Monday, May 14, 2007

The Importance Of Being "Out"

A lot of gamers with whom I talk online are guarded, in their daily lives, about their hobby. "I never bring it up," they say. "I don't read my books in public."

I can sort of understand why they do that, but I do things a litt- okay, very differently.

Take today, for instance.

My company is training a bunch of new people for my department. I have already introduced myself to a few of them; today, I saw one of these guys, Alan, talking to a trainee whom I don't know.
Normal-looking dude, khaki dockers, close-cropped hair, glasses. just a normal dude, y'know? Oh, and he had a big ankh around his neck.

Now, that in itself means little. Maybe his family is Egyptian. Maybe he likes it. Maybe he's just flash. Maybe he's just weird.

So I say to Alan, "Hey, Alan, who's this guy?"

New Guy holds out his hand. "I'm Anthony," he says. I shake his hand and introduce myself.

"Now, Anthony," I say to him, "The ankh around your neck prompts me to wonder if you're one'a them dirty Vampire players." I'm not kidding; that's exactly what I said. (Well, maybe I didn't say 'prompt', but certainly I said 'dirty Vampire players'.) I said it freely and openly, as if I expected him to know what I meant. Like if I said "Cubs fan" or "Golf guy".

Anthony laughs and says, "No, I'm not a Vampire player. But I have friends who are."

"Good," I reply, "'Cause if you were I'd hafta stake ya." I'm thinking, Well, I could be weirding this guy out, but let's see. "That'd be rude, and there'd be a lot of this," I added, making rock-paper-scissors motions with my hands.

And Anthony kinda laughs and says, "I'm a hard-core D&D fan."

We-he-hell! Whadday know? "No kiddin'?"

"Nope," he replies.

"Don't go pullin' my leg, here," I say.


Turns out Anthony is a big AD&D 2nd Edition fan, used to play Marvel Super Heroes until he memorized the chart, and got kicked out of high school once because he'd cut class to go to the library to play D&D with his buds. We talked for a few minutes on our way back to real actual work-related stuff, I gave him a tip on the FLGS, and on who in the office is a big gamer nerd (The other one is Derrick, aka Leaky Pete). Aces.

So. What came of my boldness, my openness, my sheer refusal to talk about gaming like it's some kinda goofy secret?

  • I made a new friend.
  • A newly-arrived gamer has a hookup in the local scene.
  • Said newbie also has a new contact in the office.
  • I have a cool story to post on my blog.
I dunno if what it takes is confidence or stupidity, but...dude, try it sometime. You are what you is and you is what you am, and you're not the only one out there knows what a d20 is.