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It's 1982. The scene is a cafeteria in a nondescript middle school in Lexington Park, Maryland, named Esperanza. Middle school for those not familiar with the term, is basically the same thing as junior high. That's not very exciting, but I didn't want any terminology getting in our way.

Across the table one borderline geek, a Roman Terenzini, asks another borderline geek, a Mark Darin, a simple question, "Is that the new Atari Age?" Now, that's just a sad, sad beginning to any conversation. These days, well these days no one would know what the hell you were talking about. Atari Age hasn't been published for the better part of 20 years. That's not the point though. The point is...Jesus, what was my point? ...I was getting a latte, then I spilled some on my lap...screamed in pain.. Oh yes. The budding, young geeks.

That pathetic attempt at contact, from one geek to another was first step in to a lager more bizarre world than I would have imagined. For the seven years that followed, "Is that the new Atari Age," my friend Mark Darin and I grew beyond our geekdom, to a strange level of social status that few obtain. We were the Otters. Everyone knew us and we had almost no natural enemies. We were the guys at the party who had every jock and "popular girl" singing the Lumberjack Song at the top of their lungs. We were the guys that had stands full of football fans chanting "DNA," that's dioxiribo-nucleac-acid to you pal. I can't spell the damned word, but sure as I sit here no one in the stands knew what the hell DNA was. We were in Southern Maryland, after all.

We were the guys on the stage, even if there wasn't a stage. That's what it was all about. All that from that goddamned Atari Age. Go figure.

 


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