Tuesday, July 22, 2008

when nerds attack

I have a pretty strong nerd streak in me. I love comic books, video games, action figures, sci-fi novels/movies/tv, etc. I've been known to play D&D. I have video game patches on my jacket that people comment on all of the time. Hell, one of my favorite records when I was a little kid was an album of space battle sound effects that I used to listen to for hours like it was classical music (much to the annoyance of my family). As such, I tend to find myself coming in contact with other geeky people quite frequently when I head out into the world. I go to comic book shops from time to time. I go to arcades on occasion. I've been to a convention or two for all things nerdy. And sometimes I go into stores and ask where I can find nerdy things.

Occasionally, asking a store clerk where I can find something nerdy will result in people commenting on my displayed nerditude. They'll talk to me about whatever it is I asked for. They'll tell me how great some new comic is. Sometimes they start making Star Wars references in an attempt to display their own nerdiness. In those situations, I always have a choice: do I mention that I work for Lucasfilm or not? Sometimes mentioning it makes people say "Oh! Cool, then you understand!" and then that's the end of it. Sometimes it backfires.

Last night, it completely blew up in my face.

I was at Borders trying to feed my new "Dark Knight" driven Batman cravings. After looking for both the graphic novel section and the Dark Knight soundtrack without any luck, I decided to ask the Info Desk. When I walked up to the clerk (a dumpy gray-haired guy with a full-grown computer programmer beard), I should have been tipped off by his saying "You may proceed with your questioning." But I wasn't and I asked where my nerdy stuff could be found. As he set off trying to find things for me, he started sneaking out little quotes from Star Wars and and then telling me how the Force is strong with him when he managed to find the Soundtrack section of the store. In an attempt to basically say "Yeah, I get it. The Force. Uh-uh," I made the mistake of telling him that I work for Lucasfilm.

What followed next included:
- a long description of how, as an organic lifeform on an M-Class planet, it's physically impossible for me to not be connected to the Force and therefore the Force is strong with me
- a run-down of multiple different games developed by Gary Gygax
- a complete (and insanely lengthy) personal guided tour of everything new that can be found within Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition rules

I learned that some of the changes that were made for the 3rd Edition rules made things a "total pain in the neckazoid." I also learned that the new way the 4th Edition rules handle things like crafting magical items, multiclassing, and combat with very large creatures would "blow my socks off" and as such I'd "better make sure that my socks are well and truly glued on to my feet."

He talked to me for so long and about so much concentrated geekery that I don't know if I can go back to Borders any time soon without him starting up the conversation with me again. This didn't strike me as a guy who forgets things easily. He speaks Klingon (which he did while I was there) and lamented the lack of fully realized languages for both Romulan and Vulcan. Luckily I bit my tongue and didn't talk to him about Mandalorian.

I've been interested in going to Comic-Con in San Diego for a little while, but as of last night, I kinda' feel like I was already there. I'm not really feeling the need to go anymore.


David Friedland said...

Thank you for that! It was hilarious and made my morning. I know exactly how you feel.

KBULL said...

It's not because you work for Lucas Arts. I've gotten that guy as "help" at Borders and I seriously was trying to run away from him. Shaun and I got the same speal-Crazy!

Anonymous said...

Hey, that computer programmer beard is comin in pretty nicely, if I can say so myself!

I've got the more advanced "computer programming cow lick" that comes from wearing headphones while working.

Very hot.

Bug said...

Wow ... I can't tell if it's good or bad to hear that Mr. Help Desk does this to everyone at Borders.

And the headphone cowlick is very slick. Audio engineers get it too. Very classy look.