David Ramos

From Gangsta to Geek

My name is David Ramos, and I am currently incarcerated at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center, located in Washington State. l don’t actually know but, I assume, that a lot of prison blogs are about things like criminal justice reform, violence prevention, etc… l’m not saying those things are unimportant, I do have my own opinions, what I want to talk about is something that is near and dear to me. About the thing that changed my life.
Before you roll your eyes, let me stop you right there, I am not religious. Not even a little bit. It wasn’t religion that changed me, it was nerd culture.
I know it sounds weird, but it’s totally true.
When I first got locked up I was 18 years old, 180 lbs. soaking wet, and thought I was the smartest dude ever; but in reality I was a stupid, arrogant, selfish bastard. And worst of all, I didn’t even realize it. I thought it was normal. I know most people think everyone is a douchebag at that age, but it’s a million times worse when you ‘grow up’ in a gang culture. It also doesn’t help that prison is pretty much set up for you to stagnant the entire time you’re here.
I spent the first six years of my sentence perpetuating the same b.s. patterns of thinking, speech, and actions that had led to my arrest in the first place. It’s not that I didn’t want to change, I didn’t even realize I could.
At that point in my life I was pretty much the character from “The Wheel of Time” novels, Mat Cauthon, when he had that cursed ruby dagger from Shadar Logoth and was totally evil.
Anyway, one day I was in the day room of unit and there was a group of people hanging around the same table. They were all laughing super-loud, and seemed to be having a good time. I knew the guys, but had never seen them together, so I went over to see what they were doing.
They were getting ready to play the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. I had no idea what the hell that was, but they tried hard to sell me on it nonetheless.
At first I was hesitant; but they looked like they were having so much fun that I couldn’t help but be intrigued. So I ‘made’ a character, a paladin, and joined the group. Immediately, I was hooked! It took one session of me having more fun, joy, and excitement then I could remember, to fundamentally change my life.
I also remember fighting drow and ogres, and I kept pronouncing them, “Duh-Roe” and “Oh-Greys”!
The next thing I know my social circle was different, my thought processes were no longer the same (unless it was initiative…) and the books I was reading went from urban fictions like “Dutch” to high fantasies like “The Wheel of Time” and “Malazan Book of the Fallen.”
Tabletop gaming also introduced me to other aspects of nerd culture: manga, anime, comics, sci-fi, cyberpunk, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and my personal fav Mind’s Eye Theater!
Without shame, I can say that all of these things, I love. In the future I want to talk about them and have an outlet to totally nerd out. Before I jump in and do exactly that, I want, briefly, to talk about where I started, not where I am now.
Looking back on my behavior then is very embarrassing, and diametrically opposite to how I am now. The only thing I can say to anyone reading this is: If your into nerd culture, you have no reason to hide it, you have nothing to be ashamed of, and you should feel totally confident in yourselves. Don’t pretend to be someone your not to assuage the unwashed masses.
Take it from someone that was on the other side of the fence.
Don’t let some stupid, arrogant, selfish asshole ever let you feel anything less than the awesome person that you are. Nerd culture is cool, no; it’s the fucking best!
So, I apologize for the self-righteous monologue, the upcoming posts will be less serious and more upbeat/fun, I just wanted to properly introduce myself before that…

David Ramos
DOC #317846

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