My geeky origins start in a line to a galaxy far, far away

Categories: Geek Speak

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It begins in a long line to a galaxy far, far away.
Watch a handful of superhero movies, or read the comics they're based on, and you realize that all superheroes have an origin story. Geeks are no different. We all have our own origin stories. This is mine.

See also: We are geeks; we are stoners

One of my first memories is of standing in line to see the original Star Wars in its original theatrical run (yes, I know I am dating myself here). I was all of four years old at the time. Funny enough, I don't remember actually seeing the movie, just waiting in line and being excited for reasons I didn't understand, but that turned out to be completely justified. As with millions of kids since, that movie seared itself into my consciousness and changed me in ways that resonate to this day.

I was lucky to be standing there in that line. Lots of parents, even in the '70s, probably wouldn't have considered Star Wars to be suitable entertainment for a four-year-old, or at least wouldn't have been willing to stand in line for who knows how long with a restless pre-kindergarten kid to see a goofy movie about space wizards. My dad was, and I'm grateful to him to this day.

Really, the origin of my geekiness is as much his story as it is mine. Not only was he the one to stand with me in that line, he also took me to see a dozen other sci-fi future classics (and some stink bombs) with him before I was old enough to go on my own. He took me because he knew I loved them, but also because he did. Thanks to him, I got to see the first two Star Trek films, Blade Runner and Superman in theaters before I had a decade under my belt. At home, there was the original Star Trek series, The Twilight Zone and The Six Million Dollar Man on television, not to mention any number of films that we didn't catch in theaters, including a lot of stuff that was wholly inappropriate for a kid -- I saw Phantasm when I was about seven years old, and that fucking movie haunted me for years afterward. Still, it was totally worth it, not least due to how amused Phantasm director Don Coscarelli was when I told him that story three decades later.

Interestingly enough, my dad is not the kind of guy you'd think of as a geek. He played sports in high school, fought in Vietnam, liked to work on cars, jumped out of airplanes for fun. He's much more a "guy's guy" than a stereotypical geek, but he liked what he liked, and what he liked wasn't just football and fast cars, but intergalactic intrigue and maybe some dragons here and there, too.


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