The Dark still makes me uneasy.
Two kids of my own, married, and I still have troubles walking into an unlit basement. Silly, yes, but watching Salem's Lot at seven didn't help foster bravery points.
However I'm not here to talk about my cowardice. I'm here to talk about my dad, who is a geek. He's still alive, so this is no Chicken Soup for the Digital Soul, but as I contemplate an About Me as my first post, it should start with my dad.
In the basement was my toy room. It wasn't just off the stairs, it was at the back of the basement. And around a corner. Given my fears, I had to make sure every light was turned on before I could reach it. My dad's toy room was in the basement too, right beside mine.
His toys were fascinating. There were a set of golf clubs in the corner, but I had never know my dad to golf. The wall had a gun rack. He hunted, but I think it was merely a way to spend time with his friends.
He took me hunting once. I remember being woken up early, dragged out in the dark, and then sitting in a cold bush waiting for something to happen. I wasn't even allowed to blow the duck whistle (or whatever official name it's been christened with, I'm not a hunter), the only exciting thing about the whole venture.
The rest of the room, however, was his workshop. He was a DIY kinda guy, and he had every electronic piece known to Radio Shack. I had hoped he built robots in there. I had hoped *I* could build robots in there, but I was not a genius, and the little plastic drawers of capacitors, resistors, wires, and other remained a mystery to me.
Did he buy me one of those Build Your Own Radio Sets? I don't think so. Or maybe he did when I was young and came to the bitter realization his son had no skills in the physical realm. I do admit being intimidated by his soldering iron.
He did, however, introduce me to video games.
Unlike today, not every boy under the age of 10 new what a DS was. Video Game playing was rare. But my dad would buy console systems and bring them home. I remember him buying a Sears Pong and Racer console that hooked up to a huge TV that doubled as a half-duplex phone.
My dad liked stuff like that. Had he the funds, he would have probably built his own KITT. This man loved tinkering.
And also gambling.
Now before you start wondering whether or not I am going to dump skeletons about bedding women and drug abuse, my upbringing is fortunately rather boring. My dad gambled responsibly. He loved poker. If he lost more than $300 in a night, then he'd stop. My mom told him he could gamble as much as he wants as long as he didn't bet his family, nor their house. He's been doing it for years and I still have all my organs and my mom. Also my sister, but you can't win them all. (I kid.)
This hobby of his meant that every summer, we went to Vegas. My dad was still too cheap to stay in hotels on the drive down so we normally just spent the night at a rest area, or a hotel parking lot. If dad did well at the casinos at that hotel, then we'd spending a longer time in that parking lot. I wasn't very fond of parking lot living, and was glad whenever we decided to be on our way.
The trip normally took three days to drive. I read a lot of books, counted a lot of cows, and also learned how to say the alphabet backwards. Vegas was heaven by the time we reached there.
For one, I didn't have to stay in the car, which wasn't good since I got car sick a lot. For another, we stayed in a hotel! Dad always booked us at Circus Circus.
At one point in time, I think Vegas wished to have their 'sin city' image toned down a bit, so they tried to make it more family friendly. Circus Circus was a hotel that had circus acts all the way down the center of the hotel, and in the middle floors, there were midway games and arcade games.
My sister and I, at around the ages of 8 plus or minus a few years, would wander alone the vegas hotel playing video games. We would do this all day. Periodically my mom would come down and give us some quarters. If dad did well, she'd give us more quarters.
Sometimes, we would go in the pool. I can't remember those times, but I'm SURE we must have tried the pool out.
Of course, we didn't just stay in Nevada. We also went to California and checked out Disneyland and all that, but Vegas had round the clock video gaming.
And I loved it.
Are there more stories? Yes. My geek upbringing wasn't only arcades. But it was a start.
Salem's Lot Poster Source: Wikipedia.
Pong Image Source: Wikipedia.
Circus Circus Photo Source: Wikipedia.
Ringer Washer Photo Source: Wikipedia.