It’s Sunday morning and I’m watching my neighbor leave the house for church. She has on a costume of sorts. In the winter, she wears boots she doesn’t wear at any other time of the week. She has on a long skirt, a high neck top that peaks out past her coat collar, and she has a scarf tied around her head. Variations of this costume includes different colors of skirt and shirt, flats that replace the boots in the summer, and a different patterned scarf.

This costume is entirely different from what she wears to work. It is entirely different from what she’d wear to a nice evening out. This is her church wear through and through.

500110329_6c599b3a48_oI recognize this costume because my mother wears a similar one when she’s off for “praise and worship”. My mother has longed accepted my atheism. In fact, she and my father knew I was an atheist long before I was truly cognizant of it. This doesn’t prevent her from covering her own Sunday costume with her long winter coat before I can comment on the occasions I visit Detroit.

In another corner of my life, I have finally succumbed to FaceBook. I don’t trick out my profile with all sorts of non-sense. Really, it’s just a useful tool to spy on old acquaintances,  to see where they live, and what they look like if they have posted a profile picture.

d20_4067During the reconnection process, I have added as a friend a person I worked with  years ago. “D” is what you would refer to as a “Trekie”, a “Star Wars Nerd” or, in the more general term, a “Fantasy Geek”. He’s into it all: Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Ring, The Matrix, Zena Warrior Princes, and any and all comic books ad infinitum ad nauseum.

So D is heading out the other night for his weekly D&D game (not online but with books and die, he rocks it old school), and D posts a picture of himself on his FaceBook. He’s in full wizard regalia, book in hand and a small leather satchel more than likely filled with dice tied to his belt.

He posts the picture shyly. With self-deprecating humor. But I’m not jumping on the bandwagon of friends who graffiti funny comments on his wall. Mostly because I get it. I get it because of my mother. I get it because of my neighbor.

D is as equally serious about Comic-Con as my mother is about Easter Sunday which normally requires a whole different set of costuming…on both parts.

Anthropologically speaking, I place Fantasy Geeks in the same boat as religious believers. This is going to sound harsh to some religious friends, but you really have to look beyond the helmets and swords to see the common code of conduct and ritual that rules these various worlds of Fantasy. It’s not unlike most religions I know. D takes this all very seriously. It determines his own personal code of conduct. It makes him a better person, and actually, D is better than most people I know.

Mostly I see both religion and fantasy as varying degrees of silly. This doesn’t prevent me from appreciating an old fashioned D&D game nor does it mar my undying adoration of the LOTR trilogy. This also doesn’t prevent me from attending church from time to time to check in on what my mother is currently being indoctrinated with. Well, yes it does, because mom has banned me from attending with her after my last attendance where we debated the priest’s homily on the way home.

But in the end, I let it be. It’s a tough life and D, mom, and my neighbor are doing what they feel need to get through it. Like us all. I may not understand the drive D and my mother feels towards their respective pursuits, but I respect them for their views and they return to me the same courtesy.

Live and let live.

However, this doesn’t stop me from indulging in a perverse little fantasy where Comic-Con and the Catholic church come together in a crusade type extravaganza with horses, and wizards, and Templar Knights ……