I should be worried. I knew the two baseball teams in Gotham City without having to look it up. I even knew which league each team is in. (For those of you wondering, Gotham City hosts the Monarchs, of the National League, and the Knights, of the American League. The Monarchs replaced the Griffins, who were disbanded during the No Man’s Land incident.)
I bring this up, not to share my facility for DC Comics’ trivia, but because I’m simply an observant sort of person, a sponge if you will.
This afternoon a man walked into my store, carrying a book. Faction Paradox: The Book of the War. It was a trade paperback, a largish sort of book. The spine was cracked, the cover bent and battered. This is, frankly, a book you won’t find in bookstores. The only way to find the book is to order it online, and the only people who would do so are hard-core Doctor Who fans as it’s a spin-off book from Doctor Who. And the man carrying the book, overweight, greasy hair, glasses, was clearly a hard-core Doctor Who fan. I could tell simply by his tee-shirt, emblazened as it was with Paul McGann. I didn’t approach him, I merely watched him, from a distance of perhaps fifteen or twenty feet, and I fingered my keychain in my pocket as I took notes from the afternoon’s conference call.
My keychain bears the Seal of Rassilon.
I used to wear Star Trek tee-shirts. Now, I’d be faintly embarrassed doing so. I get a number of tee-shirts each year advertising various video games from vendors, but I’ll be damned if I wear any of them unless they don’t mark themselves out too obviously as being video game-related or -inspired. And I could never do as a customer did a few weeks ago and walk around my store (and the mall) wearing a Star Trek: The Next Generation uniform, complete with communicator pin.
I have no trouble with people proclaiming their fandoms. I only wish they would or could do so with more subtlety. On my name badge I have a tiny Lego figure next to my name, and no one would know unless I told them that it’s meant to represent the Eighth Doctor. Or the necktie I sometimes wear that has a number of Sherlock Holmes-related items, among them a silhouette of the Master himself. (No, not the Whovian Master.) Any more than that, and I couldn’t wear it.
I may be a fan, but that doesn’t mean I have to look like a geek.