It was my father who dubbed us Geeks. He was a librarian by trade and I can never remember a time when the house was not full of books. The first 'chapterbook' that I can remember reading was 'Jacob Two-Two and the Hooded Fang' in grade one and while I'm certain that my father would have loved me to continue in that vein, I didn't regain a taste for Richler again until well into adulthood. Instead it was my mother who got me into fantasy and sci-fi, giving me her well thumbed copy of 'The Hobbit', picking up bag-fulls of yellowed Assimov and Clarke paperbacks at garage sales and indulging my love of comics by bringing me home anything she thought looked interesting. (This being from a time when comics were still quite cheep and easily found the card-store where she worked part-time.
Still, my father was happy to see me reading, even if it usually had a dragon on the cover or the word 'sword' in the title. He also did his part, by introducing me to Monty Python and bri-coms on PBS and TVO. He also took me to movies and the drive-in to see the 'Star Wars' movies, 'Indiana Jones' and on one memorable occasion, carting a bewildered fourth-grader along to see Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil'.
Somewhere along the line, my mother bought me the 'Red Box' D&D set, and while I didn't have any friends at the time who were interested in playing, I read the whole thing cover to cover a dozen times and had a duotang full of rolled up characters ready to go.
It wasn't until high school that I found some like-minded kids who enjoyed playing D&D and with the help of second-hand copies of Dragon Magazine, we soon branched out into the Talisman board-game, RIFTS, and the Star Wars RPG. Every Sunday night, my parent's basement would turn into an alien space-port, a mysterious dungeon or a magical kingdom and I loved every minute of it. Players came and went, but years went by and we boiled down to a core of about four or five players. We moved out, went to college and university, got jobs, girlfriends, wives and kids ... but whenever I spoke to my father, he would always ask, 'The Geeks still come over?"
A few years ago I moved halfway across the country, leaving the Geeks behind. Most of the RPG books got packed away or sold off and real life took over for a while. But that old copy of 'The Hobbit' and my 'Red Box' still sit proudly on my bookself and not too long ago, I found myself flipping through the old pages and wondering where my old dice-bag was. I'm also pretty sure there is an old duotang around somewhere...