OK, first off let me say, why was I not informed of this earlier! Seriously, I am a geek and quite proud of it! So when I read the Geek Dad & Dork Tower telling me to Speak Out With Your Geek Out I was shocked! Seriously, I have been known to leave my geek hanging out for days, indecently exposing my geekyness at work, family functions etc. My in-laws have been shocked when I expose my geek to them and people they know. If you follow my blog, you already know that I have no qualms sharing my love of science fiction, fantasy, games and more. So this week, I will proudly proclaim my geekdom!
All my life, I believed that my geekyness was not something I inherited from my parents. My dad is a carpenter by profession. His hobby is working on motorcycles. He was an engineer on the USS Yorktown in the 60’s.
My mother was a secretary and a housewife. She was very religious and loved sewing.
Not very geeky right?
As a matter of fact, I have always given most of the credit to my Uncle Roger. However, as I sat writing this, which was the first time I really thought about it, I realized that my parents definitely influenced my geekyness.
Before my dad became a professional carpenter, he was, and I should say he still is, an artist. When I was a child however, his career was in amusements. He painted the exteriors and interiors of boardwalk fun houses and haunted houses. Even cooler though, he created the fiberglass creatures and monsters that were inside. I had the best Halloween’s. Every year a new cast of spooky skeletons, bats and other critters would come home with my dad and scare the guano out of the trick or treaters! He would also spend a lot of time sitting and drawing cartoons with me. He introduced me to Ed Emberley. He encouraged my imagination and inspired my creativity. Oh yeah, he and his crew aboard the Yorktown also picked up an Apollo mission, so there’s that!
My mom was a different story. She did her part in two wonderful ways. The first was her overwhelming drive to educate me when I was young. She sat and read to me when I was little. When I could do it myself, she bought me books and comics to read. Neither of those things left my life. The other thing she did was teach me religion. I am not preaching here, just stating a fact. My first Bible was a children’s Bible. It was full of simply told Biblical stories, with beautiful pictures depicting Daniel in the lions den, David and Goliath and the tales of Noah, to name a few. These stories were the first mythology and fantasy tales I read! Seriously, these were the legends and fables of Christianity and Judaism. They are truly as entertaining as the Iliad. Starting with those and seeing my love of them, she soon had me reading the Chronicles of Narnia. Those fantasy led me to Tolkien, and others.
It was my destiny to be a geek!
All around me was other things that sculpted my geek lifestyle! Sundays at my Grandparents watching Godzilla movies, Kung Fu Theater, and classic monster films, while playing superheros in the back yard. Across our dead end street was my best friend Rich and his dads collection of every Avalon Hill war game known to man. Even my uber-religious uncle brought me comic books that told me dinosaurs didn’t exist because they weren’t in the Bible. After my parents, however, there was one person that truly made me the geek I am today.
That would be my afore mentionedUncle Roger. In the seventies, he was the geek role model. He not only introduced me to Rush and The Police, had the coolest hand held games and video games. He watched lots of Dr. Who with me and he also was the first person I knew to get a computer. In 1978, he bought a TRS 80 and inadvertently brought his entire family into the digital age! He was quite generous in teaching me the basics, (pun intended) and letting me play games. Ah, the hours I spent wandering through the Temple of Apshai, headphones on, jamming out to Moving In Stereo!
That was not my first dungeon crawl however. Roger had also recently introduced me to joy of delving into dark underground fortresses and fighting dark horrible, monsters before. In 1977, he started playing Dungeons & Dragons. He and a few friends from school had picked up a copy of the basic game and it wasn’t long before I was sitting at the top of the steps to his room listening to the wild adventures going on around the table. A few months later he invited me and a couple of my cousins to play. I was thrilled. He passed his Basic Set on to us when his group purchased the Advanced version, and we soon started playing ourselves. He also introduced me to other strategy tabletop games like, Magic Realm, Ogre, Car Wars and Dune.
There are many more friends and family that have helped me to become a geek, too many to mention here. But, I can’t leave out my Grandmother. She not only, took all of her grandchildren to see Star Wars, she sat through two showings in a row. She let us all gather in her home to play role playing games and take over her TV for video games as well. She encouraged my computer geek side when she went out and bought every grandchild (there were quite a few) a TI-994A in the 80’s.
My family made me a geek and I love them for it. They all made me the father with kids who play Star Wars and Thundercats! My children know what Orcs and Uruk-hai are. They fly spaceships and duel light sabers! When we get thunderstorms they tell me Thor is in the sky and have more action figures than I ever did! (Thanks Jesse!)
To all my family and friends who have played games with me, from Risk and Sorry, to Vampire the Masquerade and Dungeons & Dragons, Thank You!
To the stores that have supported my hobbies, from comic books to RPG’s, from Pat’s Gifts to Jester’s and GvE, Thank You!
To all the people who debate stories from comics and novels as well as TV and movies, Thank You!
Lastly, to my Mother and Father as well as Grandmom and Roger, from the bottom of my heart, Thank You!
Hopefully, I will get time to write a bit more on my geekyness! Feel free to shout out about your favorite geeky things here! Who made you the geek you are today?