Many years ago, I was in the break room for my old company and I was playing around with a Sega Dreamcast we had in there. I was playing Dead or Alive 2 -- back then I was a fairly serious Street Fighter 2 player; my college buddy Scott had a stand-up arcade version in his house and we would play it for hours on end. So, I'm tooling around in DOA2 in the break room and this employee comes up and sits next to me, asks if he can join in. I say sure. I play Tina, he plays Helena. As you do.

I proceed to thrash him in the first round. I feel like the ass-kicking was a little too brutal and I don't want this employee to feel bad about the President of the company mopping the floor with him, so I shrug and say "I'm pretty good at videogames" in the most off-hand manner I can muster. The guys gives me a deadpan poker face and a slight nod. I can tell he is a little miffed. He then proceeds to destroy me in Round 2. Gets a Perfect on me. He then turns his head as slowly as possible until he's looking me square in the eye and says "I'm pretty good at videogames too."

And that is how I met Gus.

I can't even remember who won Round 3 all those years ago, but that moment has defined our relationship ever since. I'd like to say I haven't seen his slightly-pissed, glowering poker face on a near daily basis, but that would be a lie. Our friendship exists in a range somewhere between "casual one-upedness" and "don't fuck with me or I will gut you" -- it's a delicate balance. I have actually spent more time playing games with Gus than anyone else I know. Which is strange, because he's also my best friend with whom I spend the least face-to-face time. He always seems to be doing something in private where he can't be bothered. I just assume he's practicing Dead or Alive 2, waiting for his rematch.

Happy Birthday, you filthy animal.