"Yes," Rohrich replied. "That's sound energy."

That's one of many stories Simon Rohrich's mother, Helen, likes to tell about her only child. She says that he's always managed to pull off the impossible, starting before he was even born.

"I think my own primitive inclination is that he was oppositional and defiant from conception," she says. "The doctor said I wouldn't be able to conceive anymore because I had lost so many children. I had 13 pregnancies and he's my only chick. And when the doctors tried to deliver him, he was sideways. He was neither breech nor normal; he had to be sideways. That's Simon."

When Simon started school, he had trouble getting up in the morning. So, Helen says, he built his own solar-powered alarm clock in the first grade.

"He was always very observant and curious," she says. "He always wanted to know everything. You couldn't describe 'hot' to Simon. He had to know exactly what it was and why it was. Before Simon even started first grade, he could take a Commodore computer program and rewrite it to work on another computer."

In 1981, after what she describes as a rough marriage, Helen Rohrich divorced Simon's father and took her 7-year-old son to Minnesota.

As a single mother, Helen worked full-time while trying to put herself through school. She's now a family counselor, but when Simon was growing up, they were very poor. Still, she did her best to nurture his enthusiasm for science. She would reward him for cleaning his room with a trip to the local library, where he would pore over books about Ronald Reagan's space defense program and computers.

"I credit my mother for my brain," Rohrich says. "She bought me Legos — the fanciest Technic Legos with gears and motors . . . She would save up for months. She never told me 'just because it is' to any question I had. She would give me the hard scientific facts. I was a latchkey kid, but instead of watching TV, my mom would drop me off at the library."

When he was 13, Rohrich baffled teachers by not doing a single homework assignment but acing all his tests. The school counselor asked Simon what it would take for him to do his homework. He told her he wanted to take an electronics course at a nearby junior college. The counselor agreed, so Simon did all his homework in exchange for getting to attend the college class.

He was somewhat of an outcast in school because he wore glasses and had big ears and played Dungeons & Dragons. He got bullied. "When I was a kid, if you were a Dungeons & Dragons nerd, even the band geeks beat you up," he says. "But whenever I got picked on or something, I would just think, 'The jock asshole, when he gets older, and he turns on the light at his trailer house because he can't get a good job because his knees are blown out from playing football — when he turns the lights on, the electricity he's using is made by the nerd he beat the shit out of in high school."

Though he consoled himself with his "revenge of the nerd" fantasies, Simon says, he reached a point where he hid his intelligence from other students. He stopped participating in the science club and joined the wrestling team.

"I found I could actually get a date if I was on the wrestling team," he says. "I suddenly had more friends, too."

He also showed more attitude as he got older and bigger, Helen says. "He thought he was going to be man of the house and make the rules," she recalls. "He was a wrestler, and he learned from life that if you're the biggest, you can push people around. I knew the longer I accepted that behavior, I was teaching him to dish it out. And I kept telling Simon, if he kept behaving and acting like his dad, he could go live with him. He didn't think it would happen."

But on July 4, 1990, when Simon was 16, it did happen. Helen put him on a bus to Phoenix to live with his father. "Sending him away was the hardest thing I ever did," she says.

He wanted to come back after two weeks. "Living with my father was kind of like having a roommate," Simon says — and not in a good way. "I paid the propane bill every month in our trailer house."

He went to Red Mountain High School in Mesa, where he joined the wrestling team and worked at Shoney's as a dishwasher. He also threw house parties for profit, buying kegs and charging $2 admission from partygoers.

Soon after graduation, he moved out of his father's trailer and found a roommate. He says that roommate was Sean Delaney, a Tempe-born record producer who worked with KISS throughout the '70s and early '80s and had fallen on hard times in the '90s, suffering from diabetes and strokes and working with unknown country and a cappella groups. Delaney was almost 30 years older than Rohrich. He died in 2003.

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6 comments
buffalobills515
buffalobills515

Love the story. It is great to hear a fellow SCA guy doing great things in the world. I will need to put a post about this inventive warrior on my medieval blog

Dennis Ward
Dennis Ward

Simon used to work with/for me a few years ago at ValueOptions. He's a gentle giant and I'd definitely want him in my corner.Glad things are going good for you, Simon.

Simon Rohrich
Simon Rohrich

I hope you have been practicing. ;-)Thank you for the doubleedged compliment. You and you household are formidable. I do ride on my rep. I don't hurt anyone on purpose. Any injury I cause that results in financial loss I feel terrible about.

see you in two weeks,thank you in advance-Nerd of War-

BammBamm
BammBamm

Only the bravest men dare poke the bear. Let alone 2 of them. See you @ practice

Leo
Leo

Its about freaking time you guys did a story on the SCA here in Arizona and the fact that you did one about Simon shows some actual intelligence. Simon is a straight thug and the inventor of the phrase "militant geeks" Alot of the time though he rides to much on his reputation as a bone breaker. He hurts one guy a year and the rest of the year everybody in the game is like "OOOH here comes Simon and Bam BAm." But us Romans have no fear and Constantly have to show the rest of the community that he isnt that mean. Believe me though when I step on the field the first thing I do is look for Simon cause when he hits you and your not aware of it its like being struck by a runaway train. But if your ready for him he falls just like all the rest. Good luck selling your Spear Brother and remember Saterday Night at Highlands is the bucket party swing by your more then welcome LORD LEO Roman Thunder

 
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