I wouldn’t say I grew up in the geekiest house. I didn’t grow up in a city either! I grew up in rural Ireland, in the west of Limerick. My parents and five brothers all had and have for the most part their own interests. So I’ve always wondered; how I ended up growing up geek? While it’s not a nature/nurture debate, my research for this essay has stirred up a lot of old memories.
There are a lot of factors that I have been considering. While my parents weren’t hardcore geeks, my Dad loves Star Trek. My Mom is really passionate about cinema and terrible movies. With five brothers and no real amenities, we were left to our own devices to find and make fun/trouble.
Cartoons And Make Believing
I’ve been Diana from Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve gone on adventures with my turtle brothers Michaelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo! I’ve even sped across the ruins and wastelands of Thundera! Cartoons are the backbone to my childhood. When we were forced to go outside on those days that were too good to miss we brought the cartoon worlds and their characters with us.
Epic adventures all of our imagination. Taking on Shredder, trying to find the Dungeon Master or just simply going on explorer missions. I never had need of an imaginary friend to be a sidekick or fill a party, a big family meant plenty of roles were filled pretty quickly. I believe that my love of tabletop roleplay games like Vampire, DnD, Exalted and Pathfinder. The foundation for my dice rolling obsession was set during the long summer holidays when video games and TV time were rationed.
Star Trek And Collecting
One show that was thankfully spared rationing was Star Trek: The Next Generation. As I said in the beginning my Dad was a fan though he’d never count himself as a Trekkie. Sunday afternoons saw nearly all the family in the kitchen/dining room wrapped on the latest episode of the show.
I’m not sure how it all got started. I think my Dad’s youngest brother introduced us to it and from the start we were all hooked. I remember clearly being terrified of the Borg, hoping the Holodecks were actually real and crying over the death of Tasha Yar. I’d stumbled into my first fandom and I didn’t even know it. Aside from fond memories, Star Trek also introduced me to the world of collecting. While I can’t boast a massive collection I do remember being clearly told at a young age to mind the things I was given.
On my first school tour and I bought two Star Trek badge pins. One for my Dad and one for me. While I lost mine a weeks later, my Dad still has his stored away for safe keeping. Now that I’m older and developed my own eye for collector items, I struggle with the boxing/unboxing dilemma. The care that goes into placing and maintaining figures.
Gaming And Fighting
I’m a competitive person. My whole family are competitive. Remember Wipeout on the PlayStation? I’ll never forget the day I beat my Dad and won a bet for £20 (still owed by the way). If a fight broke out in our house and it was about video games, chances are it wasn’t about who’s turn it was. We were probably fighting because someone picked Dhalsim and he was banned! Or we were scrapping because someone won and they had to have cheated.
I try to keep my toxic comments and behaviour trapped when playing online. I can’t help the odd outburst when we’ve lost! I’m salty by nature and toxic by nurture!
TV And Learning
So much of who I am is tied into the stuff I love doing. We are all made up of tiny pieces, hobbies, likes, dislikes, relationships and so on. The TV was nevery a babysitter in our house, there were too many of us for it to keep an eye. It was, like many other homes, a focal point for the family. I’ve talked about how shows and films had an impact on my understanding and coming to terms of my sexuality so I don’t want to rehash it all again. It goes without saying though that Joss Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer had an impact on geek culture in a way that many new shows try and fail to replicate.
My parents never got my obsession with Anime. Thankfully they thought it was all just cartoons. Otherwise I’d never have been exposed to Battle Angel Alita, Violence Jack and Akira. All of which manage to confuse the daylights out of a preteen me! My younger brother though shared a lot of the same interests as me. He was and still is my best friend. He took the punches when he beat me in Smash Bros. He laughed when I cried after Buffy sacrificed herself. He takes it all just as seriously as I do but acts like he doesn’t.
Being a geek or loving this stuff isn’t all I am. I know that! You know that about your own self too. It is however one of my favourite parts. On reflection I’ve come to understand a little more about who I am and where my interests stem from; my family. Though they’d never admit to it, they’re all geeks in their own way and while we might not share the same passion for the same things, we appreciate and respect each others interests.
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!