Being the Geek

Not long ago, as the spirits reckon time, (which is a fancy way of saying “I’m not quite sure how long ago this was, but I remember it fairly clearly so it can’t be that long.) I stood before a crowded room and made a fateful pronouncement. I told everyone there (and it was a pretty large room.) that I was a geek.

I know. You aren’t impressed. Either you know me, (which is very likely given our current readership.) or you are a member of our target audience, so you are a geek too. But at the time, that admission was not easy to make. It doesn’t matter where I  was standing. All you need to know is I expected the ratio of  geek to  poor soul deprived of geekness to be heavily weighed against me. Nevertheless, I stood before this group boldly, wearing my Spider-Man hat, my Gen-Con badge, and a T-shirt saying “Everything I Really Needed to Know I Learned From Gaming,”   admitted that I was a geek, and I was unashamed.

Everyone laughed at me.

It was amazing.

Because, fortunately, I had been going for laughs.

It’s taken me a long time to be comfortable with being a geek. Its not like I was closeted or anything. I can’t get through the average day without demonstrating my geekiness at least once. But thanks to high school I was conditioned to believe I was outside the norm, that my love of superheroes, role playing games and campy science fiction shows made me . . . unusual. And maybe it does. But man, are there a lot of  unusual people out there.  I run into them everywhere. Some of them are even geeks.

I really started thinking about this the other day when I was watching my Marvel’s  The Avengers DVD. As I watched the Helicarrier take off I felt a warm glow build inside me, a profound sense of delight and satisfaction, and I started to wonder why. It’s  not like I had done anything other than fritter away countless hours reading comic books. My  input into the creative process had been entirely in dollars and cents, but here I was feeling  almost proud as that majestic violation of the laws of physics as we understand them lifted out of the sea.

It was, in that moment, mine.

It was my childhood given glorious life. It was vindication for all the conversations about Iron Man, Thor and Captain America that had drawn funny looks from passers by over the years. It was the satisfaction of realizing someone else cared enough about what I loved to spend hundreds of millions of dollars re-creating it, and all the poor souls deprived of geekness had swarmed to the theaters in their multitudes, and gave nearly a billion dollars to watch it over and over again. Kids everywhere ran around with their Hulk fists and Iron Man masks and Captain America shields, and for a time the world was what it should always have been, a really cool place to be a geek in. People who knew me asked me questions about the characters, about the movie. Can Cap’s shield really stand up to Mjolnir like that? Is the Hulk really that scary? And who was that purple guy at the end? And I, geek blood running hot through my veins, brought my wisdom forth and expounded, at long last, to the masses.

So, ladies, gentlemen, and assorted others, I sit here, in my office crowded with comic book memorabilia, fantasy and science fiction books in reasonably organized piles on or near the book shelves, role playing supplements cluttering the remaining surfaces, and say proudly that I am a geek. I am one of the wise in the realms of the unreal. It has been a long road coming here, with many an hour consumed (frequently with a side of pizza.) But here and now I can say it has been worth the ride.


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