Tom Burns knows what his geekiest moment as an adult was and he wants to know yours too
As anyone who knows me can confirm, I’m a big, big nerd and, as such, I’ve done a lot of nerdy things throughout my life. When I was younger, these things never really stood out much because I was YOUNG and so much can be excused by youth. So, when I’d spend a whole weekend watching “The Three Holy Trilogies” back to back—Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Back to the Future—it wasn’t a big deal. No one would bat an eye when I obsessed about comic books, followed They Might Be Giants around the Midwest, or dressed up as Ash from Army of Darkness for Halloween. I was a young geek and those things were to be expected.
However, as I’ve grown older and somehow tricked a woman into marrying me and having a child with me, I’ll admit, despite my overwhelming nerd pride, I have noticed that I’ve become more and more self-conscious about my nerdiness. Granted, it hasn’t really stopped me from doing anything—I still dress up for Comic Con, own my own sonic screwdriver, and long to one day own a DeLorean—but I’m much more AWARE now of when I’m having my nerd moments. My mind calls out to me at random intervals, asking, “Hey, don’t you think it’s weird that you’re some lady’s husband and some kid’s dad and yet you’re spending your evening writing fan-fiction rather than, like, re-grouting the tub?” I’m not judging myself. I love my nerdy side. But, for better or worse, I do notice it more often than I used to.
The other night, this led me to ask myself, “What has been the nerdiest thing I’ve ever done since my adult life began?” And, in my mind, the real catalysts for my jump into honest-and-true adulthood were two major events—my marriage and the birth of my daughter. So, essentially, I was asking myself, “What’s the nerdiest thing I’ve done since my wife and kid were around?”
The answer came to me pretty quickly. Despite all of my comic books and Buffy marathons, the hands-down nerdiest thing I’ve done as an adult was quoting Batman in my wedding vows.
OK, truth be told, I didn’t quote Batman the character. I didn’t look my wife-to-be in the eye and growl, “I AM THE PROTECTOR OF THE NIGHT!” (That would’ve been amazing.) But I did quote one of the most famous Batman stories of all time—Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
Basically, leading up to our wedding, my wife kept asking me why I was so calm. The wedding planning was hectic and chaotic, but I’d been able to keep a fairly level head throughout. And she wanted to know why the stress wasn’t getting to me. I decided to answer her in my wedding vows. Here’s what I said:
So, why am I so calm? I have a little mantra that I’ve been repeating to myself since we started all of this wedding nonsense. I say it whenever I’m frustrated, furious, or when I’m not sure why I’m doing this anymore. It goes like this: “I THINK OF YOU. THE REST IS EASY. I THINK OF YOU. THE REST IS EASY.” I say that and it all becomes clear again.
Kinda sweet, right? Well, later on in my vows, I admitted to my wife where I got that mantra. I stole it from Commissioner Jim Gordon. In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Gordon finds himself living in a dystopian hellhole version of Gotham City (Sounds perfect for a wedding, right?) and, whenever he’s called upon to do the unthinkable, to draw his gun and face evil yet again, his mind turns to his wife and he says, “I think of Sarah. The rest is easy.”
I mean, yeah, it’s not Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet or that “Love is patient and kind” bullshit, but it spoke to me, even though the story is filled with mutants and morally compromised supermen, and it seemed like the perfect way to express my love and admiration for my wife in a way that was very, very honest to who I am.
And she loved it. She did. And it won me INSANE geek-cred points for my nerd friends who were in the audience. “Dude, you had BATMAN VOWS,” one friend of mine marveled. “SO much better than obeying and cherishing.”
It remains as probably the nerdiest moment in my adult life or, at the very least, the most important moment of my life that I shared with my nerd tendencies. And, despite my occasional waves of self-consciousness, those moments where I ask myself whether or not I have any idea what being a “man” is really all about, I’m truly glad that that side of me decided to show up to the event.
So, fellow stunted man-children, let me extend that same question to all of you—What is the nerdiest thing you’ve ever done as a grown-ass husband or father?
Did you name your son Kal-El? Did you take a honeymoon trip to the Ghostbusters firehouse? Do you beg your partner to dress up like Black Canary in the bedroom?
Share your moments of adult-onset nerdiness in the comments section below and revel in the knowledge that you’re not alone.
Credit: Image—Pat Loika/Flickr