Earl is an LA-born actor/improviser that wants desperately to be loved. Hah, not really. He'll eat all your leftovers if you're not careful. He's done it before. Tweets at @earl_baylon. Earl Baylons at earlbaylon.com. Tumblrs at Nerdoholic.


Here it is, approximately 1 hour and 21 minutes before I’ve failed in my Agently duties. Why’d I do it? Well, mostly because I’ve been quite busy the last few days. At some point, I’m going to have to sleep for a entire day before my body just starts shutting down, I think.

Also, I kinda just wanted to see if I could churn something out in less than two hours. I know, you’re thinking, “It’s takes him more than two hours for some of those lackluster posts?” Yes, unfortunately it does. I blame the ADD, which I read is totally made up. I dunno, I seem to deal with it every day. If it isn’t ADD, it’s a mixture of very short attention spans and high distractibility. That makes me wonder if there’s a correlation between my attention problems and the availability of broadband internet.

Well, up to now, still debating what entry should happen.

It’s a tossup between “Agent Earl’s Top 6 Bits of Science Trivia” and “The Moment I Knew I Would Never Be Cool Again.”

Lists take time, thinks Earl. And look at that, design clients hitting me up right now. I’m going to cut this close. Here it is.

The Moment I Knew I Would Never Be Cool Again

My fifth year at UC, Irvine was an interesting one. At the time, I was living in a 2-bedroom place with five other guys, in an apartment complex just off campus: Dartmouth Court. Our living room was a maybe 15×20 foot space, with 5 computer desks lining the walls, and a couple of laptops on the dinner table. Our electricity bill was mighty! Also, this was pre-widely available wireless routers… so, wires everywhere!

Besides the copious amounts of frozen pizzas, alcohol, and manflesh stored in that apartment, there was a commodity that we never seemed to have a shortage of: magazine subscriptions. It was a pretty good smattering of the paper publication landcape that we happened to find in our mailbox every month, as well. There were “bro” mags, the tech mags, the video game mags, the computer mags. We had a little bit of everything.

One day, after a particularly long day on campus, I came home to the apartment and just vegged on the couch for an hour or two. Once I finally got around to walking around the apartment to turn on my computer, I noticed that our monthly subscriptions had come, and were sitting on the dinner table. Only one of my roommates was home at the time, and he was probably doing engineering homework, so I really have no witnesses.

There, on the top of the pile of magazines, was the latest issue of Maxim. On the cover… probably Britney Spears, or Jessica Alba, or someone from Eden’s Crush or Coyote Ugly, or someone else that was relevant at the time. Let’s say it was Natassia Malthe, because I was totally all about that.

Natassia Malthe, no kidding, the only reason I started drinking Killian's Irish Red.
Natassia Malthe, no kidding, the only reason I started drinking Killian’s Irish Red.

“Ooh, Maxim!” came out of my mouth. This alone is a weighty confession.

I walked over to the table, picked up the magazine, and started flipping through it. As I was turning away from the table to head back to the couch, my eye caught the cover of the magazine that lay under the issue of Maxim.

“Ooh, Maximum PC!” came out louder than my previous outburst.

Without a second thought, I dropped the Maxim back on the table and picked up the Maximum PC, not even bothering to head back to the couch to start reading. After a minute or two of standing there looking through the table of contents, I realized what I had done.

I had, by dropping the Maxim in favor of Maximum PC, subconsciously made a decision about what was more important. It was a defining moment for me. Sure, I liked beer, and women, and dirty jokes, and questionable fashion choices, and the other aspects of bro culture. But, my true nature came had out in that very second. I loved computers, and computer games, and overclocking, and new tech, and water cooling, and dream rigs. That’s what really mattered to me.

The roommate in question, sitting at the table in question, holding a cup of questionable brew.
The roommate in question, sitting at the table in question, holding a cup of questionable brew.

I asked my roommate, who was sitting at his computer desk if he saw what I just did. He was designing a PCB or something. He had no interest in the activities of a soft-science major like myself. He looked at me like I was a gnat in the face of a newly-yoked ox. Evidently, my moment of realization was mine, and mine alone.

I looked out at that dark and lonely nerd-path set before me, and trudged headlong into its enveloping darkness – or warm embrace, whatever suits you.

Almost 10 years later, I helped start a website called Agents of GUARD.

And now I’m going to take a World of Warcraft break.

This, folks, has been an entry of Agent Under the Wire.  Today’s post was brought to you by the letter “Q.”

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