The Evolution of the Nerd, Chapter I

To be fair, I’ve only been a blogger for over a week now, and I’m still trying to figure out how I want to be doing this. I originally wanted to be light-hearted and goofy, but at the same time it’s a lousy story if you don’t know who your character is. On top of that, this so far has been me tracking what’s going on in my life, and the fact that I’m unemployed gives me all the time in the world to babble on and fill up space in this blog. So, as I’m goofing around tonight and making another blog, I think I’d talk about something that’s a little more about my “hobbies” and why I chose the handle “ambitiousfitnessnerd” a little more.

beginning

In my youth, I never fit in with most kids. I wasn’t always huge, but I was never a small kid. I did some extra-curricular activities, (soccer, boy scouts, so on) but never really made more than three friends at any given point. I liked cartoons and stuff, but nothing out of the ordinary that would set a boy aside into a specific stereotype.

Enter 7th grade, my first experience with role-playing games.

For any of you who don’t know, I’ll be quick and say that a standard “table top” role-playing game (RPG for short) is a game where you assume the role of a character that exists in another world, usually fantasy like “The Lord of the Rings”. It’s Dungeons and Dragons essentially, and in the normal case you have papers that keep track of your characters notes, use dice to determine random outcomes, and otherwise improvise your actions while the Dungeon Master describes what goes on around you.

Now, I’d just moved to Maine to live with my father (divorced parents, moved to other sides of the US, story for another day) and I didn’t know a soul at this school. Thankfully I’d made a pair of friends after the first two weeks, and it turns out they were into RPG’s, but in a super casual sense. They didn’t use dice, rule books or anything official; they just made shit up off of the top of their heads and said out loud what they wanted to do. Well, they got me to try with them while we waited between classes for something to do and while we ate lunch. Now, I’d played the real D&D before (1st edition), but I was around 8 and didn’t remember what the deal was. I was a huge fan of Greek mythology though, so I said the first thing that came to mind.

“Can I be a centaur wizard?”

I fully expected them to say no, that it was stupid and to pick something else, but they just rolled with it. Next thing I know “I’m” standing in a bog facing down a swarm of green beetles that reek of poison. The two of them turned to me and waited for me to do something. Put on the spot and not wanting to disappoint these potential friends, I shrugged and guessed what a half-horse wizard would do in this situation.

“I….cast a fireball at them? Can I do that?”

Oh, I could do that all right. My new friend, the DM, described how a burst of fire shot from my hands and exploded with the force of a missile, burning the nasty bugs and making them evaporate in a nasty green dust. The swamp was singed from my attack, and my barbarian ally had to wipe the soot off of his eyebrows. I stood there in awe, listening to the teenager describe the scene of carnage as we walked to where the buses were going to take us home.

It was strange and new, violent and satisfying.

That was my first moment as a true nerd. Hook, line, and sinker.

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