I’m Jared. The Intern. My introduction will probably help explain why I’m here, writing to you now.
About me: I’m a 20-something desk-jockey working in Corporate America, raised in the Midwest and trained in the nerdly arts. My most significant geek claim-to-fame was a speech I gave to my graduating class crediting our success to the diverse cast of characters who made up our youth: Mario, Link, 4 green heroes-in-half-shells, and Frodo Baggins. My latent carpal tunnel could pretty accurately be attributed to far too many long nights slinging 20-siders. I’ve been a geek for about as long as I’ve been stringing words together.
Probably most significantly, I’m the Monkey in the Cage Intern. I’ve been following the crew for a while now, and after a grueling interview process, I’ve been awarded this coveted slot. I used every ounce of guile and every drop of charm to earn the right to be a part of the crew. (I’m sure it had nothing to do with the number of applications [I'm 1 of 1] or my willingness to accept the “competitive” salary [approximately $0, including expenses].)
Actually, I can list quite a few reasons why the Monkeys SHOULDN’T have picked me. Despite countless hours committed to a “mis-spent” youth, I don’t have a broad Geek Resume. It’s true that I’ve rolled up enough unplayed reams of Dungeons and Dragons characters to make environmentalists everywhere cringe, and I’ve read more fantasy novels than I can even remember. But I fall short in many, many facets of geek-hood. I own a 360, but it’s been so long since I’ve truly played a video game that I wouldn’t even recognize one of the Assassin’s Creed brethren if he stabbed me in the back. I flipped my way through pack upon pack of 1995 Fleer Ultra X-men Cards, but if I’m being honest I’ve probably learned more about my favorite superheroes from Wikipedia than from poring over carefully inked panels. I know enough about The Walking Dead to tell you that Shane is a douche, but not enough to articulate why.
More simply put: I’ve got a lot of holes in my geek game.
Lucky for me, my shortcomings seemed to appeal to the more sadistic side of the MitC crew. We geeks, they asserted, form our own brotherhood. Despite our diverse interests, we’ve got to stay united. To best defend our passions that the outside world deems frivolous, we must not only accept the many varied facets of geekdom, we need to understand them. That’s why the Monkeys took me on–with the plan to give me a series of assignments to broaden my nerd horizons. Through a rigorous training program, they’ll forge me into a stalwart defender, a true Steward of Geekdom. Along the way, I’ll report back, most likely with unhelpful insights and worthless opinions. Hey, you get what you pay for.
Up first is an assignment from Matt. In light of his new game, I’ve been tasked with learning a little more about the genre of Steampunk. To begin my education, I’ve started listening to the audiobook version of The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder.
This is my first foray into alternate history fiction. Set in Victorian era Britain and filled with steam-powered gadgetry and adventure, I think I’m set well to learn a little more about the type of world where Matt’s game is taking place. (Side note: does anyone else find it ironic that I spend my mornings listening to a book whose setting involves using steam-power to maximize productivity while I’m wasting electricity plodding away on a treadmill? I digress…)
I’m just getting started, but here’s what I’ve learned so far:
To be fair, I said early on that my insights probably wouldn’t be all that helpful. Hopefully I’ll have something more valuable to say once I get a little farther in.
And maybe if I work hard enough and prove myself, the Monkeys will promote me from unpaid intern to unpaid full-time staff member. More work, same pay…that’s the dream.