In the city of slime / where it’s night all the time
Posted on March 8th, 2011
This is a post you may want to skip if you don’t know or care to know much about HP Lovecraft, or Call of Cthulhu, or RPGs (the real kind, not the ones on the computer). It’s not that I’m ashamed of my geek roots,* but it may not make much sense or be terribly interesting. YMMV.
But here’s the thing: my husband and I met at a roleplaying game, almost 20 years ago. When people ask how we met, we say “at a friend’s house,” which is true, but it was a GURPS game – some weird space setting that only lasted a session or two. (All I remember now was that it was nowhere near as cool as Traveller.)
I was 18, a Goth, and cute in a “I listen to the Smiths and am miserable” sort of black-eyeliner-wearing way. M was 29 and took one look at me and thought: “Nice legs. Too young.”
(See how well that worked for him? Here is the thing about having been a geek girl in the early 90s: dating was like shooting fish in a barrel.)
I ran and played in lots of games, but like anyone who gamed in the late 80s/early 90s, Call of Cthulhu was a staple. Someone always was running a CoC game. Everyone had Cthulhu stories, about the many cool and disgusting and wacky ways their characters went insane and were killed. That’s the genre. A friend – who is a medical doctor in the military now – once lost five characters in ten minutes. It was a new record! (Word of advice: when there are monsters in the sewers, don’t go in the sewers alone. Duh. Bonus word of advice: shotguns can kill Deep Ones.) So many in jokes!
In any event, that’s the background. It took us 16 years to get around to having a child, but when we did, one of the first gifts (from a gaming friend, naturally) was Baby’s First Mythos. (And yes, if you’re wondering, I’ve read it to her.)
We already had the Cthulhu plush (a gift from another gaming friend, naturally) when P was born, and though it horrifies M to no end that I took pictures of our sweet little daughter and the high priest to the great Old Ones, well, I did. (M is a little superstitious about these things, I think.)
Yesterday, I took an updated shot, and immediately uploaded it to Facebook, so that all of my gaming geek friends could see. Cthulhu actually isn’t one of P’s plush toys; it’s on a shelf in a place of honor. It’s actually something P *likes* to be allowed to play with.
And here’s where I’m starting to have fun. P, you might remember, is very interested in taxonomies. Dinosaurs. Birds. Reptiles. Fish. What do they eat? What are they like? Where do they live? How do they relate to other creatures? Tonight, I was half-asleep in my chair, when I overheard her asking M questions about Cthulhu (the pronunciation of which we’d worked on yesterday).
P: Dad, where do Cthulhus live?
M: In the sea.
P: What do Cthulhus eat?
M: Um. Fish, I think, and sometimes…primates. Yeah.
P: Can I ride a Cthulhu?
And people think Edward Gorey was morbid? Anyway, I just can’t wait til she can wear my Miskatonic University t-shirt.
*One of my law school classmates Googled me during 1L and later said with awe, “[EH], you’re not just a geek, you’re the queen of the geeks.” That was probably the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.