The Downside of Growing Up Nerdy

growing up 2

… I was a kid.

If you looked at my list of things that make me a nerd (which doesn’t actually exist, but metaphorically speaking), it would include all of Star Wars, all of Star Trek TNG, all of Voyager, and all of (the terrible) Enterprise. In a way, it’s somewhat impressive. However, there is a catch of sorts, and let me tell you what it is.

My dad is into a lot of geeky things; he’s claimed to have seen every episode of The Twilight Zone just as a frame of reference. I guess that’s where I got my geeky tendencies from. So my Dad and I watched Voyager once a week live, Star Wars when it was rereleased in movie theaters in the early 90s, Enterprise live, and TNG reruns. My Dad recorded his favorite episodes (on tape).

This guy? I thought his name was Felix. So when I say I don't remember things, I'm not joking.

This guy? I thought his name was Felix. So when I say I don’t remember things, I’m not joking.

I’m sure that all sounded great to you guys. Growing up with some good sci fi, what could be bad about that? In reality, it’s been something of a mixed blessing. While I can say that I’ve seen everything, I honestly don’t remember a lot of it. I can’t tell you episode names, and I’m lucky if I can come up with the names of the less important characters. So I find it challenging to talk to other people in fandom, where attention to minute details is critical.

The other downside is that I’m raised on certain… beliefs, or prejudices (for lack of a better word). My mom has a story that she doesn’t like cats because her father told her not to and she (nor her siblings) never questioned that. There wasn’t a particular reason given to explain why they shouldn’t like cats; they just didn’t. The same scenario applies to me and Captain Kirk. My dad imposed the idea that Captain Picard was the best and I’ve stuck to that. I honestly don’t even think I’m capable of not thinking that way. I know it sounds silly, but when it was so engrained in my childhood I’d hope you understand that it’s something I probably won’t be able to change. And I guess in the long run being anti-Kirk is a lot better than many sexist/racist/bigoted thoughts that could have been engrained in my skull during childhood. But it still doesn’t let me have my own ideas; maybe I would have liked Kirk, but because the idea that Kirk is awful was thrown at me at such an early age I didn’t have the chance to come to that realization (or disagree with it).

So while growing up on sci fi sounds awesome, it’s not as great as you’d think. I mean, I remember Star Trek is awesome, but when I’m trying to have a conversation with other nerds, I can’t remember anything specific. Because what’s the point in growing up on it and then not being able to remember?

Adventures in Geekdom or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Comics

xkcd knows what’s up.

In my fifteen or so years of participation in geekdom, I’ve learned that there are two universal truths.

1. There are infinite shades of nerdity on the geek spectrum.
2. There are many people out there who still don’t get it.

Being a nerd was always part of my core identity, though I took pride in calling myself a “nerd” over “geek.” Geeks were socially awkward, not smart, like me (doesn’t that sentence just radiate hypocrisy?). I prided myself on being some kind of upper echelon of social outcast, defining myself through criticizing others. It didn’t matter that I never actually envisioned who that social outcast was who sat on the lower rung of the social ladder. I wasn’t like “those” weirdos, whoever they were.

So it really wasn’t a surprise when similar feelings resurfaced when I was invited to go check out Free Comic Book Day.

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Top Ten Everyman Characters in Geekdom

The Everyman (or Everyperson, as the case may be) is one of the most underestimated and important characters in storytelling. The Everyman is a character with no powers or special abilities outside of those that a normal person might have. The Everyman is not the chosen one; they usually are the stand-in character for the audience (though not always); and they can be the main character or supporting in the story. But the biggest and most key factor here is that they must be a completely and utterly ordinary character. This character represents what a normal person would be like in an extraordinary situation.

Many movies, TV shows, and books like to indulge in our fantasies by revealing that an ordinary person is actually someone amazing. These stories say, “Are you an awkward outcast and loner? Well, that’s actually because you’re a wizard/demigod/slayer/the chosen one!” And while this particular plot is great and all, at some point when watching or reading about one of these characters, you might wonder what it would be like if you were in the story. You then quickly realize that you are not a mutant/fairy/genius/alien and that you would be extremely screwed if you were to step into the story just as you are now.

But what if you weren’t? The beauty of the Everyman isn’t just that they are completely normal and average, but that they somehow survive against all odds in impossible circumstances.

So without further ado, here are my Top Ten Everyman Characters in Geekdom:

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