The First Rule of Geek Club…
There is an entire list of things that I found entertaining when I was younger, but have lost interest in as I’ve gotten older:
- Pretending to be a member of the A-Team
When I was a kid, my friends and I had an A-Team club and each of us had a call sign, based on the characters in the show. My career as Howling Mad Murdock came to an end when my antics irritated a local contractor enough that he chased me all the way from the job site where I was antagonizing him to my grandparents’ house and threatened to shove a piece of steel rebar in a very uncomfortable place.
- Prank phone calls
Like most teens, I did outgrow this stage. However, I still have fond memories of using computer voice software to convince the grocery store I worked for that I was an elderly shut-in, in need of a home delivery of four hundred boxes of macaroni and cheese.
- Saturday morning cartoons
I think this has less to do with my desire to watch cartoons and more to do with the fact that today’s cartoons just plain suck. Back in my day, we had shows like G.I Joe, Star Blazers, M.A.S.K., and Transformers. Sure they were thinly-veiled, animated commercials. But they were entertaining. The cartoons my kids watch look like an eight-year-old had a bad acid trip. I just don’t get it.
- Role-playing games
I’m talking the old school, pen and paper, magic missile-casting, dragon-slaying role-playing games. OK, I have a confession. I still do this on a regular basis.
I feel like I’m outing myself here. Or revealing the secrets of some secret society. “The first rule of Geek Club…”
Once a week, armed with twenty-sided dice, an armload of handbooks and monster manuals, mechanical pencils, and a hoard of sugary treats that would make Wilford Brimley explode on contact, I get together with a group of friends and have a good ol’ fashioned dungeon crawl.
Before you get the wrong idea, let me clarify. I don’t want to paint a picture of a bunch of nerds, dressed in renaissance faire cloaks, gathered around a single lit candle, rules-lawyering about whether the paladin is morally obligated to smite the rogue because the rogue chose to loot the party’s dying wizard rather than attempting to save him.
OK, bad example. That actually happened. But there were no cloaks or candles.
No, our gaming is more the geek equivalent of poker night. It’s mostly an excuse to get together, eat junk food, discuss our fantasy sports league standings, watch (and quote) movies whose humor our wives aren’t equipped to appreciate, and attempt to one-up each other’s jokes designed to cast aspersions on the rest of the group’s manhood.
You may have noticed that I’ve used the terms “nerd” and “geek” independently of one another. That’s because, in my mind, there is a distinct difference. Nerds would use candles and cloaks. I’ve developed a test to prove that I fall into the geek category, rather than being a socially challenged, pocket protector-wearing member of the Nerdery.
The test is simple. If you answer yes to three out of the following four questions, you are a nerd.
- Are you a gamer?
Duh. I think I’ve made it clear that I have to answer “yes” to this one.
- Do you work in a technology-related field?
Uh-oh. Since my job revolves around building Web pages and computer programs, I’m two for two.
- Do you live in your parents’ basement?
Whew. Things were starting to look grim there. No, I do not live with my parents.
- Are you a virgin?
I’ve seen the awkward health class videos. I’m pretty sure being the father of four children means I can answer “no” to this one, as well.
Looks like I passed the Geek vs. Nerd test – as would most of the other guys in my weekly gaming group. Granted, there is one that would have to answer “yes” to every question but he’s cool. I’ll vouch for him. Especially since he’s my ride.
Yes, I still game. No, I don’t see myself outgrowing it any time soon. You can have my character sheet when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. And, considering my level four fighter has a twenty-one armor class rating and the Improved Initiative feat, I think you’ll find that to be a challenge.
That sounded a lot less lame in my head.