I suppose a lot of writers are weird kids. I was, though I was enough of an introvert you couldn’t necessarily tell by looking just how weird. I was too worried about what people thought. I didn’t have enough social acumen to realize that part of the reason I wasn’t exactly popular might be the clothes I wore, or my lack of interest in sports, or my obsession with the original Star Trek, or the way I was always reading or playing D&D. Part of the problem was surely that I was just a skinny pale kid. With glasses. And braces. And freckles. And a sort of light bulb shaped head.
But this makes it seem like I feel sorry for myself, and the truth of the matter is that I had a fantastic childhood, with great and loyal friends and a loving and supportive family. I don’t think I’d change anything except a few poor decisions, and a few words I’ve since regretted. And I surely wouldn’t trade in my idols for the popular ones. Sure, I always dug The Beatles, and still do. And there are probably a lot of men my age who picked up cues from Kirk and Spock. (And no, I don’t mean how Kirk got to score with alien babes; I’m referring instead to compassionate leadership and standing up for the right thing, and always coming through for your friends and allies even at risk of your life or your career.) But my biggest idol was Hannibal of Carthage, and I’m sure I never met anyone else my age who thought he was as cool as I did. Or thought that he was cool at all. That was just weird.