It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I am a bit of a nerd. All I wanted in High School, and Uni, was to be cool. It seemed to me (at the time) that being cool was somehow related to "not giving a shit" and being extremely laidback about, like, everything. To display enthusiasm towards anything was to reveal yourself as deeply uncool. I think this must have been the time I learnt to hide my enthusiasm away, because now I have trouble getting enthusiastic about anything. Except chocolate, of course. But I digress.
The geekiest thing about me? I read comic books. Witness the progression of my life through the funny papers:
1. I start out on Asterix and Obelix, borrowed from the local library.
2. Move on to Peanuts, then Garfield throughout primary school.
3. Read MAD magazine feverishly through high school.
4. I discover Calvin and Hobbes through a friend at Uni.
Of course, in the meantime, the Simpsons were exploding all over TV, South Park came out and all of a sudden cartoons were not Just For Kids anymore.
5. My Dad introduces me to Krazy Kat, the sweetest and most lyrical love story between a cat and a mouse that you will ever read.
6. Somewhere along the line, I come across Robert Crumb and his whacked-out hippy comics from the 70's.
7. A friend gives me a copy of Ghost World for my birthday, which I enjoy on a visual level, but which leaves me with an uncomfortable, desolate feeling (maybe that was the point).
8. Since being in the UK, I discover the razor-sharp Life in Hell, by Matt Groening - as well as:
9. the Persepolis series, by Marjane Satrapi. That is a proper grown-up, educational read, my friends. You no longer need feel ashamed that you are reading a picture-book.
10. Maus by Art Speigelman. Words cannot do justice to this incredible book. It won a Pulitzer prize. That should shut those cool kids up.
Anyway, back where it all began.
Yesterday I walked past one of those shonky "temporary" book sales, and I couldn't resist buying a set of 10 Asterix comics for the bargain price of £22.
I inherited my love of Asterix (and subsequently my love of all story-based comics) from my Dad, who could frequently be found sitting up in bed of an evening, cup of tea on the bedside table, giggling quietly over the antics of that indomitable Gaulish village, holding out against the Roman invaders...
Thanks, Dad. I shudder to imagine how different my life would have been if you had been heavily into competitive sports or something.