“If you never have you should.
These things are fun and fun is good.”
— Dr. Suess
Let’s be honest. I’ve always been a nerd. I grew up reading fantasy and sci-fi books. I know the difference between a Sith Lord and a Jedi Master. I know that Wolverine’s claws go SNIKT and Spiderman’s webs go THWIP. I’m skinny, wear glasses and have a bit of asthma.
All that said, however, I’ve always prided myself in not being a super nerd. For example, I can’t give you the name of a Star Wars character for every letter of the alphabet like my friend Shane can. I’ve never been to LAN party, or hosted them like my friend Norm has (in fact I still don’t really know what it is but think it has something to do with online role-playing games). And I never heard of War Machine until I saw Iron Man 2 (sorry Matt).
No, I never considered myself a super nerd, and would happily mock those who were. Sadly that all changed this past Fall when I allowed my nerdtastic cousins convince me to play Dungeons and Dragons with them. It began innocently enough. In the spirit of trying new things and fully expecting it to provide me with more ammo to mock them, I agreed to not only play but to host the weekly sessions as well.
My first task was to create my character. I assumed it would be simple matter of telling them “I want to be an elf! I want a sword!” but quickly became completely lost in the complexities of setting up a character. Wangh! Should I have higher dexterity or charisma? What the hell does 1d6 + 4 mean? Why am I doing math? What’s a modifier and why I can’t I wear dragon scale armour?
I didn’t understand any of it. Luckily at the time I was living with my D&D-experienced cousin, Kelly, who helped me fill out my sheets.
And that’s how Chilly Gonzales, my half-elf warlord, was born. I even gave him the back story that he was switched at birth and raised by a family of Minotaurs. As such, he grew up believing he was a Minotaur and developed an identity crisis.
Our group was comprised of my cousins Luke, Mark, Shawn, Liam, Kelly and I. Luke controlled the bad guys – the “Dungeon Master” to be specific. The first couple weeks I just did what people told me and had no idea what was going on. We played in the front room of our house in Toronto and I was sure to close the curtains. “To set the mood better” I told the others. To prevent my neighbours from knowing I was spending my Thursday night pretending I was a half-elf was the real reason.
Our games were rarely this intense…
The first night was one of skepticism. Of shame. Of stigma. Of self-loathing. Of the near certainty that my willingness to participate meant I would never again know the embrace of a woman. But all that evaporated in an instant the moment I slew my first goblin. I defy anyone to not feel the heady sense of pride at such a noble accomplishment.
Unlike Chilly Gonzales who refused to embrace his true identity as a half-elf, and not a Minotaur, I have embraced my identity as a super nerd. Many weeks later, we were successful in our campaign and had closed the rift the inter-dimensional demon god was using to enter our world. You’re welcome.
I haven’t played D&D since and would love to tell you that I never will again. But who knows. If the stars align and a dragon needs a good killin’, Chilly Gonzales may rise again. Sigh. I’m never going to get a girlfriend am I?
Become a super nerd. Check.
Duane Elgin, author of “Voluntary Simplicity”, talked about the “invisible wealth of experiential riches.” My “I’ve Never Club” is inspired by this idea and chronicles my reflections on the novel things I’ve done recently.
Funny stories. Good advice. Josh Martin is author of the book “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” Click here to purchase a copy.