Tuesday, February 22, 2011

D is for Dork

Some kids are born cool.

And then, there's me.

To be fair, I never really had a chance. My dad belonged to a science fiction book club. Every month, a new and delightful assortment of sci fi and fantasy novels would show up on our bookshelves. Oddly, though my parents were otherwise fairly strict, they never censored my reading (they tried once -- when Stephen King's It came out and they realized the villian was an evil clown ... and I was already afraid of clowns ... they suggested that perhaps I should wait until I was a little older. I ignored them and then had nightmares for about three weeks. Oops). I loved reading -- LOVED reading -- and I loved those books. Anne McCaffery, Robert Lynn Asprin, Orson Scott Card, Alan Dean Foster -- I read and reread them until the bindings were weak and the pages were beginning to come out (and on one memorable "Oh my Lord my father is going to KILL me" moment, dropped one  -- a hardcover -- in the bathtub. I don't think he ever found out though. Well, now he will, I guess. Hi Dad! Sorry about the slight water damage ...)

My dad also really loves cheesy, horrible, ridiculously bad science fiction tv. And some really good tv. For example, he loved Dr Who (which for years I couldn't watch because of an episode I saw when I was about six. To this day, I can't tell you what it was about except to say that it was TERRIFYING and I spent most of the episode hiding behind the coffee table because it was like a car wreck -- I didn't want to be there but I couldn't look away).

My mother, on the other hand, thinks Dr Who is stupid, and would not deign to read a science fiction novel because she's "not interested". Having said that? She LOVES Star Trek. Loves it. A LOT. Also? The Highlander.

Somewhere between the Star Trek and the Star Wars and the Dr Who and the dragons of Pern and the Spellsinger series -- the character of one dorky daughter (that would be me) was fully formed... and honestly, due to the total lack of discrimination in my science fiction diet, it turns out that I'm not a highfalutin' dork either. I'm a dork who relishes the cheesy and awful with the same glee that I savor the excellent. (None of which I will mention here, lest I start some sort of war of what's good and what isn't -- and no one has stronger opinions about these things than Science Fiction dorks -- God help us, but we're a loyal and fiercely dedicated bunch -- but I will say that there's not a lot that I have not enjoyed to some degree).

As I get older, though, I realize -- EVERYONE is a bit of a dork. (I would also submit that I don't know anyone who thinks that she -- or he -- is the coolest.) We all have that thing -- something, whatever it is. Maybe it's music. Maybe it's sports. Maybe it's wine or film or books or whatever -- whatever it is, it's something you're passionate about, that you could talk about for hours. You're a Dork for that subject. You might care more about RBI's than, say, dragons, but that's cool. There's room for both of us at this party.
We're all just an Army of Dorkness,* doing our thing.

And that, my friends, is pretty damn cool.

*Shout out to the Army of Dorkness! You know who you are!


  1. We're FANS -- nothing wrong with that! :-) I'm a fan/dork about Star Wars, ice hockey, blues music, and dogs. Also certain authors, like Ellen Gilchrist, Annie Dillard, Stewart O'Nan -- you know, those authors you fall in love with after one book and you end up reading everything they've written.

    I only discovered Orson Scott Card's Ender series sometime in the last decade. Loved them, especially the pairing of "Ender's Game" and "Ender's Shadow".

    Anyway, I think you and your parents all sound VERY cool. :-)

  2. Is there need here to create a Sci-Fi Dorks Anonymous? :-) I think I have read over 90% of the available Star Trek books, 1st Series, TNG, DS9, etc., and keep track of all new books. My Kindle has nothing but Star Trek stored! I didn't know your mother was a Trekkie (now I know another reason why I liked her!), nor did I know your father was into sci-fi. There's more of us out there than people think! I am enjoying my state of Dorkness in my retirement. Thanks for the entertaining blog. :-) Mr. G