Campus Character: John Tucker of the Nerd Legion

BY JASMINE ZHU
For the Daily
Published December 3, 2008

It’s Wednesday, which means the weekly Magic: The Gathering tournament is happening at Get Your Game On, a store on the corner of Packard Road and State Street. John Tucker, a store employee, greets almost every customer by name. Rah Rah Bear, a legacy player and regular customer, comes over to say hello. Later, another customer wraps his arm around Tucker in playful camaraderie.

(Max Collins/Daily)

“There’s a hundred nerds in this store because we’re having a tournament,” explained Tucker, gesturing at his domain. “I’ve always wanted to be that kind of counter jockey, and seen as a draw to the store,” Tucker said. “You come for the people. The attitude of the people behind the counter makes the store about more than just the products, more than just the discount.”

Tucker’s otherwise nondescript attire of a black T-shirt and khakis is complimented by a shock of bright orange hair. His middle name is Dynamite. It’s no joke, and he’ll pull out his driver’s license as proof. The full-time employee and part-time Cleary University student was instantly drawn to the store when it opened two years ago. Tucker was hired soon after the store opened and has been a constant fixture ever since.

“It’s not just a comic shop anymore,” Tucker said. ”It feels like my place,”

For Tucker, a normal day at the store might include sorting cards and stocking inventory. The evenings consist of Nerf Gun Wars and Duck Hunt Challenges, both classic videogames. He is part of the Nerd Legion, a group he formed with fellow employees and regular customers.

“I come to work, and I get excited about everything I do,” Tucker said. “Maybe someday I’ll introduce someone to their favorite comic book.”

Eventually, Tucker hopes to earn a degree in Entrepreneurship. For as long as he can remember, he had always wanted to open a bar that had the same convivial quality as Cheers.

“Then I came here, and I knew what I wanted to do,” Tucker said. “And if something makes you happy, there’s no reason you shouldn’t do it.”