Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Being "That Guy" And Proud Of It

I think every circle of friends has "That Guy."  The one who knows everything about a given subject - or who can (at least) point you in the right direction to get started.

In my circle of friends, for example, my good friend Aaron is That Guy with guns. He can ID guns used in films very easily. He knows the caliber and ammunition capacity for more guns than I knew existed.

Is he a certified expert who has taken classes on this? No. He's a hobbyist. But that doesn't mean his information is bad or inaccurate.

He's forgotten more about guns than I will probably ever learn. But he won't claim to be an expert.

A few years ago, I worked in the car audio industry. Most of the people I worked with were both old-school and very passionate about their work. And I caught some of that. I learned a ton about the industry and where some of these companies had come from and where it was going. Enough that I was fluent in the lingo. Some of my friends still treat me like I'm some kind of expert. Which is weird.

A few days ago, we had some friends over for the Super Bowl. We do this every year. It's a bunch of friends on the couch watching the game (and commercials) and having a good time. And - because these are my friends - gaming came up.  "There was this one game," someone said, "It was modern, and I think fantasy and the cover had kind of a geeky guy, and I think tentacles ... "

I'd missed this part of the conversation, as I was making chili dip or scarfing chips or something. But the description was quickly relayed to me. And, after a couple of quick questions (and one wrong guess), I soon ascertained that it was The Laundry (which is one of those games I want to play and I don't think I could GM well).

Several people acted as though this was shocking. The fact that I could name (and produce a copy of) a game with so little information being provided!

But it's who I am. Games are my drive. Games are my passion.

I don't own every game ever published. I don't even have a sizable fraction of them.

But I keep track of the industry. I watch what's being published and Kickstarted. I know what pre-orders are live and who owns whom in the game publishing market. I watch distributors and employees.

Being able to name three Christophe Boelinger games isn't much different from being able to tell you that Warren Moon was sacked 458 times in his career. Or that a dual-four-ohm voice coil sub can be wired to a either a two ohm impedance or an eight ohm impedance (and that if you're putting it in a car, eight ohms just isn't going to work for a single sub). Or being able to point out that the cowboy on screen just fired two shots from a single-shot Derringer.

Everyone has something they're passionate about.  Everyone. Even if they're things you don't understand their being passionate about. My aunt has a doctorate in textiles. I can't tell twill from gingham from muslin, but my aunt absolutely can. And I'll wager she can point out incorrect movie costuming, too. Especially when it comes to Westerns (which is her area of focus).

The point is this: When you need to know a thing, find someone who is passionate. Sure, you can use Google for a lot of information. I expect you'll find it more rewarding to talk to someone who is excited about a thing.

I used to be quieter about the game thing. I'd hedge my guesses with, "It could be," or "It sounds kinda like," and the like. Because I was ashamed of the fact that games were what I was excited about. But not anymore. I've made too many friends around a table. I've had too much fun to dismiss it so casually.

I'm that guy. And so are you.

Be that guy.

Share your passion. You never know who you're going to catch.

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