Coming out … of the basement


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Cameron Leehey enjoys playing Magic: the Gathering, a collectable card game frequently looked at as a game for geeks. Despite the connotation, many players are proud to say they play the intellectually engaging game.

Cameron Leehey

There’s a strange attitude in America that causes members of a certain group to deny their identities, fearing social rejection. I have personally witnessed members of this group go to great lengths in order to conceal themselves. They might tell parents they’ve been spending Fridays at the bars, convince a roommate they were looking at porn online all night or even pretend not to know a member of their own community at a public encounter. All lies. As time progresses, people begin to wonder why these secretive individuals haven’t become romantically involved. Concerned friends speculate about where these individuals slink off to for hours at a time. Sooner or later, the secret becomes the stigma.

That’s part of why I am writing this article, to out myself in front of peers and professors: I am a geek. A massive geek. I maintain a growing comic book collection. I contend that Picard was the superior officer. I started playing “Magic: The Gathering” in 1996. I have a detailed plan for survival in the event of a zombie apocalypse. And if I ever meet George Lucas, Mesa shove a Jar Jar Binks doll sideways up his rectal cavity.

I’m not surprising anyone who knows me with this declaration because I’ve never concealed my geekdom. It is cringe-inducingly obvious to me, however, when I see someone else trying to conceal theirs. Pretending to not understand “Family Guy” references to Boba Fett, talking in hushed tones about gaming while at Perkins, suppressing your rage when you hear people rave about “Spider-Man 3” — don’t think it goes unnoticed. We can sense our own kind.

Let me spare you, my basement-dwelling brothers: The world is welcoming, come out into it freely. Perhaps you do not notice the abundance of other geeks because you are so busy trying to hide. Perhaps you never realized that among the highest-grossing films each year are several featuring costumed protagonists. Perhaps you think you won’t get laid if people know you paint miniatures.

Of the five most prolific lotharios I’ve ever known, three are geeks living in the open. Hell, one of ’em enjoyed wearing Dragon Ball Z boxers and shagging to Harry Potter. None of them ever hid their interests from women. And why would you? Chicks are geeks, too. And if they aren’t, then you’re armed with tons of jokes they’ve never heard from movies they’ve never seen. You know women always say they want someone who makes them laugh.

But I’m not here to get you a date. I just want you to admit that you’re a geek. Yeah, bro, you are. Maybe you haven’t recognized half of the name-drops in this article, but I’m willing to bet you possess enough enthusiasm about a certain subject to be embarrassed by it. It could be battles of the Civil War, it could be copious volumes of sports stats, but it’s something.

Being a geek takes passion, and as any director of adult films will tell you, there’s nothing wrong with passion. And as any meth addict will tell you, having a pal who shares your hobby makes it all the more enjoyable. The Joker once publically provoked Batman, saying, “I’ve taken off my makeup.” I submit the same provocation to you.