I don’t really think I can say I was a geek my whole life. I wasn’t exposed to superheroes or comic books until high school. Except for the Baby Muppets comic from age five or six. I played with My Little Ponies but also LEGO bricks, Transformers, and my cousin’s GI Joes. I liked to read a lot from a very young age. Sure I loved fairy tales and the Neverending Story, but what little girl didn’t? Nothing really made me a child geek.
But. I do remember when the definitive geek moment came. My first glorious brush with science fiction, and it wasn’t with Star Wars. It was 6th grade (I demarcate my younger years with school, not with age). My dad left the TV tuned into Fox and went to bed. He usually stayed up to watch The Next Generation, but not tonight. I didn’t have any interest in watching, but the remote wasn’t within reach. Eh, why not? Let’s see what this show is about. The episode airing was The Game. Riker becomes uh, involved with a hot alien (even as a newbie to the show I could tell that wasn’t shocking anyone), and she brings a new game to the ship. Despite access to unending entertainment via the holodeck, the USS Enterprise crew welcomes the distraction. And guess what? It’s addictive <i>and</i> controls minds. The crew of the Enterprise was slowly being convinced to give up control of the ship to the creators of the game, the Ktarians.
Fortunately, Wesley Crusher happens to be on vacation from Starfleet Academy. Him and his new girlfriend are the only ones not playing the game. They figure out what’s up, and tell Data before they are forced to submit to the game. Wesley Crusher saved the day. And you know what? Wesley Crusher is hot. I liked the story too, but for that hour. Well. I was mostly obsessing over Wesley.
That started the downhill slope. It all began with The Next Generation. I remember the weekend spent watching the “Best Of” marathons before the last episode aired. I skipped a slumber party and was called a loser. It was only the beginning of such statements as I read fantasy books throughout high school, learned about D&D, watched Star Wars, and started attending ren faires. And now? Being a geek is a huge part of who I am.
To think it all started with an accidental viewing of Star Trek. If it would have been a non-Wesley Crusher episode on television that night, I’m confident I still would have started down the path of nerd, but I still owe Wil Wheaton a nod of thanks.