Apparently I’ve been living my entire life steeped in the pits of ignorance, for I’m only now learning there’s such a thing as “Geek Pride Day,” which is by all accounts something I should have been celebrating since the time I could walk. Appropriately, that is circa the same time I was introduced to Speed Racer, the first milestone in many that would catapult me down a path towards the geekpocalypse from which I hope to never return. Considering I recently began my first Dungeons & Dragons campaign and regularly review anime and video games for Geeks Under Grace, I think I’m doing a pretty good job so far.
While I did not always identify as such, it’s safe to say I’ve been a geek for my entire conscious life. Starting with aforementioned Speed Racer and sprinting into the arms of My Neighbor Totoro,Power Rangers, and Donkey Kong Country around the age of four, I was engrossed by the wonders of anime, Saturday morning television, and video games, right out the gate. These interests would only continue to be tinkered with, refined, and deliberately extrapolated during each consecutive year and season of life.
As with many, my geek passions were a fundamental piece of my soul and a shuttle for helping me connect with my contemporaries. Hours would be spent on the school playground waging wars and having “training regimes” with friends. We’d practice the art of catching imaginary monsters, peddling self-created trading cards (because Pokemon and its kindred were a menace at my elementary school), or writing rudimentary Zoids fantasy tales with our social circles as the cast. These things I’d learn years later were called LARPing and fanfiction, and both would be further embraced to one degree or another.
Trends, hobbies, and fandoms would come and go, as is their nature. But some stuck around a little longer than others. Pokemon is a good example. While I might have skipped generations four and five out of some wayward sense of being “grown-up” (the folly of man), I have since mended my ways and await Sun and Moon with that same childhood spirit which fell in love with Red and Blue. Charmander was my first Pokemon ever, and set the tradition that every new generation must begin with a fire-type.
Naruto is another monolithic example of a geek interest which has endured the years. Over twelve of them, actually. Some of the Geeks Under Grace staff chalked up a nice summation of our feelings a year and a half ago, when the series concluded. You can read about it and let your heart stir the waters here.
I would not be who I am today without all the geek-inducing fascinations and interests I’ve pocketed along the way. Each of them is worth something, whether because they taught me to emote with maturity, relate with authenticity, or create with reckless imagination. The walls of my home are hemorrhaging with artistic renderings of Megaman, the Pokemon Espeon, The Walking Dead, Naruto and Gaara, Super Smash Bros., Fullmetal Alchemist, and many others. I have my own set of Dragon Balls, a number of different geeky apparel items (such as t-shirts and Edward Elric’s Alchemist pocket-watch), and an arsenal of swords courtesy of my brother (which I’ve used in actual blade-on-blade shenanigans). I’ve sunk thousands of dollars over the years to more deeply embrace this side of myself, whether that’s by building a computer that can tolerate the demands of oppressively high-quality games, or by attending conventions where you always forget how many people cosplay until you get there. In pursuit of my writing prose, I’ve penned an uncountable number of words, all inspired in some measure by my geek history. I like to think I’m somewhere in the realm of a million, give or take one or two-hundred thousand in either direction.
I love this stuff. And that’s why I so greatly appreciate my opportunity to write for Geeks Under Grace, because I can use this part of myself to write articles and reviews which glorify God and help inform His people of what they may or may not want to invite into their mind and why. Video games have taught me the importance of the grind, comics and manga gave movement to my imagination, anime gave me friends so innately human that it was sometimes unclear why I should ever distinguish them from real people.
So take pride, geeks. Chances are, that thing you love, even if it gets you bullied a little, is totally worth it. Not everything is worth your time, of course, but that’s why you’ve been given that wonderful, quirky thing called discernment. Use it. Walk the universe with Doctor Who. Fall in love with people who abide only in the realms of fiction. Practice your Kamehameha Wave. Read a book where redemption is fought for, tooth and nail. Find your inspiration and let it drive new projects, passions, and personal progressions.
We as a communal body might not always get along, but we have unlimited numbers of ties to one another through these mutual affections of ours. That’s what makes us so much fun, I think. We need to look out for one another, because we can. That’s what these games and shows have been teaching us. Life rolls you enough ‘1’s as is; don’t isolate yourself from the assistance of the clerics and warriors all around you.
It seems this didactic lesson is getting away from me.
I believe you get the picture. Throw on your favorite soundtrack and go be a geek.
God bless, and always remember to smile.
Cooper D Barham
Aspiring author, marriage and family therapist, and active behavioral health technician, Cooper fills his world with God, music, videogames, anime/manga, drawing, reading, writing, and some physical stuff in between. If you ever want to talk about the big or little things of life, fire him a message. Helping others through tough times is both his passion and way of living. 'Got it memorized?'
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