A little while ago I found myself in a game store. Not like video games...but a real one. The kind where you walk in to see board games, and eventually if you walk far enough through the thick clouds of body odor, you end up in the very back, surrounded by the unwashed social misfits you only ever saw huddled in the corners of your high school, all staring up at you as if you were some sort of strange mirage.
I don't want to delve too far into the reasons why I was in such a place. All I know is that I had a little bit of an existential crisis.
So here we go. We are going to take on the massive and probably terrifying task of tracking my nerdiness back to its origin. Wherever and whatever that may be.
Before we begin, there's something I need to explain. As I was thinking back on my life, I had a realization. That most of my “nerd” phases were more like obsessions. Obsession that I was incredibly loyal and dedicated to.
When I love something, I don't just love it. I flat out obsess over it. Even as a 25-year-old, I still find things I love and I just…hold on to them for dear life.
PHASE 1: CATS
I believe it all began with cats.
I loved cats.
I mean, you don't even know how much I loved cats.
My only goal as a child was to obtain as many cats or cat-related things I could.
PHASE 2: SCIENCE
My love for cats was only matched by my love for space. Yeah, space as in...the solar system and stuff. There was a point in my life when I knew almost all 50-or-so of Jupiter's moons and I would make sure everyone knew it.
My favorite planet was Saturn...by far.
PHASE 3: CATS AGAIN
I just want to stress how intense my love of cats was when I was a small child.
My laser eyes will obliterate anyone who keeps me from holding every cat.
PHASE 4: POKEMON
Come on. If you are currently in your twenties, then you know what it was like when Pokemon first became a thing.
Pokemon was the best. Especially when you opened that fresh pack of cards. It was like freaking Christmas morning! You never knew what you'd get, but you knew there's at least one rare in there. Just waiting for you to see it, to cherish it, to show your friends, and maybe even trade for a Charizard or something.
Usually you just got like 5 more Weedles or whatever.
But we all wanted that stupid Charizard! And those of you who were lucky enough to get one were the envy of all. Oh and those of you who were even luckier and got the freaking HOLOGRAPHIC CHARIZARD?
You were Gods among children.
I never got Charizard, but my brother did. And when he showed the neighbor kids, one of them bit him.
PHASE 5: SPORTS?
Not nerdy. I included this because I'm feeling vulnerable and need some sort of redemption before I delve even deeper. I used to play sports. A lot of them.
I don't know what happened.
PHASE 6: HTML
Oh that's right. This happened. The internet happened. And with the internet came my discovery of HTML code. I could make my own Internet!
It was my ticket to a lifetime of pasty skin and strained eyes.
PHASE 7: HARRY POTTER
If you're new, then let me tell you now. There have been few things that have rivaled my dedication to the Harry Potter fandom. I read the books when I was 11, and subsequently cried myself to sleep that summer when I didn't get a letter. From the 4th book on, I was at every single midnight release - dressed up.
My sister, Annie, finally gave into my pestering and started the books last year.
I could go on and on about sentimental stuff like how Harry Potter made me feel less lonely when I moved and had no friends, or that Harry Potter made me love reading again, etc, etc…but I'll leave it at this.
PHASE 8: LORD OF THE RINGS
Oh man. I did love LOTR. The fact that I usually still call it “LOTR” should tell you that. I wish I could say I'd read the books first, but that wasn't the case. Although… I began reading them almost immediately after seeing the first movie, and I was truly dedicated. The final one was the first time I'd really cried during a movie.
Unable to deal with these new emotions, I hid inside of my sweatshirt so nobody would see my Lord of the Rings-induced tears.
PHASE 9: A COMBINATION OF PHASES 6 AND 8
This is an example of one of those times where two nerd forces combine to make something nerdier.
When I was 14, I was the creator and webmaster of an LOTR fansite.
I gathered news, interviews, statistics, and photos and compiled them all on a crappy little website made completely of tables and hosted on Angelfire.
If I still had any of the original graphics or anything, trust me…I'd post it. But maybe it's a good thing that it seems to have disappeared forever. Just know that the font Papyrus was used in excess and that most of the website revolved around Elijah Wood.
We've made it halfway through. There's quite a bit more. The rest covers the second half of my life so far, and we get into some pretty dark nerd stuff.
The second post is almost done, so it won't be too long to wait.