None of this is to say I intend to change, however. I've just experienced an epiphany, a revelation that I'm far more shallow than I previously believed. What good would this do me if I then immediately changed? Besides, having discovered I'm human after all, I'd appreciate a chance to enjoy my flaws, thank you very much. Maybe in a few years I'll give up my swag-caching ways, return to the light side and pay money for everything I own. But for now, the hoodie really is one of the most comfortable garments I've ever owned, and screw you if you don't like it.
I even wore it out of the house once, away from a gaming convention, on "my time," as Brad Spiccoli would say. Twice, in fact. The first time was en route home after GDC. I was sitting on the airplane, Rock Band hoodie pulled over my head, listening to something on the iPod to drown out the obnoxious safety presentation (seriously, does anyone really have trouble with seatbelts? And if they do, wouldn't their demise be good for the gene pool?) when someone tapped me on the arm.
"Are you a developer?" they asked. I shook my head no. "There was a convention. We just came from it," he explained, although he didn't have to. His expensive jeans, volition T-shirt and suit-wearing accomplice standing next to him told me more than his words, but I smiled and told him I knew.
"I'm the enemy," I said. "A reporter."
He smiled, nervously, and turned away. Afterward, I wondered: How much of an enemy wears a Rock Band hoodie? Whose enemy would do that? Did Lester Bangs wear rock T-shirts? And if so, only certain ones? Would Lester wear a toque just because his head was cold, ignoring the corporate rock logo on the front? I doubt it. Then again, Lester Bangs was an asshole. I should get over myself.
The second time was to the game store, if you can believe it. I didn't mean to. After all, this is the place I usually avoid wearing any of my TechTV swag, because I don't want to feel like "that guy"; the guy who wants everyone to know He's Important on The Internet. I didn't even realize what I was doing, just put on the hoodie, layered a jacket over it and walked outside. When I was paying for my purchase, the dude behind the counter said "Rock Baaaand," in that way that people do, and I realized what I'd done.
"I haven't actually played it yet," I said, hoping that would confuse his senses long enough for me to make my escape without having to fess up I'd gotten the hoodie at a game convention; was, in fact, a game writer; and have to endure a horribly embarrassing conversation about What I Do, and How Awesome It Is.
I realized from the look on his face that my profession to not have played the game, in spite of wearing the hoodie, made me look like another kind of jackass entirely. But the plan worked: He stammered something about it being awesome while handing me my receipt, and I was gone. Two seconds later, I was out the door and the icky feeling passed. Two seconds after that, I was back in the car, headed home, toasty and warm; getting over myself. Almost.