Geeky Interests That Can Pay Off Big Time

Games/Toy/ Hobbies - General
By: Traqqer    
02-Jan-2011

Introduction:As a child and even when we are older, there are a lot of "geeky" interests that we're embarrassed to tell others about. Although some girls have this problem, it is mostly a boy's problem (at least from my experiences). So, if you're a girl/woman, try not to be too turned off by a guy with this problem since the potential for payoff can be huge. But more importantly, such interests can make a person more interesting. However, it obviously depends on how talented the boy/man is as well.

  • 01

    Comic Books

    When I was young, I used to collect comic books all the time. I also used to draw my favorite characters all the time. I was pretty good, but eventually grew out of it because I was constantly told by my parents that I needed to grow up. Well, fast forward 30 years. I have a nice family and a decent job, and life is pretty good. But every once in awhile, I think of the "what if"s. What if I had followed my heart and had become a comic book artist (or graphic artist)? I think of people like Frank Miller, Todd McFarlane, etc. and think that could have been me. I also see the proliferation of superhero movies in theaters and think that one of my characters (Diamond Man, Energy Man, etc.) could have been made into a movie as well.

  • 02

    Computer Programming

    In junior high school in the early 1980s I had my first taste of programming on a Commodore Vic-20. It was one of those exhilirating experiences where I felt like I had found a new way of being happy - a way that was more fun than playing with toys, with my friends, or watching movies. I used to spend hours creating simple programs that would respond to my actions as well as games like blackjack. I even created a program that graphically mapped sections of the Mandelbrot set of imaginary numbers - shows you just how geeky I was. Since there was limited understanding of the utility of computer programs at the time (early 80s), my parents weren't really supportive of my "playing around with computers." It wasn't really their fault as I felt essentially the same way. Then I think about all the successful computer progammers today and wonder at what could have been. Could I have been a successful web entrepreneur? Could I have had the foresight to create sites like Yahoo, Excite, eHow, LM5, etc.? I'll never know.

  • 03

    Video Games

    Along with programming, I also loved to play video games, both on my home computer as well as at the arcade. I would play for hours going through repetitive motions just to earn a bunch of points. I was so good at it that I would win the weekly high-score contest at the local arcade. I would often get the highest scores on games like Space Invaders, Rip-off, Tron, etc. The prize was a choice of a double ice cream sunday or 50 cents that would allow me to play two more games. I usually chose the money. I did this on and off for about 2-3 years until my parents realized I was "squandering" my weekly allowances (and sometimes school lunch money) on those "evil" video games. While I don't think my skills would have been good enough for me to compete as a professional gamer, I think my interest in games and programming could have led to a very happy life developing games for computers, phones, etc. I'm trying this in my spare time now, but I just can't seem to find the time.

  • 04

    Baseball Cards

    Similar to comic books, I used to collect a boat-load of baseball cards. I would sometimes buy the whole baseball card box (i.e., rather than the individually packaged cards of 10 or so. That way, I would ensure that I would more or less have a card of each player in the league. As I started to grow out of these "childish" interests, I sold or gave away most of my cards (over 99%). As I have recently been going over the approximately 50 cards I did save (i.e., cards that are over 30 years old), I've been finding out that their values range from a couple of dollars to well over $1000. I'm just so glad that I save several cards of Nolan Ryan and George Brett. I may sell these if we really need the money, but my current plan is to one day leave them to my kids and grandkids so they can also enjoy owning a piece of history. And perhaps if they really enjoy collecting such items, they may start a business dealing with the buying and selling of baseball cards (and other collectibles). In that case, I will want to live vicariously through their eyes.

  • 05

    Fantasy Novels

    When I was in college, I got hooked on fantasy novels (not science fiction novels). I don't remember exactly how or why, but I read the Lord of the Rings (in all it's difficult older English style) and simply loved it. But as much as I loved that series, I loved Tolkien's other book, the Silmarillion even more. It told of the history of Middle Earth and of the first great romance between Luthien and Beren (these characters were the "role models" for Arwen and Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings). So, while many of my friends were pursuing real relationships, I was a geek developing ones with characters in various fantasy books. Some of my favorite novels were written by authors such as Terry Brooks, Raymond Feist, Tad Williams, etc. The creativity and beauty these writers showed in their books were inspiring - so much so that I contemplated writing my own set of books. I went so far as to sketch out my own world and set of characters with an overall plot or storyline. Unfortunately, that all got left in the dust once I went to graduate school. I had to focus on things that appeared to provide me with a real future rather than these other "silly" things. Well, looking back on all of those experiences, I have to first acknowledge how fortunate I was in being exposed to these novels. Thanks to all the reading I did, my English scores on the GRE was much higher than they were on the SAT. I know you can't directly compare the two different tests, but I could still tell there was a real difference. But more important than this was that I had gained a love of storytelling, poetry, and romance that I didn't really have before. And because of that, my wife is reaping the benefits of that experience now. Perhaps one of these days, I'll revisit my attempts at writing a fantasy series - it's in me since I've already laid the groundwork. I just have to get it out.




Final Thoughts

What is the moral of this story/list? Simple: don't let others (or yourself) think that something you are doing is childish. Don't be afraid to explore your geeky interests. They may lead to brigher things in the future.


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Comments

  • duckletshut 2/10/2012 Flag This Comment

    Gaming has becoming so huge -- theyre definitely great jobs in all these hobbies!

  • tracyann 4/10/2011 Flag This Comment

    Good list.

  • Thorgrym 3/1/2011 Flag This Comment

    Caught on all five counts!

  • Kimi 3/1/2011 Flag This Comment

    Traqqer, this is a great list! I can relate to some of the "what ifs" you wrote about. Maybe since you are dwelling on it now it is time to pursue one of these again. You never know!

  • jseven 1/2/2011 Flag This Comment

    Good list! My ex bought tons of sports cards every time we went grocery shopping, he wanted them for the sons and I complained about the space they took up. Boxes of them now sit in my daughter's basement gaining value. Who knows? They may make my son's rich, someday. :)

  • nwgirl 1/2/2011 Flag This Comment

    Great list to read. I know what you mean about trying to find the time, but since you have the interest and the drive, you could definitely write the fantasy book or develop the game. Starting now is better than starting never. Thanks for sharing your list...great messages here!

  • PurpleInk 1/2/2011 Flag This Comment

    What an excellent list. You are a very good writer and I hope you develop that fantasy series one day. Count me in as a reader!

  • Traqqer 1/2/2011 Flag This Comment

    Thanks Bossy. It's one of those lists/articles I've been meaning to write for awhile. I've had a lot of these "what if" thoughts and regrets that I've been carrying around for a long time, and sharing them here has been theraputic. As a result, I definitely will not discourage my kids from any childish/geeky endeavors they're willing to take.

  • bossypants 1/2/2011 Flag This Comment

    Enjoyable read! One just never knows what childhood passion will result in fame and/or fortune. And even though you may not have grown into Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, Traq, it's good to have you writing stuff we all like to read!

  • JoyceTeresaMann 1/2/2011 Flag This Comment

    Fun and interesting list. My favorite cartoon artist is Carl Barks -- hope I spelled that right -- who both drew and wrote many of the Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comic books. My husband has quite the collection.

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