Confession: I am married to a geek. I am probably biased because I am surrounded day in and day out by awesome people who would have been labeled as geeks and dorks, including the three men in my house, my coworkers, and our family friends, but I really do believe that geeks make the best husbands.
LOVED LOVES D&D (Dungeons & Dragons). In fact, introverted as he is, it is amazing to listen to him as DM (Dungeon Master. Not as sexy as the name implies. He’s basically the emcee, the host, the referee of the game. I also see a DM as playing the role of a storyteller whose imagination sets the stage for the characters to come to life on). You could see the actions unfold in front of your mind’s eye as he describes the characters, scenes, dialogues and actions filled with imaginative details that greatly help bring the characters to life.
In my job function, in addition to engineers and programmers, I also work with people on the business side. Not surprisingly, I am often made fun of by those colleagues (all male) for having married to such a nerd and for all the dorky things we do as a family, such as going to Ren Faire (Renaissance Faire), dressed up to go to Ren Faire, having a closetful of costumes, dressed up to go to Medieval Times (or just, simply going to Medieval Times and genuinely having a great time), (still) dressed up for Halloween, obsessing over Doctor Who, and other geekery in general. It does cross my mind that to these coworkers of mine, we are very UN-American, and I cannot help but wonder what they do with their families on the weekend. Watching football? And… watching football?
Of course when Fantasy Football season comes around, it’s all I could do to not snicker and bite my tongue at the frenzy of these men engaging in D&D like behaviors.
If you ever pick up one of the D&D rule books and handbooks, you will notice the big words used. As a parent, I am delighted that my children are learning and using these words. Furthermore, they are also learning composition when they describe their characters’ appearances and actions, often with complete dialogues. As they decide the next step taken by their characters, they are forced to consider the relationship between actions and consequences, something children are not inclined to doing by nature. In addition, they are encouraged to play their characters based on who their characters are, i.e. their characters act and speak according to who they are, and I believe, this is great training for empathizing and learning how to predict how someone who is not you may behave under certain circumstances. Because the play is free form (albeit within a set of parameters and confines), you could use all the imagination and creativity you could conjure up, especially when you are cornered by some monster and you really need to be clever to get yourself out of the bind.
Some have argued, perhaps jokingly, perhaps “kidding on the square”, that D&D is the gateway drug to all things nerdy. I am FINE with nerdy. I adore nerdy. In fact, I am in awe of nerdy.
Geeks like algorithms. We like sets of rules that guide future behavior. But people, normal people, consistently act outside rule sets. People are messy and unpredictable, until you have something like the Dungeons & Dragons character sheet. Once you’ve broken down the elements of an invented personality into numbers generated from dice, paper and pencil, you can do the same for your real self.
For us, the character sheet and the rules for adventuring in an imaginary world became a manual for how people are put together. Life could be lived as a kind of vast, always-on role-playing campaign.
Don’t give me that look. I know I’m not a paladin, and I know I don’t live in the Matrix. But the realization that everyone else was engaged in role-playing all the time gave my universe rules and order.
Adam Rogers, “Geek Love“, New York Times, 9 March 2008.
The best thing about D&D? I have been sitting here listening to the non-stop conversations and laughter from the other room for over an hour and they have not shown any sign of slowing down.
More than that, I am going shopping this afternoon and I don’t think any one of them will be missing or needing me.
WIN. (US Economy)