Thursday, December 28, 2006

Resisting the temptations of adulthood

I've sort of fallen into this "every other day blogging" pattern since I've been on vacation. Part of it is because I'm just relaxing, and part of it is that since this is really a "do-nothing" vacation, there's not much going that makes for good blog material.

Interesting story from yesterday, though. Since I only had plans to meet up with friends for dinner, I spent most of the day wandering around the old mall near my dad's place. Back in the day it was a good combination of stuff to do plus warmer climates in the winter. Not everything was in the mall either, but there were some strip malls nearby that had stores I used to go to regularly. The classic example of this is Shinders.

Shinders is a store devoted to the nerdboy-and-geek set. They are essentially a hobby store, but focused more on role-playing games*, comics, magazines, baseball/football trading cards, and sci-fi books than model trains and coin collecting. Basically, it was where I spent all my saved up money every time I went down to my dad's, buying D&D stuff and football cards. It was also home to a small area in the back that was closed off with a small door that said "adults only". Presumably this was where they kept all the nudie mags and videos of weird japanese cartoon porn.

So as I was driving around the mall yesterday, I saw that it was still open, and thought I'd stop in just to see what, if anything had changed. Plus, I needed a little display cube for my autographed Dusty Baker baseball**. Walking in, at first I headed over to the football card section. This was always a fun activity for me as a kid, not because I frequently *bought* the cards, but because it let me see what the going rate was for cards in my collection. You know, for when I decided to sell it off and use the proceeds to pay for college or my first Porsche. Needless to say, something is horrible wrong with the market these days. The fact that there were multiple cards featuring Tory "Hands of Stone" Williamson that were valued more than Steve Largent's rookie card has pretty much convinced me that I should have unloaded my collection in the early '80s.

Filled with disappointment I meandered over to the D&D section, only to discover that they have completely re-vamped the game again with a completely new edition, only with a lot more rules - and therefore a lot more rulebooks to buy. All the stuff we used to just make up as we went along now have rulebooks. Frankly, I blame the lawyers. Back in the day, if one of your fellow players did something you thought wasn't fair, you could argue your case to the Dungeon Master*** but if he didn't agree with you, you were screwed. And you kept on playing, regardless of what happened. Sure it wasn't fair but you made do. Now, all the kids have learned that the more rules are written down, the easier it is to make your case. No doubt players these days have legal libraries of case books filled with rule precidents like "Billy Mayhew a.k.a. Togron the Half-Elf Ranger vs. Dungeon Master Rick Smith concerning whether a mirror can reflect a gorgon's gaze from 50 meters on a foggy night". No wonder kids don't have any imagination anymore.

Filled with even more disappointment, I found my display cube**** and headed over to check out. The dude at the register was not unlike myself in an alternate universe. Pasty and scrawny from too many hours spent in a basement, he gave me the once-over and said "Hey, I saw you checking out the D&D stuff earlier, do you play? 'Cuz I've got some cool giveaway posters of [didn't quite understand what he actually said] that you could have if you want!" I politely declined, but it was nice to feel recognized and affirmed as still (basically) the 13-year old nerdboy I am inside.

For the record, as I left the store I concidered whether or not to actually enter the "adults only" section. After all I've always wondered what was in there, and I'm well over the age of adulthood. But somethign held me back. Whether it was the deep feeling of "you're not supposed to go in there" that was instilled deep in my subconcious mind or the three other guys in there who sort of looked shifty and were probably searching for lord-knows-what -- I just didn't feel comfortable facing the reality of what was behind the door.

So I left. I think I just prefer the mystery of not knowing.

* Think Dungeons & Dragons
** Sure, it's lost some of its appeal now that he's been canned, but hey.
*** The guy who sort of ran the game for that particular session - typically the guy who owned the most books. He decides what happens to you and your fellow players, and is essentially a "higher power" for the day.
**** On sale too, only $2!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ewww, I'm sure the "Adults only" section was full of titty manga. Grody.

KC said...

There's nothing wrong with being a nerd-boy, but it sure can get expensive! The Boy went through a Yugio card phase, a something-I-can't-remember-but-it-had-to-do-with-Japanese-anime card phase, a baseball card phase, etc. I'm so glad those days are over! His original Star Wars phase was really short and sweet. Thank the gods!

trivtriv said...

I once journeyed into the adults-only section of my comic-book story, and it was awesome. For a mere $10, I am now the proud owner of the issue of Penthouse from the month I was born (lots of soft-focus female pubic hair).

After all, Elmo seems equally disinterested in both...

I have a hard time believing that Elmo was traumatized by Katy Perry's decollatage after discovering that he had already "been arou...