This will be the first week since March 27, 2007, to not host an episode of The Totally Rad Show. It started out on just some Tuesday and stayed that way until September of 2010 when TRS switched to a daily format, though I’d still hoard a week’s worth of episodes for the next Tuesday all the same. That was my day to catch up and hang out with Jeff Cannata, Alex Albrecht, and Dan Trachtenberg, three totally rad guys with last names that slap spell check right in its pompous face.
That was my day to discuss (in my head, anyways) all the things that I couldn’t discuss with the people I normally saw every day. Neither my coworkers, my classmates, nor my friends could fathom the value that movies, comics, and video games had to me. I mean, they understood that those things were important to me, sure, but they didn’t get it. Not like these guys. They knew things that I wish I knew and saw deeper into things that I wish I could see. They were candid and open in a way that, quite honestly, made me jealous.
For me and I’m sure most of you, those years spent in public school were confounding at the time but, in the end, necessary. They determined whether you were going to be a good guy or a bad guy. The people you hung out with, the extracurriculars you took part in, and the way you approached schoolwork molded you into what you are today. If you were bullied or needlessly praised or just another brick in the wall, these things took your pliable form and shaped it into your current you, though any given combination would not always yield the same results. People are people, after all.
The years following, whether in college or in the workforce, are just as important. They refine you. You were a little lump of Play-Doh shaped into a house, but these years would be spent adding a door, some windows, maybe a fence. They take what is there and build it up into what will probably inform your decisions for the rest of your life.
And this is when I met the Totally Rad Show guys. Nary a year into my first year of college, fresh from a proper spring break (watching movies, playing video games, and competing in my first national dodgeball tournament), Revision3 decided to supplement my regular Internet video viewing with a new show. It featured one fellow that I already knew (and liked) from their flagship program Diggnation and two other guys that I kinda sorta recognized (but who knows from where).
Watching TRS, though, was nothing like a genie snapping its fingers; I did not have some profound, revelatory moment where the cosmos became clear and I could see past, present, and future all the same. It was a slow burn. These three seemingly innocuous dudes would slowly, patiently creep up on me.
The way they talked eventually seeped into my everyday life. The way they thought eventually became my regular thought process. They subtly taught me everything there was to being a stand-up person within the whirling dervish of good ol’ chaotic life. They showed me with the way dug into and rooted around Puzzle Quest that there was more to thinking about video games besides good and bad. They paved the way for me to see movies as more than pretty pictures and loud sounds when they reviewed Spider-Man 3. Things like Nintendo Power, Star Wars, and Bill Nye informed my passions, but TRS guided me in appreciating them.
The TRS guys taught me how to think critically. Flying in the face of the like/dislike, upvote/downvote culture that we’ve (unfortunately) cultivated today, three dudes on the Internet showed me that everything—video games, movies, television shows, etc.—all lie on a gradient, and much like time, that spectrum is relative. People can like what they like, dislike what they dislike, and ignore what they want because applying critical thinking to it all is what’s important. To exercise your brain and form your own opinion, nurturing and feeding it until it’s ready to be given to the world, is the single most important thing you can do as a person.
And they showed me that it can be done with passion and grace. More than that, they showed me that it can be done without giving a flip about what other people think. Dan Becomes a Man (namely Dan Becomes an Englishman) might as well be exhibit A-Z of not being afraid to learn and simply pursuing and sharing your passions, to do what you like while being open to new experiences.
To not say no. To not be cynical.
This will be the first week since March 27, 2007, that I will be without three totally rad guys.