Apparently this past Friday was the opening day for The X-Files: I Want to Believe, and yet I stayed home unaware, utterly bored, and completely overheated in my apartment with sub-par air-conditioning.
The fact that I didn't have the opening day written down on my calendar (and the fact that my calendar is not an X-Files themed calendar) is testament to how long it has been since my days of X-Files obsession. You see, I used to be what is called an X-Phile, meaning a seriously geeky and obsessive fan of the X-Files.
How geeky was the obsession? Well, I taped every single episode from seasons 1-6 (and then gave up at season 7, because that's when Mulder left and the show stopped being good). I took care to pause the recording during commercials for optimal playback conditions. And yes, I did rewatch many of the episodes, some of them more times than I can count. (This was obviously in the days before TiVo and TV on DVD.)
Back then if you described an episode to me, I could tell you the name of the episode and what season it came from. For instance, one day while watching Jeopardy, the Final Jeopardy question asked about the name of an X-Files episode that tells a Frankensteinian type of story. Nobody on the panel knew that the answer was Postmodern Prometheus (or, for extra credit, that it came from season 5). But I knew, and I was pissed that I wasn't on the show at that moment, cause I'd have been RICH!
I could tell you the names of not only Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, but also the actors who played the side characters. (Aside from Mitch Pileggi, I can't remember these names anymore, although the name of the Smoking Man is lingering somewhere in the back of my mind, and it might start with W.) I could tell you who Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz, Clyde Bruckman, and Jose Chung were, and I could tell you the meaning of the numbers Ten-Thirteen, 11:21, and 42.
But most geeky and obsessive of all...
...and I'm very slightly ashamed to admit this, but here goes...
I was a reader of X-Files FanFiction, aka "Fan-Fic", i.e., fiction written by fans about the X-Files characters and storylines. [Insert astonished gasping]
I know, okay? I was a complete and utter nerd, just one step shy of dressing up like Scully and running off to an X-Files convention to celebrate my geekdom (and yes, they did have them, but no, I never went).
But even though I'm slightly ashamed and embarrassed to admit these things, I don't regret being such a hardcore fan. It gave me something to really enjoy doing during the tumultuous teenage years of life when you often don't really know who you are or why life is so worth living. And reading Fan-Fic made me feel a sense of enjoyment about reading. Although written by novices, some of the stories were really well-written and creative. There's a novel length story that I enjoyed so much that I printed it out and read it three more times. I still have it in a three-ring binder on my bookshelf, and you know what? I'd read it again.
Perhaps the most rewarding thing about reading Fan-Fic was the chance to see different levels of writing skill. Most teenagers read only what they must read for school, and what they must read for school usually consists of classic works, all finely crafted. The art of writing seems untouchable when this is all you see. But when you can compare works from fine amateurs with works from lousy writers who should make sure not to quit their day jobs, you can see the humanity behind the craft.
So I don't regret that obsessive geeky time of my life, because I feel like it enriched me as a person. My interest in being an X-Phile waned with the waning of the show's caliber, but I still think fondly of The X-Files.
Now once you are all done laughing at me behind your computer screens, here's a little video of Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny interviewing each other as a promo for the new film. It's actually a pretty funny segment.
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