Jun 212015

Today is Father’s Day where we give thanks to the men who raised us. I would like to take this time to talk about my father and give credit to him for being a large part of who I am today. The impact he had upon my life is tremendous, and he is one of the main reasons why I grew up to be a geek. You see, my father was a geek too.

My father was born in 1936 and was raised on a farm in Indiana. In the mid 1960s, he and my mother moved down to Florida as he had gotten a job at Pratt & Whitney, a defense contractor who made engines for jets and rockets. My father worked many years there as a machinist, working on machines that cut and shaped incredibly expensive alloys. He was an extremely smart man and could do trigonometry in his head. (I always wondered if he was actually a cyborg!)

As for his geek credentials, they were vast. My father read voraciously. In fact, he took a book with him everyday to his job and read if the machine he was using that day would be running automatically. He read fantasy and sci-fi primarily. He introduced me to Tolkien, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Terry Pratchett, H.P. Lovecraft, Michael Moorcock, Robert E. Howard, and too many others to name. He was the person who told me to read the Harry Potter books. He even helped teach me to read by reading Walt Disney comic books to me late at night before I went to bed. My father loved books and our house overflowed with them like some mad hoarder’s abode. While he could be cheap, he was always willing to buy me books. He was a long, long time member of the Science Fiction Book Club, buying multiple titles from them every month. When I had to call them up after he died to tell them to end his membership, their office actually knew him by name without having to look him up on their computer.


My father, my brother, and me.

His geeky nature went well past books. He loved the classic horror and sci-fi films. Every week, he took my brother and I to see a film in the theater. Naturally, we had to arrive at least 45 minutes ahead of time and then had to sit there waiting. This was before commercials, slides, or even a radio station were played before the previews and main feature started. If a fantasy or sci-fi film was playing, we saw it, no matter how obscure it was. For every Star Wars, we saw dozens of films like Starcrash, Ator: The Eagle Warrior, and Yor: Hunter from the Future. One thing that drove my brother and I crazy was that my dad would only see a film once in the theater. If we begged him to see it again, he would just say that it would be on tv in three or four years. The only time he broke this rule was Star Wars, and even then, we had to wait almost a full year to see it again in the theater.

One of my fondest memories was my dad waking me up to watch the Creature Feature show that came on Saturday night. We watched many a classic, and not so classic, movie during those times. We watched everything from Frankenstein to Dracula to Godzilla. The creepiest movie we ever watched was Black Sabbath starring Boris Karloff. That movie is insanely eerie and it gave me nightmares. But we watched more than movies on tv. He loved Star Trek and Doctor Who, and we were raised watching those shows on a regular basis. In fact, he took me to my first convention. It was a Doctor Who convention in the early 1980s in Tampa where we got to meet Patrick Troughton and John Nathan Turner. Later on, he watched Buffy and Firefly as well.

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about his gaming. Yes, my father was a gamer. While he didn’t play roleplaying games (he did try it once), he played board games like a fiend. He amassed a huge collection during the last twenty years of his life, and he played quite a bit with my gaming buddies as well. I can’t count the number of times we played Talisman on the kitchen table. He had an amazing ability to roll dice if he had something to bounce it off of. My friends would eventually clear the table so that he had nothing to use to enhance his die rolling abilities. Even at the end of his life, he still played games every Saturday with a buddy of his. He was also my biggest supporter when I owned my own game shop, helping me keeping the place running. When I went to historical miniature conventions as a vendor, he was my official roadie. He loved going to cons and talking to all the people.


My father loved playing Talisman with my me and my friends.

One last aspect of my father that I want to discuss was that he was an adult. Too often today, many people refuse to grow up and live in a state of perpetual adolescence. My father was not one of those people. He was a geek through and through. He watched horror and sci-fi movies, devoured books by the score, and slung dice over many a game. While he did all those things, he was also a man. He could work on his car. He was a very competent carpenter. He was an amateur gunsmith and used to do his own reloads. He enjoyed geek culture, but he never descended into childish behavior. (Please note that I am not equating geek culture with being a child.)

I just want to say today on Father’s Day that I’m so grateful that he was my father. He taught me so much, especially the difference between right and wrong. He fostered my love of computers (I think he loved them even more than I did) and kept my reading addiction going as I grew up. One Christmas, he gave me over twenty books, including all the Carson of Venus books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. He passed away just a few week shy of his 70th birthday due to pancreatic cancer. I still miss him terribly, and I just want to say, I love you, Dad.

  4 Responses to “Remembering My Dad on Father’s Day”

  1. The Tardis = 🙂

  2. A noble and just warrior me thinks! I would’ve like to have read one of his dusty old tomes, played a game of dwarven dice, drank a nice tankard of dwarven ale and shared some good dwarven pipeweed with him! Long live the guardian of RPG Central!

    Grum is not dum!

  3. Me thinks this man was no fool but crazy like a fox! There is something suspiciously familiar
    with that game Talisman! I can’t quite put my finger on it or maybe the finger was put on me! It’s quite a mystery! And beware the twist of his wrist when you dice with death! Hee hee! Ho ho! Ha ha! Long live the guardian of RPG Central!

    ‘The jester is an annoying fellow…’

  4. Him me favoritist bag of lumpy flesh ever! Him watch Star Trek and spread word of me the Horta with other futurey type people! Long live guardian of RPG Central!

    No kill I!

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