I am a geek.
I’ve travelled the length and breadth of the geeky spectrum.
In my teens I was cooping myself up in darkened basements, surrounded by junk food and simulated adventuring detritus.
My equally dorky pals would pour through ludicrously detailed rule books, while we argued over endless arcane vagaries.
From comic books and video games, to ill-conceived philosophical notions, I was a geek through and through.
I still look at discarded Crown Royal bags, not for the liquor they had contained, but for their voluminous dice-holding capabilities.
I’ve watched the director commentaries on my Babylon 5 disks, and I can give you thorough details on how I switched from DC to Marvel.
Pursuing my dorkdom was filled with the usual pitfalls.
Going to high school meant you had to be alert.
A “pantsing” from the jocks might just be around the next corner. We were the targets of scorn and derision.
Thankfully, all of that served to add righteous fuel to the trouncing we would metre out to our Warhammer opponents that weekend.
Things are quite different now.
Fuelled by rampant nostalgia, as geek trends continue to evolve, mainstream dorkery is reaching an all-time high – a high of acceptance, of co-opting trends and hobbies that used to be shunned by the cool kids.
Look at the rise of the Internet.
Now everyone can have an easily viewable opinion, and what really matters is how clever the typist can be. Millions of blogs are opening on every subject known to man.
Magazines on geek culture are starting to fill the shelves, taking lengthy amounts of column space to pigeonhole certain types of music, comedy and film into brand-new arbitrary facets of modern trendiness.
“Geek chic” actually exists.
I can certainly applaud all the collateral benefits of a geek-prominent society. Let’s face it, kids, things like the iPhone would have made my young heart soar with visions of a jetpack-wearing future.
(Though we still don’t have those … Science – my finger is pointed at you!)
Console video games are at an all-time high, allowing even the coolest of people to rock out to Guitar Hero.
And I’m far more likely these days to run into those pantsing jocks of my past, not in real life, but on the battlegrounds of World of Warcraft.
Now we have varying levels of what’s considered geeky, and pastimes that I used to take lumps for, people are now garnering cash prizes for.
Honestly, this is all just the ranting war vet in me.
It’s the same crankiness that makes me want to kick in the door at the next 80’s dance, shouting: “You weren’t there! We didn’t wear that crap cause we thought it was ironic! We had to!” (Check your local listings! There will be one around the corner soon enough!)
It’s not like I want to teach the history of geek emancipation in the schools. I’m just jealous that I had to take my licks growing up, doing things that took the rest of society a few years more to decide that it’s OK to enjoy.
Bitter? A little.
But if I can delude myself that the guy who stuffed me into a locker, years past, is now on-line fodder for my Blood Elf Warlock, that’s good enough comeuppance for me, at least.