December 05, 2002

My Inner Geek Shows Through

My Inner Geek Shows Through

On Tuesday this week, I had to attend a meeting in Minneapolis to discuss magazine content, layout, and design. Despite my total distaste for meetings (see previous post), I actually enjoyed the face time with production editors, ad salespeople, and managers who I only see once or twice every three months, despite almost daily conversations with them via telephone. Plus, I was able to stroke my creative right brain leanings by offering up possible magazine design changes. Okay, so I enjoyed a meeting. Call me a hyprocrite if you will. You're all a bunch of assholes as far as I'm concerned. Assholes.

Well, anyway, the meeting in Minneapolis was well-timed because Tuesday was also my girlfriend's birthday, so I was able to celebrate her 28th year of existence without having to take the day off work. I took her out to eat at an Italian restaurant called Ciatti's, or at least I think that's how it's spelled. I guess it really doesn't matter how it's spelled. It was an Italian restaurant, and that's all you need to know. Actually, you don't even have to know that much. Quit being so nosy. Assholes.

As we walked to the entrance, I noticed an adjacent store that sold comic books and games. You know the type of place I'm talking about. If you don't, just think of the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons and you'll get a pretty good idea.

More than just a shop for comic books and games, however, this place provided patrons with a large seating and snack area, offering area geeks a place to get together and play their games. I use the term "geeks" here appreciatively. There's nothing wrong with being a geek. Geeks will one day be responsible for writing all the code patches for the release of Windows 2010 XP. If I offend any geeks out there with this post, I'm sorry. Please don't throw your thick-rimmed, masking taped glasses at me.

What floored me about the comic book and game store was that it featured a huge window so outsiders like Melissa and myself could peer in and witness the secret world of the local gaming community. Table upon table was crammed with geeks playing Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons and Star Trek and Star Wars role-playing derivatives. It was just so deliciously geeky, I couldn't help but stare.

Eventually, a few gamers became aware of our outside presence, and they cast us startled looks, as if we were unwelcome intruders into their little world. "Go away, non-believers, lest we vote you out of the continuum as per the rules laid forth in the Klingon tribunal." So, Melissa and I quickly scurried into the restaurant, leaving the gamers to their own little worlds.

The tough admission that I must make, however, is that I, too, am a geek, or at least I was. There was a time when I would have driven to the Twin Cities just to play for a couple hours in that comic book and game store. From 9th to 11th grade, I was a die-hard Dungeons and Dragons fanatic. I had three different sets of lucky dice, I had numerous D&D rule books, and I had countless characters. Hell, I even bought a miniature D&D village during a class trip and spent the entire bus ride home putting together a bunch of tiny cardboard buildings. I wasn't just a geek, I was a member of the royal family of geekdom.

But it gets worse. My little group of about five loyal gamers even transformed a room in our buddy's basement into a D&D gaming room, complete with posters and a Wall of Fame that held the names of our most successful and powerful characters. We had candles and a round table and an extensive library of D&D manuals. We would play for hours, often burning up our weekends by playing into the wee hours of the morning. If there is such a thing as a geek pheromone, chances are that we emanated it from our pores, in sufficient enough quantities to make the female gender cover their noses and run away screaming.

Thankfully, I went to live in Tokyo my senior year, leaving my D&D life behind me. In Tokyo, I discovered beer and parties, and I honed my skills in these areas the following years in college, effectively flushing my system of geek pheromones and briefly enjoying a status as a male whore. But those are different stories for different days.

So, there was a part of me, as I peered in and watched the next generation of Bill Gateses gaming away, that kinda, sorta wanted to run in, buy a set of dice, and join them. Call me a geek if you will.

You're all still a bunch of assholes.

Posted by Ryan at December 5, 2002 12:05 PM
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