Dork Like Me

I only started reading about Nature v. Nurture after I’d placed Cricket for adoption, and occasionally it leaves me distressed. I will burst into whatever room Mr. Book is reading in, or reading the news in, or trying to take a nap in, and worry aloud that Cricket will be a tiny Book in the Victrola house, and that he won’t have things that we love. These aren’t big things: “If you say ‘unstable molecules,’ his parents won’t know what you’re talking about!” I say to Mr. Book.  “They don’t know who J’onn J’onzz is!” My husband rightly points out that (a) these things aren’t individually that important, and (b) maybe he won’t grow up to be a geek.

Myself, I’m a huge geek; it doesn’t come across on the blog that often, I think, but I have racks of videogames and stacks of graphic novels and I’m hoping to go to PAX this year. I think Red vs. Blue is funny. I have Star Wars novels (just four!). When I was pregnant with Cricket, I bought a fantastic Spider-Man onesie, and thought about giving it to him—but then Ruth told me that there’s a ban on trademarked characters. Several months later, they sent us a picture of him sleeping in a Superman onesie, and I was actually angry; I wanted to give a bit of my geek to him, but they banned it, so I gave a tasteful onesie with a lamb on it (which they apparently hated)—and then it turns out that it was only off-limits to me. I know that wasn’t a rational anger—who knows what they would have said if I’d asked specifically about Peter Parker—but even writing about it now, I feel mad all over again. This is a place where I feel the loss very tangibly.

When I was pregnant and separated from the Mister, we talked on the phone every day. Some nights, he would read aloud to me from a set of choose-your-own-adventure-type books that we both love; books in which you are a vampire hunter or trapped in a haunted house or trying to save a forest full of elves from a necromancer. They’re a combination of pulp fantasy and surprisingly difficult puzzles, they’re out of print, and no one has ever heard of them (Fighting Fantasy, if anyone out there in blogland wants to prove me wrong). My husband loved them as a boy, and they’re one of his earliest dorky experiences (he’s not nearly as geeky as I am, although I keep working on him ;))—and they’re one of gazillions of nerd things that I want to share with our kids. And Cricket isn’t our kid, and isn’t going to be bathed in the kind of geek atmosphere that we live in, and I know it’s dumb to be sad about that in particular, but.

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