Long-time readers of Finn’s Wake will know by now that I don’t celebrate
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, but instead celebrate Elvis’
Birthday as my official Out-With-the-Old, In-With-the-New kind of thing. For those
venerable readers, I will instruct you to skip over the next section. For all
of you RevolutionSF newcomers, here’s my pitch:
WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE ELVIS OVER THE BABY NEW YEAR
It’s simple. Traditions were made to be broken. How many of you have had
a disappointing New Year’s Eve memory in your past? All of you, I guarantee
it. You have to party, you have to kiss someone, you have to have FUN, dammit,
or, well, you feel lame and loserly. It’s more pressure than trying to make
Homecoming meaningful. I say, don’t do it. Throw off the shackles of your
parent’s generation and cultivate your own tradition. And in places like
Austin, Texas, where weirdness is routinely cultivated, things like Elvis’
Birthday make the news every year. I say, run with that. After all, Elvis is as
close as we’ll actually get to a living saint. I’m serious when I
say that we are ten years away from a recognized, organized Church of Elvis. Don’t
kiss a stranger; sing an Elvis song to a friend, or watch an Elvis movie with
a loved one. Don’t make New Year’s Resolutions (who doesn’t
break them?); instead, make a Promise to the King. You wouldn’t lie to Elvis,
would you? And best of all, there’s no pressure. It’s not even YOUR
birthday. Let Elvis do the sweating. Sit back, enjoy yourself, and laugh at all
of the losers who heated up macaroni and cheese in the microwave and watched the
ball drop in Times Square.
END OF RECRUITMENT SPEECH
Now, having said that, I have found that living with Cathy is a lot like being
in an interfaith relationship, you know, like the people who celebrate Hanukah
and Christmas? Well, lately, Cathy has me doing admittedly low-key New Year’s
Eve shenanigans. I’m okay with it, because she then follows me into Elvisness.
It’s a fair exchange. But that’s not what this is about. It’s
about the week in-between New Year’s Day and Elvis’ Birthday. I got
sick as a dog. Food poisoning. The bad kind. But while I was sleeping it off,
I had a dream. A vision. It’s a vision I want to pass on to all of you reading
I had a dream that I was in a world where everyone was nice to each other. We
all wore clothes that fit us, and used soap and water to clean ourselves. No one
smelled of rancid cheese, and everyone could laugh and talk and get along with
each other. We all had common ground upon which to build long-lasting relationships,
and the small and insignificant things in life didn’t matter; they went
I came out of my dream quickly, like someone had thrown water on me. And the words
leapt out of my mouth unbidden: “We’ve all got to stop acting like
I am serious. Let these words penetrate past the fog of Farscape trivia and the
drill through the wall of superiority: the time has come for unilateral peace
in the geek nation. We are not in the 1980’s anymore. The cultural climate
is very different, now. The mainstream is poised to accept us. But we have to
make the first move. We have to bathe, comb our hair, and not treat them like
a subservient species. Throw out what the Prime Directive says about non-interference.
Screw that Star Trek analogy. We need to become like Jedi Knights. Keepers of
the Geek. Trust me on this.
Let me give you an example. I was in the video store the other day and I overheard
two women in their thirties talking about Vincent Price. “It was something
kind of cheesy . . . Tickler, or something like that. My sister used to freak out
when it came on. God, I wish I could remember what it was.”
I knew the answer to this thing they were talking about. The Tingler, an old William
Castle classic. I know a lot about this thing. I’m a minor expert. Dare
I say it? A geek. I decided to jump in and help out. Now, here’s your quiz.
Read the choices below and pick the response that best describes how YOU would
have fielded the question. Don’t answer how you think I want you to. Be
honest with yourself. Would you say:
(A) (sighing, obviously bored of listening to everyone be wrong) Well, anyone
who knows anything about the horror genre of the fifties knows that it was
called The Tingler, directed by the late, great, and under-appreciated William
(B) (Out of breath from running back into the horror section to grab The
Tingler off of the shelves) Have no fear, my ladies, for I have procured the
answer to your mystery and lo! Here it is! This, of course, is best watched
in the company of a knowledgeable horror expert . . .
(C) Excuse me? That movie you’re looking for? It’s called The
Tingler. It’s an old classic. A William Castle film. I think they have
If you answered anything but choice C, then you are to whom I am directing this
mission statement. They were thrilled that I knew the movie, and asked me more
about it. I was able to briefly and succinctly (note the emphasis on those words)
explain about the gimmicked vibrating seats that the projectionist controlled,
how they never worked that well, and all of that jazz. They ended up renting the
film to show to the woman’s sister. And they thanked me. It was pleasant.
They went home with new, useless information in their heads and maybe a bit of
understanding about horror movie geeks.
I say to you, my brothers and sisters, what good is your knowledge if you spend
all of your free time arguing with BOBAFETT1188 in the Paste-Eaters Chat rooms
for half the night about whether or not Han should have shot first? Do you think
you’ll ever win that argument? Leave your zone of safety. Get out there
and spread your knowledge around. Distribute it to the masses. Be subtle. Be direct.
But be active.
First, though, let’s talk about what you’re going to wear.
I’m not saying that an Army of Darkness T-shirt isn’t a fine garment
indeed. But you need to remember that most people who work a job all day don’t
want to see a one handed guy covered with blood and freaked out on anyone’s
T-shirt after a hard day at the office, even if they DO feel like that. Consider
what most other people wear. They wear shirts, sometimes with collars. They
wear pants that don’t have a camouflage pattern on them. They wear socks
and shoes that go with their outfits. Sneakers are fine, as long as you wear
white socks and we can’t see them. Regular people don’t wear sweatpants,
flip-flops over grey socks, tank tops, and shirts that say, “I Survived
GrokCon IV.” For the record, they also don’t dress like they just
stepped out of Blade or The Matrix. I’m sorry, guys, I don’t mean
to pick on you. I see you trying. You’ve combed your hair, taken a shower,
and by the standards of your brethren, you look dressed to kill. But that billowing
black trench coat and completely black wardrobe adds nothing to your cool factor.
I mean it. Nothing. You still look like a gamer. Just a very well-dressed gamer.
You get credit for trying, but you need some color.
Just give this idea a try, is all I’m saying. Stop sneering at girls who
get the names of the X-Men wrong. Hey, at least they are talking about the X-Men.
And this year, with all of these super hero movies in the works, the odds just
quadrupled that you might actually get laid. Don’t shoot yourself in the
foot. Don’t scorn those people who are just now reading The Lord of the
Rings. For that matter, don’t greet these people in Elvish and then patiently
translate what you just said to them, either. No one really wants to hear it.
They are trying to understand our world. Now, will you welcome them to Munchkinland,
or will you drop a house on their heads?
In 2003, you’ll be able to hold your head up and say, “I’m a
Geek!” and people won’t take your lunch money. We’re about to
become fashionable. This is our window, our one shot. I say, we seize the day.
And if we’re really lucky, we’ll roll a natural twenty and it’ll
be a critical success!