I’ve Been That Kid (When You Can’t Stop Reading, Ever)

As I helped set up the kid’s movie at the library recently, a boy filed in with his family, his nose in a graphic novel. Moms chatted, kids flopped on cushions, and this kid kept reading his book.

Ninety minutes later the movie ended, and we turned on the lights. When I noticed the kid again, he was standing among the other kids, book open, looking down. It was seamless, as if he’d never closed the book since I turned out the lights and hit play on the movie. And maybe he didn’t– maybe he read straight through, more interested in what he could read then what he could watch. Or maybe once one form of entertainment ended, he slipped back into the other one at hand before I could even see the transition.

I was the girl who read Animorphs on my lap between lessons, who couldn’t leave the house without a book in my bag, who couldn’t handle a trip to Maine until her mother took her to a bookstore to restock. So kid, I relate.

Graphic Novel Shelf.jpg

I Went to the Hank Green Concert (How Nerds Drown Out My Cynicism)

This past weekend the Tour Because Awesome came to Cambridge, featuring Hank Green’s band Hank Green and the Perfect Strangers, along with Harry and the Potters, Driftless Pony Club, Rob Scallon and Andrew Huang. I dragged my friend Mrs. HP along and for four hours we sang to nerdy songs, danced, and drank Harry Potter-themed cocktails. A giant, carnival-prize-looking snake was thrown into the crowd when Harry and Potters sang about saving Ginny Weasley from the basilisk and it was bounced around like a beach ball.The encore consisted of the Ghostbusters theme and the songified version of Hank and John Green’s multi-video Batman argument. One guy rocked out so hard to the whole Driftless Pony Club set that Craig Benzine noticed, and he was a little bit my hero. I bought a poster, a T-shirt, and some CDs and got a $2 bill signed by Hank Green with a Hankler Fish on it that I will never, ever spend.

Four hours went by and I didn’t even notice until they said goodnight and I realized how massively dehydrated I was.

I had so much fun.

Terrible cell phone pic, go!
Terrible cell phone pic, go!

It has been a while since I’ve gone to such a purely nerdy event, where ages spanned from what must have been 8, to some people who were old enough to be the parents of the teenagers present, though I believe a good amount of them were there for themselves. Everyone was excited, jumping up and down, dancing to the songs, singing as loud as they could to the lyrics they either already knew or were being led through by the bands. It was joy and fun with people in Doctor Who dresses and Vlogbrother shirts and no one judged you for it.

It’s so easy, in my regular life, to be a little embarrassed about my usual enthusiasm for things, which can then turn into a kind of cynicism when people are not embarrassed to be thrilled. Usually, the people around you don’t get it, and you have to explain it, but you never do it right, and it all sounds funny when you put it in words. Yes, I lost sleep over a children’s book; yes, I have listened to a cartoon song a hundred times in the past month; you bet, I spent money on nerdy graphic T-shirts. But at a thing like that concert, where everyone understands, basically, why you do these things, why you get so excited — when you don’t feel like there’s a critical eye on you — it’s harder to get embarrassed. And when you’re not as embarrassed, it’s easier to let go of that critical, cynical thinking and just enjoy yourself, and enjoy everyone having a blast around you.