Bloody Hell, what am I supposed to do with this one? Push. Sheesh. Okay, let’s try this. Beyond the more common definitions for the word, there is the, now presumably archaic, street usage of push as in to push or peddle drugs.
Now, the dictionary will tell you that usage means to “sell (a narcotic drug) illegally”, but I don’t think that’s wholly accurate. To push a drug meant “hard sell”, moving product as quick as you could, at the best price, to get rid of it. You were pushing it hard, talking it up, maybe giving out a free taste. Or at least that what 1970s cinema taught me.
But let’s go with the “sell” narrative.
So, how does this relate to roleplaying games?
I’m thinking of the two people in particular, Phil and Anne Haisley, owners and operators of Redbeard’s Books way back in those heady days of the late 70s and up to the late 80s when that was where we all congregated to get our D&D fix.
They were the dealers. We were the addicts. The drug was games, and not just D&D, but Top Secret and Gamma World and Traveller and all those great Avalon Hill wargames like Panzer Leader and War & Peace, and more… so much more. They had the stuff, man, and they kept it stocked.
Redbeard’s Books is where I bought my first Frazetta poster. It’s where I bought my dice, countless modules, 25mm metal miniatures, and untold issues of Dragon magazine.
It was a sad day when they closed up shop on the Marion bypass and headed south to Florida. They opened up a little bookstore there, The Book Lover’s Cafe, until finally retiring in 2011.
I still think of them often, especially Anne, who was always so kind and helpful, ordering things for me when I could find them nowhere else. I have fond memories of Redbeard himself, although his red hair had long turned to grey, discussing pulp fiction for long hours at times.
I miss them, and those like them.