Monday, January 16, 2012
Secret (Geeky) Origins!
My wife and I were talking, as we do often, about what things were like when we were young. Mainly about things like television, movies, and music. It was definitely a different time back then and, of course, reminiscing about bygone days usually makes them seem better then they were. This is especially true when thinking about old t.v. shows that I used to watch as a kid. Two of my favorites were Ultra-Man and Speed Racer. Looking back on them now, I always get a chuckle and wonder just how I thought they were so great. Of course, in my defense, I was just a kid.
All that said, though, it did get me to thinking about just when, exactly, I realized that I was different from other kids. The term different referring to my love of science fiction and fantasy or, 'geeky', as they say these days.
Now, as the legend goes....told by an old bard (my mother)....I learned to read before I was in kindergarten. She's always told the tale of how, at a parent/teacher conference, my teacher asked her what they were doing at home that had taught me how to read so well. My mother's answer was....absolutely nothing. Not that she said that proudly, it's just how it was. They never read to me or encouraged me to read in any other manner besides giving me Golden Books and comic books. Mom later observed that I had taught myself to read by watching Mister Roger's Neighborhood and Sesame Street. Again, this is her tale, so I can't really validate it 100%. I do remember, though, being able to recognize words in kindergarten and knowing what they meant when I saw them on paper.
Anyway, the gist of the legend is that I started reading comic books at a very early age. Everything from Archie, Sad Sack, Richie Rich, and Batman. As I got older the list grew and branched out into actual novels...The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, etc. Whether it was because I liked to spend my time reading and drawing, things that made me use my imagination, I ever got into such things as watching sports (though I always played them, oddly enough) or more (at the time) 'socially acceptable' things. Back then, if you told someone you read comic books it would garner, at the very least, odd looks....especially if you were older.
So, it was back in 1978 when I realized that I wasn't, exactly, like everyone else. I remember seeing a preview for a t.v. show called The Return of Captain Nemo and counting down the days until it was on. While I don't remember how great of a show it really was, I remember my ten year old self thought it was pretty darn cool. The next day at school we were going somewhere for a field trip and I was asking people on the bus how they liked that Captain Nemo show. Not a kid on that bus had watched it.
I was stunned. So stunned, as a matter of fact, that I still remember it, to this day, just how stunned I was. I mean, really?? I had thought everyone would be as excited about watching it as I had been and they'd all be chomping at the bit to talk about it. Nope. Nothing. I remember going home and telling my mom just how flabbergasted I was that no one had even watched Captain Nemo. She just smiled and told me that it was o.k., and that we all liked different things.
It was on that bus, during a school field trip, that I realized that I was a little (arguably) different from the rest. While I was watching things like The Return of Captain Nemo, they were watching baseball and football. While I was reading and drawing, they were collecting baseball cards and jumping their bikes over makeshift ramps. It wasn't that I ever 'felt' different, but I knew I wasn't considered 'the norm'.
It's funny how things turn and enjoying comic books, science fiction, and fantasy doesn't carry quite the social stigma it did back when I was young.
So, if you're of the 'geeky' persuasion, when did YOU realize that you weren't quite like everyone else?
What's your "Geeky Origin"?