Recently my family and I went to our favorite local used book store, Books Galore, for free RPG day. And if you don’t know what RPG means, lucky you! It was Free Role Playing Game Day. There were no long lines out the door like there were on Free Comic Book Day. Nobody was dressed up. My husband was the one who wanted to go. I had to ask what RPG meant. I’m a geek, but not that kind of geek. He wanted us all to go so that we could get the free items and give them to him, of course. That was fine with me. I’m happy enough to go to any book store, anytime. Ditto that for libraries.
I am not however going to play a role-playing game. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried. More than once. I am married to a man who plays DND weekly. I have tried to join in. But I prefer my aliens to your dragons. Don’t even bother talking to me if it involves Elves or Wizards. I dislike both. Wizards are demigods. I am an atheist, I don’t believe in demigods or wizards either. I don’t believe in magic. I believe in science. An Orc is a joke to me. Give me an Andorian or an Vulcan any day! I am all Sci-Fi and no Fantasy.
I actually resent the genres being linked together. I prefer the science fiction of the future over the fantasy of the past. I would not have been better off in in the past, when epileptics were misunderstood and killed for being possessed. I do not long for days of yore and gore with mythical creatures that breathe fire and doom. Dragons bore me. Space thrills me! Technology may yet save me! I hope for tomorrow’s aliens with gleaming spaceships and medical technology that far outweighs our own. I want time machines and Dermal Re-generators!
Even my level of sci-fi nerdiness is affected by my epilepsy. I can out-geek anyone when it comes to Star Trek. I always prefer the future where poverty and racism is gone and medical science can cure any disease. I dream of shining white and sterile operating rooms with no blood. I hope for medical tri-corders more than anything else. Well, that’s a lie. I do want a transporter. I want to take my damn molecules apart and send them across space. I don’t even need a time machine. As a person who cannot drive, getting quickly to Thailand or the grocery store would suffice nicely. Of course, I want Space Doctors who cure epilepsy. They both seem equally implausible and space aged to me.
Despite my intense love of sci-fi short stories and Star Trek, I actively dislike Star Wars. In the bookstore, I got into a heated discussion with my friend’s 10 year old son about why I should like Star Wars. He couldn’t comprehend how I could like Star Trek but not Star Wars. I told him that I preferred peaceful missions of exploration to constant war. He countered with the Klingons’ war like nature. I told him the Klingons weren’t everything. They were just a fun addition to the overall mission of PEACEFUL SPACE EXPLORATION. I may or may not have repeatedly said, “The Prime Directive!” or “All Power to the Engines!”
I didn’t feel like getting into my complete scientific theory as to why I think Star Trek is better than Star Wars with a 10 year old. But I’ll break it down for you. Lightsabers are much more offensive to my brain than phasers. I suffer from Photosensitive Epilepsy. Flashing neon red and green lights irritate my brain. Lightsabers hurt my brain. The color red is a seizure triggering color. The lovely amber tone of phaser fire is not. Lightsabers are an occupational hazard. Star Wars equals seizures. All of the episodes have long periods of lightsaber fights that make my head ache. Once I’ve had a seizure watching a movie or a TV show, it always feels like a seizure about to happen. That is a very dangerous feeling. I try to avoid that feeling. I dislike Star Wars because it feels like a seizure. It’s just one more thing epilepsy has taken away from me.
At least there’s always Star Trek, with less fighting and much less flashing red and green. Of course, my kids are still always on strobe light duty, ready to tell me when to look away. Star Trek uses plenty of flashing lights in its own right. The Borg are my least favorite aliens because inside their cubes it is always blinking and flashing and strobe lighting. I have to cover my eyes and just listen. Resistance is Futile. I always skip the Borg episodes.
It makes me angry that everything has to flash. I take it personally. Scientist know that Photosensitive Epilepsy is real and patterns of flashing lights can cause seizures. Still, the whole world is out there, flashing, screaming, “I don’t care about your weird brain.” I think that the world would still be exciting and fun without constant flashing. I have to skip my township’s annual parades since they always run their volunteer fire department trucks up and down the streets, lights flashing away. You won’t see me out for the Fourth of July Parade. My kids want me to take them; it’s a parade! But they know, fire trucks aren’t my friend. I wish my brain wasn’t wired this way. But it is. *Shrug* I am slowly coming to terms with that and what it means to me. On somedays I’m just waiting for future self to appear and take me away. Or the Aliens; whoever gets here first.
Live long and Prosper. And please turn off the strobe light.