I have been a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory for awhile now and recently was working my way through the sixth season in preparation for the start of season seven. While engaging in the marathon of my favorite American sit-com I would be joined here and there by my family. My wife and daughters would occasional sit it on a few episodes with me. When we were watching The Bakersfield Expedition, where the friends dress up as Star Trek characters for the Bakersfield comic-con, my oldest daughter asked me what Howard was dressed as. I told her a Borg, and she asked what was that. I told her if she watched Star Trek with me she would know. I promptly asked her if she would like to watch Star Trek with me, to which she responded with a derisive snort and a short ‘no’ before leaving the room. Another episode from season six reminded me of a different part of my childhood. The Santa Simulation, which was the one were the guys play Dungeons and Dragons on a December, Saturday night and mix in a little holiday cheer with their orcs and magic. It reminded me of when I really wanted to play a tabletop RPG.
I think I was somewhere around the age of ten when I was stealing coins out of my fathers two galleon glass coin jar to buy books. My parents didn’t have an allowance and I read too fast for anyone to want to buy me books. There were two series I was stealing money for at the time; one was the newly published Dragonlance Chornicles by Margret Wise and Tracy Hickman and the other was Lone Wolf by Joe Denver. Dragonlance expanded into tabletop games based on the world Wise and Hickman created in 1989 with the release of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons box set Time of the Dragon. Some of my misbegotten funds went to purchase this. I knew it was a game, something like a board game and that I needed other people to play. I didn’t have other people to play, but that did not discourage me. I tried to play it anyway. Of course I failed and soon gave up, just looking at the pictures and being inspired by someone else’s creativity. I kept it for years, in fact, I might still have it in a box somewhere. I was always hoping I would meet someone that I could play it with. I was glad I had the Lone Wolf books, for they were kinda like tabletop games, but they could be played by one person. They were like a cross between D&D and Choose Your Own Adventure books. How cool they were I will save for another time.
The Santa Simulation episode set my every ready, ADHD, squirrel brain running down two paths of my memories. One focused on all the times I found something I thought was the neatest thing and couldn’t share it with anyone. The other was all the fictional groups of companions I wished I could’ve joined. The two seemed to sync into one thought very quickly, though. For example, I remember a friend I only had during the summers, for that was when he visited his father. He normally lived in Phoenix, Arizona. It was him that introduced me to Magic: The Gathering. He told me about this really fun card game, and how I should get a deck so I could play with him. His parents made more money than my mother, so I could not begin purchasing this collectable card game. So, he made me a deck out of his excessive amount of cards. He tried to teach me to play, but always beat me. He let me keep the deck so I could build upon it and practice with other players. The problem was that there were no other players. I knew nobody at this time in my life I could ask to play. Also, Magic: The Gathering was still too new for mid-westerners to know about. I carried the deck with me for awhile hoping to encounter another player and make a friend but never found anyone. So, what was the point in building the deck up. I gave up on Magic.
That same friend also got me into Final Fantasy when he had me play what was the second release in America, but the fourth release in Japan? I loved it! I had played the first one on the NES, but had no idea that they kept making them. I wanted to tell everyone about it, no one cared, and I got made fun of for it. Later when Playstation released Final Fantasy VII I was the only one I knew geeking out about it. I caught some flak for that as well. I kept finding cool things that no one else cared about. Of course now it’s a different story. It’s cool to be geeky.
The other train of thought had me thinking about the friends in Big Bang Theory and other groups of comrades I admired. Like, The Goonies, or the boys from Stand By Me, any close net group of differing people who formed bonds. I knew I was watching/reading fiction when I was younger, but I still knew these kinds of friends existed. People that stayed friends for years and tried to get together at least one weekend every month, even when they were married with kids. Send each other Christmas cards, or go to each others parties. I wanted that so bad. Just a handful of people I could call close friends. I thought I had it a couple of times, but that was in my adolescence, before any of us really grew up. Being naturally interested in multiple topics in life I could condition my conversations with people to fit in with the group, and while I always gained a certain amount respect, was never fully accepted. I would always be an after thought or a hanger-on. I eventually gave up and just did my own thing in my own way not really caring what people did around me. I would love what I loved, because I thought it was cool and I finally realized I didn’t need other people to agree with me. Though it would have been fun to have a D&D group.
After my daughter left the room my wife asked me, “Why do you want her to watch Star Trek with you? So boring.” My wife hates it all and doesn’t understand why I waste my time reading ‘those’ books and watching ‘those’ shows, or playing ‘those’ games. I thought that the reasons why I wanted to share with my two daughters my love of science fiction and fantasy was because I found it enlightening and fun. I found it opened my mind and got me thinking outside the box. Well, yes that is all part of it, but, the reality is I felt this might be my last chance to share with someone else a love for things creative and geeky. That perhaps my daughters could be my group of friends. However, it’s unfair for me to put that on them. I would not want to be one of those over domineering parents always shoving at them everything I think is good and never letting them explore their world and decide for themselves. I have enjoyed all these things alone for years and while I am happy to share it all with them if they gain an interest, I will not force anything on them. I didn’t say all this to my wife though. I answered my wife with a smile, and said “Because, it’s cool.”