Superheroes and Greek cuisine

By Sarah Allen - [email protected]

Author Laurie Colwin once said, “Without fellowship, life is not worth living.” And this past weekend has me thinking quite a bit about fellowship.

You see, Saturday marked the Cincinnati Comic Expo. And Sunday was spent having a “group night” with friends from college.

I’ve written before about the comic expo, and about my get-togethers with college friends. But having both in the same weekend made me realize that Colwin was absolutely right: Fellowship does make life worth living.

Take the comic expo, for starters. It’s hard to explain such an event; you just have to experience it – like the feel of sunlight on the first warm day of spring, or the taste of freshly made cookie dough.

Except, of course, add in a few Stormtroopers and caped crusaders.

No matter where we were at the expo – waiting in line to meet some celebrity, searching for comic books, or simply wandering through the elbow-to-elbow crowd – everyone was willing to not just be friendly, but to truly engage.

For instance, a friend and I were waiting in line to meet Robin Lord Taylor (the actor who plays The Penguin in Fox’s “Gotham”). At least, we thought we were waiting to meet him.

Turned out the twisting, seemingly endless line was for a different actor. Thank goodness for a fellow nerd we’d started talking to – a veteran who had been to countless comic conventions – who pointed us in the right direction to Taylor’s (thankfully shorter) line.

That’s just one example, of course.

But it’s impossible to go to such an event without taking away several things. The obvious, of course, are some awesome movie posters and other merchandise. The second is a sense of camaraderie … and a strange desire to adopt “Nerds unite!” as a battle cry.

But then came Sunday.

Ever since my friends and I graduated from college, we’ve continued a tradition we call “group nights.” Nowadays, our get-togethers tend to actually start in the afternoon, but the name has somehow stuck – as much a tradition now as our many inside jokes.

Each month we meet at someone’s house for food, games, and the occasional movie. But mostly we just talk, falling into the same familiarity we had in college.

I wish I could properly describe our conversations each month: a lot of nothing, a bit of everything. We laugh, we vent, we discuss. I suppose you could say we have the sort of conversations that only years-long friends can have – the kind that is like falling into a comfortable bed on a cold winter’s night.

This Sunday, my friend Kathryn played hostess, serving up a smorgasbord of Greek appetizers. We ate outside, beneath a sprawling tree.

Afterward, we played a game – only to eventually forgo the rules completely (something we have a habit of doing). And really, there wasn’t much competition, just a lot of joking.

And as I left, I was reminded of the comic expo, of that camaraderie.

It’s strange, really: We, as humans, can foster solidarity among both friends and strangers.

Of course, those are two very different types of fellowship, but the feeling is very similar: a sense that we belong. And that feeling is always powerful, always so much a part of who we are and who we try to be.

Unfortunately, more often than not, we tend to focus first on our differences, and then use those like metals in a forge, shaping them into weapons.

We often forget the comfort that comes with fellowship, the peace we find when we settle into our similarities like they’re a favorite set of pajamas.

So, yes, like I said earlier: “Nerds unite!” But, actually: “Friends unite, too.” (I feel like I need a power ring or something, though, if I’m going to say that).

And, come to think of it: “Sports fans unite!” “Family unite!” “Classmates unite!”

I don’t know… “Ballerinas unite!” Pick something, anything – whether it’s a shared interest or a common past. Find that one thing (or perhaps several things) that makes you, too, want to proclaim: “Unite!”

Because we all need something that unites us.

Reach Sarah Allen at 937-393-3456, ext. 1680, or on Twitter @SarahAllenHTG.

By Sarah Allen

[email protected]