Darkon, Take Me Away

The kid is down, our bellies are full and we're lolling around on the sofa, curled up with each other, drowning in fuzzy blankets and watching TiVo. In other words, it's a night like every other night, and we're loving it.

In an orgy of gluttonous boob-tubery, we've run out of Grade A TiVo selections. We're down to a tract-home House Hunters episodes or our choice of two-week old reruns of The Daily Show. So, we decide to get a little crazy and peruse LIVE TELEVISION. (We admit it. We're feeling a little desperate with the Writer's Strikes, and all, but hey, our entertainment sacrifices are worth it: GO WRITERS! We love rooting for the underdogs.) 

"Eek! ... what is this live TV thing you speak of?" asks The Varmint snarkily, as flips like a madman through the stations. "Can you even remember life before TiVo?"

"Hardly," I reply. "But I'm old. My memory's going. I do have flashes every once in awhile of wearing footie-jammies and changing the channel for my dad. I loved turning the knob and used to think he was giving me a treat. Now, I realize that he was just using me because they hadn't invented remote controls, yet."

I'm having a Har-Har Moment, that tiny little place in time where I feel like I'm making witty, entertaining conversation on the fly. Proud of myself, I look over to The Varmint, expecting a grin, at least a little "I'm laughing on the inside" fervent head nod - and instead? I get nothing.

He never even heard me. He's gone catatonic. Mouth open. Eyes glazed over. He's watching this.

What is it? It's Darkon, a documentary on gamers, by gamers, for gamers - about LARPing (live action role playing) where a bunch of guys dress up like knights and wizards and elves and act out their medieval universe in real life. In front of people. Specifically? In Baltimore.

In other words, it's a D&D dee-dee-dee-Fest, a film more suited for sponsorship by Mutual of Omaha than Sundance. 

Shockingly, The Varmint catches himself, tears his eyes away from the program and forces his little TiVo fingers to move on, noting (accurately I must unnecessarily add) that Darkon may not be my first choice for the evening's entertainment.

For reasons unbeknownst even to myself, I say, "Hey! We can watch Darkon if you want, I mean, it is sort of a documentary about your clan."

"No, that's ok," says The Varmint.

"Seriously, babe. It might be fun to watch it." My lips are saying the words as if possessed. I swear to God, me and my brain were sitting there saying to one another, "What the hell are they doing?!" as the words came out. It was like I was hearing them for the first time. Is this what love will do to a person? Because if it is, I'll just stick with sex.

The Varmint flips the channel back to Darkon, and within minutes, I'm looking for an exit route, absolutely unable to tolerate another minute. Anticipating this turn of events, The Varmint has sneakily wrapped his legs around me like a MasterLock, effectively and forcefully blocking my retreat.

"Oh no you don't. You wanted to watch it, you're going to watch it," he cackles.

I panic and start to thrash. "No way. I've changed my mind. Come to my senses, as it were. You...oof...can't...urf...make me!" and with a final squirming heave, I break free of the leg lock and hightail it to the bedroom, locking the door behind me. 

"Damn you and your infernal escape. You're obviously part rogue," I hear him mutter through the door.

And with crushing sadness, I realize that not only did The Varmint make a completely nerdalicious geek-boy gaming reference about my escape, but worst of all, I understood it.

God help me. 

- - - - - - - - - -

P.S. In a serendipitous turn of events, Slate ran a story on LARPing and Darkon titled "Feel the Sting of My Foam Sword" the day after I wrote this entry. Can you believe it - the thing hit their "Most Emailed Stories" list. Read it here



Please enter your contact information, so we can verify you aren't a bottom-feeding spambot. We promise we won't pass it along to anyone.

I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >