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One of my biggest regrets in life (so far) is that Ive never played Dungeons and Dragons. Not many people long to play D&D, except me. I often look back and wonder how I never explored damp caves and slayed mythical beats with nothing but the power of my desperate teenage mind. Oh, how I wish I had! Afterall, I was already unpopular at school, and therefore had nothing to lose. At least, thats how I feel looking back.
Growing up I was a nerd. I attended Sci-fi conventions, dressed up as a Hobbit, and fell in love with Willow from Buffy. Most of my friends (including my brother) were in love with Buffy, which always made me feel like she was sort of taken already*.
As you would expect, most people at school had no idea of who I was, or at least at this point they didnt. Who knows, they probably dont right now, even with their post school Facebook friend requests.
My social situation wasnt helped by an incident that happened in year 9 either. I used to have an amazing English teacher (whose name I have forgotten. Im very sorry, and I swear you had a huge impact on me regardless) who would give us a break every now and again to have a little fun.
Usually this would take the form of a quiz, which as a nerd, was the holy grail of activities because it gave us a few moments of glory when we were congratulated in our victory. Moments like these became precious at school, and this particular quiz - a Christmas special during the last few days of term - was about to leave my reputation in tatters.
The quiz was over. We had swapped papers and all of the answers had been marked. My team had not won, in fact we had placed behind two other non-nerd teams that were drawn level on points. This meant a bonus question. A question that would be decided upon by a pupil, and not the teacher. Without hesitation my hand went up. It was the only one.
Bitter by my teams inability to win against non-nerds, I decided that my question would be hard; something only a nerd would know. This was my question:
Q: What is the full name of the author of Lord of the Rings?
A: Jim Ralph Richard Tolkein
B: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
C: Jamie Redknapp Reads Tolkein
My teacher thought it was great, and she loved the joke at the end. She decided to use it. She started reading reading the question out, and when she reached answer B, which was the correct answer, she pronounced Reuel, Revvel. Not a big deal right? To the 14 year old version of myself, and Lord of the Rings obsessive who had written the question, it was. Oh, how stupid of me. For some reason my mouth went into auto-pilot. What follows is what my mind likes to remember:
ITS REUEL NOT REVVEL! HOW ARE PEOPLE SUPPOSED TO GET THE RIGHT ANSWER IF YOU SAY IT WRONG! YOU SAID IT WRONG! ITS REUEL NOT REVVEL!
Cue rapturous laughter from the entire classroom.
My chances of having a girlfriend before college didnt just crumble, they BURNED MAJESTICALLY IN THE FIRES OF MOUNT DOOM.
And so I was left socially incapable. With a small band of three to call my friends (Myself, My Brother, and a boy that shared our birthday called Jamie). It seems to me now that if any time of my life was the perfect time to play D&D, that was it.
The thing is, I was too damaged by the events to see it that way, and what I did instead was suppress my nerdiness. It became a secret between me and my brother. We still watched Buffy and we still went to conventions. But as far as the kids at school were concerned, we had moved on. Thats why I never played Dungeons and Dragons: You need more than two people and after starting to taste some popularity due to hiding my nerdiness, I was stopped myself from approaching the kids I knew were into D&D. I would have done anything to feel popular, how pathetic!
Later, in my first year of college I would realise my mistake, and regain my nerdiness, but by this time it was too late: the D&D kids had girlfriends! And no one plays D&D when they have a girlfriend, they have other forms of role-play to be getting on with.
I still want to try Dungeons and Dragons, but I would need people like me. So Im officially putting out this advert:
Young Male seeks several nerds (Male or Female) aged 20-30. Must be willing to roleplay**.
*I just re-read that back to myself and I think its pretty fair to say that I feel like a creep right now. Ugh! (Ill probably sound creepier by the end of this post).
**Told you so.