Home > only slightly ranty, Random Musings, Stories from Childhood > Confessions of a Geek (There’s Nothing ‘Former’ About It)

Confessions of a Geek (There’s Nothing ‘Former’ About It)


Roughly from the ages of 7-10, I collected X-Men trading cards. Before that, I was the only girl in the whole of school was a Batman lunchbox. I was more inclined to beg to buy a comic book (and a heap of purple Swedish fish, back when they still existed – along with Nutty Buddies, which are better than Drumsticks, damn it) than I was to ask for a pony. (Never mind that I already HAD a pony.)

That was the very beginnings of my Geekdom. I was also heavily into musicals, running around at recess playing Phantom of the Opera on a boombox. (No, it was not operated by a dinosaur. And no, it was not a Victrola. Damn you, if you do not know what a Victrola is. A plague on both your houses.) I preferred books to most things. I knew the librarian by name, and she knew me by first name. (Imagine her surprise when I requested A Tale of Two Cities. Side-note: bad idea in middle school.)

But the trading cards were a huge deal at the school was attending. I was a displaced Yankee, although I did not know that at the time (Yankee? I was most certainly not a baseball player.). My core group of friends and I sat around, discussing the merits of all the characters. We all watched the cartoon. If it had existed at the time, I’m sure there would’ve been fanfiction.

At some point, I ventured to create my own X-Men character. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, I’m laughing as I write that. It was ridiculously earnest and wholeheartedly silly. Her name was Ultra. I’m fairly certainly that I just “borrowed” all of the cool powers from a handful of X-Men (Jean Grey’s telekinesis, Rogue’s flight, Jubilee’s…fireworks? What the hell was her power?). I gave her a backstory and everything.

One of my friends thought this was the COOLEST thing EVER. She encouraged me (read: demanded) that I tell our other friends about my character. Sheepishly, I did. Miraculously, no one threw tomatoes at my head. No one called me a Super Dork (or, you know, something vaguely insulting). In fact, they thought I was awesome. Large cheer!

Shortly after, I moved back to my home state. It was a glorious decision, because as much as I loved Sweet Tea, I missed my home. I returned to the school system I had started in. It was more difficult to readjust than I thought it would be. All my old friends had moved on, grown up as much as one can at that age, and I was still unapologetically…me.

I collected X-Men cards! I had created my own X-Man! Turns out, that kind of coolness is contextual. Like Farmer Ted, I was King of the Dipshits. But that only works as long as there were Geeks around. (I’m tired. I realize that comparing myself to Farmer Ted from Sixteen Candles is both silly and unwise. Shush.)

I stopped collecting the cards. It wasn’t as much fun without people to share the geekiness with, without an echo back in the darkness. I found the cards, today, in a tin that I have moved about 7,000 times time then. (Hyperbolic? ME?! Pshaw.) I saved the cards all these years. YEARS. They weren’t lost in any of the moves. I did not sell them on ebay. I did not simply throw them out. I kept them. Why?

At heart, I’m still the girl who loves X-Men. (Thank you, Hugh Jackman, for making them cool again.) I’m still the girl who quotes from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Princess Bride whenever I can manage it. I reference everything from Stars Wars to Dorothy Parker – and nothing makes me happier than having someone enjoy the joke or reference.

This is one reason I adore Twitter and the Internet. Because if I shout: No one more rhyming – this time I mean it! I KNOW someone is going to respond: Anybody want a peanut?

This benefits me as a person – and a writer. As someone who is constantly looking for, finding, weighing, and sometimes losing words…it’s really nice to not be the only geek in the crowd. To say “Damn it, Janet!” and know that it’s not going to get lost in the fray. To know that if I’ve forgotten to eat, because I got caught up writing, someone is going to get it.

The more I talk with authors, the more I love you all. It’s like finding a really eclectic village, where everyone’s quirky and looking for a good recipe. (I’ve noticed a correlation between writers and food. Alcohol, too, but…DUH.) What did we do before Twitter? (What? Myspace? *creaking hinges* Riiigt. I remember that place.)

My weekend has been comprised of a flurry of writing (so many words. Brain sufficiently smashed on the proverbial thought-rocks), cooking, sunbathing, housework, and cleaning. The last bit was how I found the X-Men cards. I’m still that kid who likes to collect odd things (old books). I’m still that girl singing Phantom of the Opera songs – and Into the Woods, Scarlet Pimpernel, and Les Miserables. The latter, I’m afraid, I will never pronounce correctly. Le Miz is so much easier to manage. Now, instead of collecting cards, I watch The Big Bang Theory. I harbor annoyance that Firefly was canceled. (Yes, still.) And even though I know it will not end well, I STILL try and master any Rubik cube that I find. Stupid, color-code block of Satan! *shakes fist*

Yes, I’m a geek. I’m okay with that. How about you?

  1. Josh A. Kruschke
    July 11, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Jubilee could bend and manipulate light.

    To this day I will not match any show on Fox television, because they canceled Firefly and moved Fast Lane into it’s time slot; an unoriginal crap fest of a show. Pox on them I say.

    Yes, I can hold a grudge….f’n bastards!!! (That last statement reads better if you visualize me shaking my fist at the heavens while reading it.)


    P.S. F’n bastard! Why!!!!!

    • Ali
      July 12, 2011 at 8:09 am

      Thank you for the Jubilee clarification! I knew it was finger-fireworks, but that’s what it always looked like. I do still watch Fox shows (House, Bones etc), but I’m highly annoyed at their high cancellation rate. It is uncool. *shakes fist*

  2. Josh A. Kruschke
    July 11, 2011 at 9:33 am


    P.S. F’n bastard ‘s’ ! Why!!!!!

    I really do need an iditor!

    Left out an s sorry!


  3. July 11, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I love Firefly, I harbor a desire to have one of Inara’s dresses. What’s really neat is my daughter loves X-Men, and I’m not talking about just the movies, she not only love X-Men Evolution, but the old school show with seriously warped sense of anatomy. She also loves Spider-Man from that era too.

    I love Star Wars as well and it’s been really cool to see the 1980’s boxes of trading cards for that. (I’ve been helping my grandfather clean out his garage and he has a ton of trading cards, one shelf has 1970-80’s cards).

    Also I know how it is to be so into something you are doing that you forget to eat, I’ve done that too.

    • Ali
      July 12, 2011 at 8:11 am

      I adore your daughter. Inara’s dresses were beautiful. LOL about the warped sense of anatomy. It definitely did. Also, yay for not being alone in the too-focused-to-eat department. *grin* Thanks for reading, Jess! It means a lot that you do. 🙂

  4. Jessica
    July 11, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Count me among the host of Firefly fans still bitter about its cancellation.

    “Don’t you think you should move on?” “I LIKE it…”
    (Shows what a geek I am… I’m at work, and have no sound on my computer… THAT’S OKAY, dialogue memorized.)

    While I sadly did not have a collection of X-Men cards in my youth, I cannot judge you, as I have a rather impressive collection of Pokemon cards. It used to be worth a lot of money, (read: a few hundred bucks, which was impressive to my 12 year old self) but I doubt they’d fetch more than 10 bucks for the whole collection on eBay.

    I also have a few decks of the Lord of the Rings trading cards, which was a pretty wasted investment considering that, to this day, I have only ever met one other person with enough cards to play. On that note, I also have a nearly complete set of the Lord of the Rings action figures. Out of the box, because I loved actually playing with them – it never entered my mind to keep them “mint condish” as collectibles.

    I think that you’re right about geekiness being really dependent on where you are. I went to a “Gifted and Talented” (Read: Geek Haven) summer camp for many years, and around there, it was cool as anything that I brought my Pokemon cards and could draw a bangin’ Pikachu. I even got my fourth grade class hooked on marbles, because I thought they were cool, and needed people to play with. I walked around with a blue suede bag full to the brim with a very pretty marble collection every day. But when I got to middle school, I was immediately outcasted for such tendencies in a world where everyone loved basketball and rap music, and parties were for dancing and making out.

    To this day, I own an N64, which is one of those things that, when I brought it to my high school’s senior lounge for us to play, got everyone more excited than the brand new PlayStation someone had brought in. I love Disney movies, but I work for the company so I’m usually around a lot of people who do also. I play video games, love Star Wars, and can quote Princess Bride and Monty Python and the Holy Grail verbatim. I love musicals, and X-Men, and I am beyond the point where I really care what people think, because like you, more often than not, whoever I’m talking to will laugh when I tell them to have fun storming the castle.

    • Ali
      July 12, 2011 at 8:13 am

      *blinks* I’m sorry — I was totally distracted by Nathan. *grin* What about Pogs? Do you remember them? I think I still have a slammer, somewhere. It had a fairy on it! How could I part with that? *cough* Dork. *cough* I LOVED the N64, although I love my xbox 360 more. I miss Mario Kart, and I play that at friends’ houses, whenever I can. Monty Python = awesome with an accent! “It’s only a flesh wound!” to “She’s a witch!” Classic, classic stuff.

      Now, where did I put that cloak and wheel barrow…*wink*

      • Jessica
        July 12, 2011 at 10:42 am


        Nathan is very distracting, but please, try to focus. 😛 I DO remember pogs, but I never had very many. I think they got thrown out the last time I cleaned my room. I love my XBox360 too… I’m a Call of Duty fiend… bad habit. And Soul Calibur, which is just hilarious because it tries to have a plot…

        I may or may not also have my ticket to the midnight showing of the Harry Potter film tucked into my Blackberry case right now… It will never compare to Lord of the Rings for me, but as a less… I don’t know… serious? intense? challenging? read, it does just fine.

        And I love swooning over Alan Rickman, so to have him as one of my favorite characters is just icing on the cake.

      • Jessica
        July 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm

        Oh, and one last thing I forgot to add… there are two films I quote incessantly but no one ever seems to get it but myself and my sister. It’s a conspiracy… and every one of you low watts is in on it! I’m a huge fan of The Brave Little Toaster… and of Fievel Goes West.

        A spi… a spee… a SPI-DUH-DUH-DUH-DUH-DUH-DUH… AN ARACHNID!

        Plus, John Cleese did a voice for that movie, and looking back as an adult, it’s SO DAMN CREEPY… haha.

  5. Jak
    July 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    I was a pokemon fan. I also have a collection of Harry Potter Quidditch (which has Chappaquiddick, liquidity and quitclaim show up as suggested spellings) playing cards. And Magic: The Gathering cards. And about 6 decks of regular cards ’cause I have a friend where we’ll sit for hours and play card games.

    Also, Firefly was one of the best shows on the air. At least I still have Supernatural and The Big Bang Theory. Otherwise the T.V. would quickly become that funny little table to put a cup of chai tea on.

    In the end all I want to do is find more geeks like myself because we do get it when you’re up all night doing something you love that isn’t getting drunk and dancing. They can also be a good kick in the butt if you suddenly get lazy, as they’ll know enough about what you’re doing that they recognize if you’re lagging behind.

    • Ali
      July 12, 2011 at 8:14 am

      The suggested spellings just made me laugh out loud. *grin* I adore Supernatural so much. It’s a really well done show — smart, witty, compelling. It has heart. Also, I agree about the butt-kicking. That has come into play more than once.

  6. July 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I suppose I am the older geek (make that Ye Olde Crotchety Geyke), having seen the original Star Trek series when I was a prepubescent girl and falling so deeply in love with Spock that, when I read an interview with him where he quoted lines of a poem, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul,” I spent an entire summer at my local library hunting down the poem. Found it, too, intrepid sleuth that I am. Read LOTR the same summer. Still have two of the three books I spent my pennies to buy (yes, I do mean pennies).

    I’ve never thought of myself as a geek, but I’ve always known I was “different.” I tried really hard to be a frou-frou girl and spend time on makeup and hair and clothes, but all my friends looked fashionable and I looked, hmm, special-in-a-weird-way. Good thing I had a nice personality.

    Nowadays, I’m just a crone, a maven-in-training, who tries not to get too riled at anything life tosses at her. But I got this app for my Droid that allows me to take credit card payments for my books – there’s an attachment you plug in to the phone so you can run the credit card through it and it vibrates and says, “Authorizing.” I still giggle like a schoolgirl when that happens.

    • Ali
      July 12, 2011 at 8:17 am

      I have fond memories of saving pennies in order to get Scholastic books. My mom used to take me to the library, a lot, as a kid, too. I was also the kid who got excited about the school book fair. Books = awesome. Yeah, that hasn’t changed.

      And Gayle — you are NOT a crone. You are great. Plus, you love horses, which is a solid in my book. That droid app sounds SO cool. I remember you blogging (or tweeting?) about that. I would totally giggle, too, whenever I heard “Authorizing.” That’s so fun. 🙂

  7. July 11, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    I feel like this is geek-bait :-p I accept! I’ve been sucked in! It’s glorious! Good for you to confess your geekdom and to receive the blessing of your fellow geeks, haha.

  8. July 18, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    You American’s always butcher the French language. *grin*

    On a serious note, I’m pretty sure Geeks rule. Seeing as how I’m the girl who just went to the midnight showing of Harry Potter, I’m pretty sure you know where I stand on this whole topic. I never collected X-Men cards, but saving dimes to copy passages out of Brian Jacques novels, cutting them out and framing them on my bedroom wall has to count for something. Liking geektastic things seems to go hand-in-hand with both smarts and wit, in my experience, so if I have to be labeled a Geek so be it. In fact, in high school, I had a t-shirt that read “Geek” with little sequins all over it. The shirt was from Abercrombie and Fitch, but still. The message was real.

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