I’m A Big Kid Now

I was at my movie theater today, dropping the kids off at the pool before my third and final viewing of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN IMAX 3D, when I heard the most enlightening comment from the stall next to me.

“I want to be a big kid. I wish I were a big kid.”

The boy who said it couldn’t have been terribly older than young Peter Parker in AMAZING’s opening scene (I’ll never know for sure – I decided breaking down his stall door to check his age had the potential to be interpreted the wrong way).

This young lad has it all figured out, and he has no idea. Intelligence is wasted on those too young to use the toilet by themselves.

He didn’t say “I wish I were an adult.”

BIG KID. He wants to be a big kid.

Epiphany! Eureka!

I’m 24 but I am NOT an adult; I’ve never felt like one.

I’m a big kid.

And that’s exactly what I want to be.

My room is currently completely comic book themed, from the Captain America shield hanging on my wall to the holographic AMAZING SPIDER-MAN standee with the 6 florescent lights. I have a painting of Batman I did (on the back of a foam standee for AMC’s Ultimate Marvel Movie Marathon) in my room’s window so it can be seem from our street, Zuni.

My roommates are slightly embarrassed by the Batman painting. They laugh it off when our property manager or the Denver Post salesman stop by, joking living with me is like living with a fourteen year-old.

They’re great friends, my closest friends, and I know they like me, but I’m sure there is some embarrassment that comes with living with me as well, whether it’s the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN poster I hung on the fridge, or our front living room which resembles a turn-of-the-century Blockbuster video.

Blockbuster Video, as it appeared in the late 1900s. Now only a thing of legend.

Over the course of my life, whether it was transitioning to middle school, going off the college in California, or trying to get a girlfriend through the NBC Page Program, I’ve tried to hide who I am. I’ve boxed up my geeky Nintendo and Spider-Man shirts more than once, switching them out for Nike shirts, or button up shirts from places like Aeropostale and H&M. I’ve switched from long socks to lower cuts, from baggy jeans to slim, all in the vain attempt to make myself something I’m not.

In the past year, I’ve learned it’s okay to go full geek (though “full retard” is still not recommended if you want to win an Academy Award). After all my failed attempts to hide in the geek closet, I’m out now.

No, this crazy train blog hasn’t gotten off track.  You see, being a geek and being a “big kid” are very much one and the same.

My roommate Andrew is also a geek, he enjoys the same movies & TV shows (we’re going to watch the 1990s BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES as our next show) and reads far more comics than me (though I buy more… he’s the only one who reads them). But he’s grown up. He doesn’t tout his inner geek quite like me; he is much closer to being an actual, honest-to-God adult than I am. His walls aren’t covered by masked vigilantes, he doesn’t have a Spider-Man, Batman, or Captain America mask (can you believe that?), and he has a long term girlfriend and investments and a saving account. Adult stuff!

It’s hard to know who you are when you’re a man (boy) of many masks.

And that’s fine. It’s more than fine. That’s who Andrew is, he’s an adult. My other roommate Kailin is an adult. Both are making great progress in adulthood (excellent work, you two!).

But not me. I’m not an adult. I’m a big kid.

Nothing excites me more than a big blockbuster like DARK KNIGHT RISES or 007 SKYFALL. I don’t think I own any shirts without a vigilante of some sort on them. While my highschool age employees talk politics, or going to college, or their careers, I’d rather talk about Iron Man. While they go on dates and have parties at their out of town parent’s houses, I see AVENGERS for the fifth time on IMAX 3D.

I’m a big kid. And I hope I stay that way.

Why would I want to be anything else?

This is the second epiphany I’ve had in the course of a year.

The other hit me while driving to Orange County from the Valley, while still living in the ole’ CA. It had always been in the back of my mind, it was already who I was, I had just never externalized the thought aloud before.

“I want to make people laugh.”

More specifically, that is my sole reason for existing (well that and watching movies over and over).

 

I’ll never be a stand up, I’ll never have broad appeal, but daily, hourly, nearly every moment I’m with another human being, I’m going for a laugh.   And sure, making people you know laugh is no great feat, but it’s what I live for.

And in playing this role, it has become me. It defines who I am. I spend most of my time with others playing a caricature of a real person (especially at work). An exaggerated version of myself who makes his own sound effects, is overly emotive, and undeservedly cocky. I’m fairly intelligent and well thought, but I like playing the boob. The idiot who doesn’t care about recycling or a healthy diet. The naive fool who has no idea what is happening in the real world past my geek cocoon.

I may throw out a hundred lame jokes and you may only laugh once, but that is what I live for.

I am Nick Doll. I am a big kid who lives to make people laugh.

Who are you?