What It's Like to Be Married to a Geek When You're Not So Geeky


My husband recently posted this cryptic status on Facebook: "It's a secret to everybody."

The comments from his wise-cracking friends (and "friends") started to pour in, and all suggested (or blatantly declared) that Paul, the man to whom I've been attached for 15 years, is gay. Through my heart palpitations, I IM'd Paul and demanded to know what this was all about. His response?

"Dude, it's a quote from Legend of Zelda."

I should've known. I played plenty of Nintendo as a kid. I can even hum most Super Mario Bros. tunes (from 1, 2, 3, and Super Mario World). But that part of my life is a couple decades behind me, though you'd never know it from the shelves and shelves and boxes and boxes of video games and accessories that take up too much space in our apartment. If I said that these things haven't come in handy, though, I'd be lying.

Recently, as New York City braced itself for Hurricane Irene to hit and knock out power, Paul took to the stores to buy batteries for our flashlights and matches for our candles -- except that we thought to do this a few hours after everyone else in Queens did, so we went battery- and match-less for the storm.

"Not to worry," said Paul when he came home empty-handed. He whipped out the night-vision goggles, with fresh AA batteries inside, that came with his purchase of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. "I told you I needed the prestige edition," he said, rationalizing the extra dough he spent on the video game version that came with this special accessory.

He got me there, but I'm still searching for the utility in his knowing that Ewoks now blink in the digitally remastered Return of the Jedi -- and that he was able to MacGyver a Dark Helmet (from Spaceballs) Halloween costume out of a giant plant pot, a drain stopper, cardboard, and a wire hanger.

And while Paul has to watch whatever Star Wars episode is on TV and I have to walk out of the room when this happens, we obviously have many shared interests, otherwise our marriage wouldn't survive. For instance, we've found common ground in our love for Rock Band, though I prefer to belt out (or rather, attempt to belt out) Kelly Clarkson or Pink! hits, much to metal-loving Paul's chagrin.

One day, he downloaded a song by an artist whose name I didn't recognize.

"Who's GLaDOS?" I asked innocently.

"Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System," he replied.

Blank stare.

"It's from the video game, Portal," he explained with a touch of Nick Burns, your company's computer guy, "duh" in his voice. "Actually, you might like this."

He played the game's end theme song, "Still Alive," and I couldn't help but enjoy the catchy melody and nonchalant references to murder -- so much so that I learned it on my own and surprised Paul with a performance. He was impressed with how much my singing voice sounded like GLaDOS's -- so much so that at a Rock Band party (yes, people have those) at a fellow gamer's house, Paul encouraged me to sing the ditty for everyone.

I still don't get the inside jokes in the song's lyrics (despite the fact that Paul has explained the "Maybe Black Mesa" line to me countless times), but I took pride in entertaining the gamers in attendance and feeling just a little bit geeky, myself.