Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pauked Again

pauk vb 1 : to maliciously and intentionally reveal story or plot information to another person who does not wish to know it yet

In January of 1998, I got two videogames I'd been waiting a long time to play : Ultima Online, for the PC, and Resident Evil 2 for the Playstation. The amazing nature of Ultima Online made it the clear priority for my valuable game time. I would get to Resident Evil 2 eventually, and I knew I would enjoy it when I did.

Enter a co-worker at the time named John Pauk. He knew I had gotten the game and was excited about it, just as he was. Every day, he would come in and begin talking about what he did in RE2, spoiling parts of the game as he went.

Every time he started talking about the game, I would tell him to stop, saying that I would be getting to it very soon and didn't want the surprises spoiled. He would do so, but only after having revealed the next thing he had done in the game. The next day, he would forget my request to shut up about the game and begin anew, with some new cool thing he had seen or done in it.

When I finally did sit down to play RE2, much of the first half was indeed spoiled for me. Just the little tidbits he had mentioned every day before I cut him off were enough to ruin much of the experience.

Soon I had my only available revenge, as I started using the term "pauk" to warn others not to spoil things for me, and not just videogames either. Television, movies - anytime someone went too far in the description of something like that, I would halt them with the plea "Don't pauk me!"

I had a few of them even using the term, too. I tried to get it into the greater cultural lexicon, but time erased it from their memories and today I am probably the only one who uses the term at all.

The reason I mention this is because I got pauked this morning, and am very bitter about it. There's little recourse when one is pauked. I don't believe in a pauk for a pauk, so I did not pauk the offending party even though I had the ability to do so.

Why do people pauk? I think it has something to do with GCI, or geek cred insecurity. In many situations where I've been pauked, it's been by someone who knows my interests, knows that I stay on top of it (taping TV shows, reading magazines and websites about it), and feels insecure about their own geekness in my presence.

There is a naturally occurring personality type that always seeks to one-up everyone around them to shore up their own walls of self-doubt. In the comic strip Dilbert there is a character called Topper that always does this. This is the type of person who pauks.

After my pauking today, I plugged in my Ipod and let the music wash away the bitterness about it all. It worked, to some extent, but nothing can salvage the thing I was pauked on. Luckily, I have a lot of interests and it's impossible for one person to pauk them all.

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