So I’m a geek. I’ve always been a geek, and it’s a part of my identity and my persona. I was raised with comic books, cartoons and video games, and I love them to this day.

I am also a dad. My boy is four years old, and he’s into the things that boys are into these days; iPhone apps, Netflix Kids!, stomping on frozen over puddles and Hot Wheels. (God, I love Hot Wheels too. Oddly, I think I got really into them just as the kiddo did.)

I talked on the podcast a bit about sharing my geek hobbies with my kid, and that is a balance of sharing and dealing with rejection, but I also wanted to talk about being able to maintain a geek hobby while being a parent, and what gets sacrificed when you have a kid to take care of. The super short answer is time and money that would have been devoted to your hobby is what goes.

But the long (rambling) answer isn’t as clean cut as that, and I’d like to ruminate on that a bit.

 

The Brave and the Bold

 

As I type this, my kid is eating his supper while watching an episode of “Batman: Brave and the Bold”. It’s a great episode. Batman and Plastic-Man are battling Gorilla Grodd while also exploring Plas’ origins and reformation from petty crook to true hero. It’s campy, it has fun bright art, and good action. I’m a fan of the series.

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Archer was not. But he is now.

The reason he is watching the show so intently now is that last month I bought a copy of the Brave and the Bold game for the Nintendo Wii, and it’s a side-scrolling, 2-player beat-em-up that the two of us play together. I don’t particularly enjoy platformers. I’ve never been great at them, but because the kiddo is super-into it, we’ve made it a special reward and we share the game experience together. He’s even confessed that he’s thinking about ways to beat the “bad guys” before falling asleep at night.

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It’s full circle for me. When I was a kid, my grandfather gave me a box of comics from the 70’s which included a stack of Brave and the Bold issues. I read them down to the fibres. They hold such a feeling of nostalgia for me, a true piece of youthful innocence that I treasure. I still have these beat up books kicking around.

Those books fostered a love of comic books that I still hold to this day. My office is lined by three bookcases full of trade paperbacks, and my storage space is full of cases of single issues. Archer has shown next to no interest in any comic books, not even to try and mangle them.

He likes the idea of superheroes, but he’s not terribly into their source material. I don’t know what to make of it, but my books are out in the open in the event he ever wishes to flip through them.

All this is to say that I’ve had to adjust my hobbies to my new lifestyle. I don’t really have the chance to play countless hours of Counter:Strike or Final Fantasy anymore, but I do get “Batman” time with my kid, and that is great. A lot of my gaming has moved to my phone, where I can play in short bursts, picking it up when I have a few minutes to kill and then easily putting it down again. I read comics still, but often in the same way that I play games on the phone, a little here and there when the urge and opportunity present.

I’m thinking I’ll check in every now and then to talk about some of my geeky exploits and how they fit into this dad-life I be livin’.

 

Scott is a writer and founder at 9to5. He’s a host on The 9to5 Entertainment System and does a lot of the graphic design around these parts.

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