This week is a celebration of sorts for geek-dom called Speak Out With Your Geek Out. The inspiration for this effort is an article by a woman who realized her dating service date was a one time Magic The Gathering Champion. She was rather dismissive about his hobby and success and essentially stated that this was a relationship killer for her. It had a brief life as an internet sensation which resulted in a pledge by over 2000 people to blog about their geek passion this week and how it’s a part of their life.
I’ve spent a week or so thinking through this and realized my relationship with my wife really speaks to this situation. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been a geek for most of my life. It all started with comic books and Sci-Fi and has grown into board games, RPGs and video games. I’ve also written about how I “hid” this side of myself. What I really haven’t discussed is how this all has affected my relationship with my wife of 17 years.
When I first met Wanda she was the furthest thing possible from a geek. I don’t think she even saw a comic book before she met me. As we began our relationship I didn’t speak at all about my passion for comics and other things geek. We may have seen the occasional Science Fiction movie together, something safe like Jurassic Park (yes I’m that old, it was in the theater), but I waited until she was out-of-town to see Batman Returns.
Going back a bit further to when we met, I had a good, but not great job and a lot of credit card and student loan debt. I was working to pay them down, but with true love comes the engagement. And with engagement comes an engagement ring. Well, if I was going to swing that ring and get rid of some debt before marriage, I had to get a second job. This made for busy days and busy nights. It’s safe to say I was fairly stressed. My most effective stress relief was to sit down with a beer and a stack of comics. Problem was, my shift at the second job didn’t end until after the comic book store closed. One particular day, I really wanted that stack of comics and it just so happened that Wanda stopped by to see me at the second job. I tentatively asked if she wouldn’t mind swinging by the comic store to pick up my weekly pull. Yes, I asked my beautiful fiancée who was (and is) more cheerleader than chess club, to waltz into a comic shop and ask Pat the Comic Book Guy for Craig’s comics. And bless her, she did it. I have no idea what went through her mind that day but I have to believe she walked through that door with some trepidation. And at that point , I knew I had decided to marry the right woman.
And thus began Wanda’s life on the periphery of my geek-dom. I would not say that she has become a geek, but to steal a phrase from Wil Wheaton, she has become “geek adjacent.” She knows the characters and key plotlines from Star Trek. She knows that Han shot first and knows what I mean when I say “many Bothans have died to bring you this information.” She knows all about which comics I like, and has bought me many great comic themed Christmas and Birthday gifts over the years. She watches Doctor Who with me and the boys and has a strong knowledge of the post-relaunch Doctors (her preference is David Tennant). And last year, she even accompanied me to GenCon for a day.
If you had asked her 20 years ago if she’d know and do all this, I’m certain she would have laughed at you. But she has done all this and she has done it for me. So all I can say to the girl who blew off the Magic champion, you have no idea what you’re missing.”