The Geek Infection

If you're a geek, i.e. interested in comics, movies, gaming, genre stuff, etc., ask yourself how it all came about? Did something fall into your hands that turned you into a geek? A book, a comic, a stray episode of Star Trek on TV? Or were you exposed to the sickness by someone who was already a geek, someone who knowingly infected you? Were you smitten right away and immediately started to seek out more of the same, the infection "spreading", so to speak? Or was it a slow burn, your love at first exclusive and single-minded, but your heart primed for more, waiting for something big to happen?

Me? I had an uncle who had a big collection of Euro comics and an aunt who devoured Archie and Harvey comics, and my dad admitted to reading American comic books as a child, so it was a no-brainer for my parents, seeing as I had a very early aptitude for reading, to put Tintin, Asterix, the Smurfs and other French bandes dessinées into my hands. I am not patient zero. I caught the bug from family members, though from there, I went deep into science-fiction, superheroes, and role-playing without an real push. It all fascinated me, and today, well, I'm writing this blog.

I'm a Typhoid Mary too. A carrier. And a contagious one. Geekdom has never been a solitary enterprise for me, even in those halcyon days before the Internet was a delivery system for geeky things (as much as cat pictures and pornography) when you had to work hard to get your hands on the things you liked. I was never a role-player, but a GameMaster, the one who recruited from his friends to try this hobby out and organized the weekly sessions. I was the one who lent out his comics with no real possibility of reciprocity. The one who, to this day, is quick with the recommendations and has to check himself before lending out books and movies lest they never return.

It would in fact be true to say that I didn't so much become friends with other geeks, but rather turned the friends I had INTO geeks so we'd have more to talk about. Not to say the seed wasn't already in them, but I might have given them the push. If I just look at the people I've LIVED with, and whose exposure was perhaps accidental:

I've lived with 6 family members, and have had two dozen roommates (split about evenly male/female).

Doctor Who became a family tradition during Pertwee/Baker reruns for 3 family members (will never count myself in these tallies), and turned 4 roommates into NuWhovians who have seen some classic stuff.

I have shared comics with 2 family members (my sister was fond of Groo, I remember) and 6 roommates.

I have role-played with 5 family members and 9 roommates.

I've introduced some iteration of Star Trek to 3 family members and 6 roommates, and created some fans there as well. At least two have learned Klingon phrases.

Weekly movie nights (including five years of kung fu cinema) have been attended by 4 roommates.

And I'm podcasting and blogging with 2 of those roommates (though 4 who live or have lived in the house, since I don't count other apartments as containing "roommates").

Never mind the wider circle who have been sucked into the proceedings. I'm well known for recruiting almost exclusively from non-role-players for my role-playing games, for example, and a lot of people do tend to gravitate to the movie nights, board game nights, etc. that tend to happen on my shift. So get close at your own risk, but if you're reading this, chances are it's already too late for you. We will not be quarantined.


Anonymous said...

When I grew up, one's TV choices were "Star Trek" reruns or "Welcome Back, Kotter". No choice, really. It simply isn't logical to insert a hose into one's nose, whether it is made of rubber or some other material.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I want you to know that this comment on "Welcome Back, Kotter" made my day. I laughed so hard.


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