that halfway across the globe, a bunch of kids in camo are worried about brown paper bags on the side of the road and whether or not they’ll get to see their families again.  Remember to count the blessings you do have that some of the biggest gripes in your life revolve around game mechanics and drop rates.

And while you’re at it, please take a moment to remember the man behind Mekillthings the Froglok, played by Matthew Tallman of San Jose, California.  He’s just one of the thousands of players you may have grouped with over the past few months online.  Someone just like him may be waiting to group with you tonight. 

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Comments
  1. Loralor says:

    A fitting tribute and a lesson for us all.

  2. Check out “If you’re reading this” on youtube for some good troop tribute videos. I have three cousins in IRAQ right now and my dad was a POW MIA during vietnam for over a year so this hits close to home.

  3. lishian says:

    Thanks for posting this. I am a two-time combat vet and I have lost a dear friend. Folks appreciate life more after they have experienced tragedy and it is unfortunate. My last post was about someone that I lost. Life is a very precious thing.

  4. kendricke says:

    Lishian,

    First off, my condolences on your loss.

    Secondly, thanks for your service. I come from a military family myself, and it was actually my father’s wish that I not sign up, thus breaking a 4 generation tradition. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate everything you and others like you do each day.

    And of course, thanks for dropping by. Even though I didn’t know Matthew personally, it was still a tough article to write and share.

  5. nicole tallman says:

    i don’t know if i am too late to post anything. I just ran across this tribute as i was doing a search on my husbands name. thank you so much for this lovely tribute. You may have not known him, but i did and it would have meant a lot to him to have seen this. You do all soldiers great justice. Just so you know, he was tall, handsome, brave, loving, the best father and huband, and through his service, a hero. As are all who risk their lives over there. I would know, I was married to him.
    Thanks again

  6. Meryddian says:

    A very late response to this… my respects to Mr. Tallman’s family.

    Kendricke, I included a link to this over on my article at Intrepid Media – http://intrepidmedia.com/column.asp?id=3232 called “How Gamers Influence America”. Many people do not realize how many military personnel, both active and veterans, play. When I send care packages via anysoldier.com, I try to include some card games/D&D materials along, too.

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