I was walking into my (current) home the other day, and there were two boys playing outside. By playing I mean they had a nerf gun and were trying to shoot each other, but that’s their parents’ problem.
Anyway, I walked past them when one boy said to the other, “No, you’ve got to duck. Like Leo or Neo or whatever.”
I stopped, looked dead pan at the boys, and said, “It’s Neo.”
(I swear I sounded like my evil adopt-a-grandparent.)
The boy said. “Oh yeah, thanks.”
I went inside questioning
- How I became enough of a nerd that I knew exactly what they were talking about and
- How I became so old and bitter that their pretending to be a character without knowing the character’s name really bothered me.
But then I realized I’m not crazy. They should know Neo’s name if they’re going to be looking to him for guidance on how to dodge nerf suction darts.
What would the world of geekdom be if we didn’t protect the names and honor of our heroes?
Should we allow children to paint lightning bolts on their heads and parade around as Jerry Potter? No!
Should we let people say John Picard was a good captain? Never!
Should we allow people to confuse Yoda and JarJar? Not if they want to be invited to movie night ever again!
I will never be mad at someone who is just getting to know the joys of Doctor Who for not knowing why so many actors have played the same character. And I’ll happily explain the chronological order of the Star Trek series. We have to open our arms to people who are new to our favorite things so that more people can love them and the giant corporations will make more merchandise featuring our obsessions. Also, sharing is caring, and we want people to find the best things nerd culture has to offer.
But lines have to be drawn when youths just don’t care and are taking my teen years for granted with their ill-conceived sidewalk games.
And so I don’t feel guilty for protecting Neo’s good name from the nerf gun kids. I will stand against Jerry Potter to protect the Order of the Phoenix.
We are the fans, and we will stand up for the truths of the imaginary worlds we love!
*Speaking of imaginary worlds, my novel The Girl Without Magic is currently on sale for only $0.99 on Amazon (eBook only). And it’ll be on sale for the same price at Barnes & Noble.com and for iBooks starting tomorrow. All this is for a limited time only, so get your copy now (or starting tomorrow if not through Amazon)!