I was raised in Middle Earth - OR I've read them since first grade so I might as well have..
You know how people say reading to the fetus before birth makes the baby smarter? Well, it didn't exactly make me smarter, but it gave me a good imagination. My mother, being a twenty-something, was enraptured by JRR Tolkien and his work, and word-bathed me in it since I was only an inch long. That makes for being a weird kid amongst all the others. While the other kids were playing in the sand-box, or running around the classroom, I had a LOTR novel in my hand and my nose in the spine. Most people would think that would be awesome, to be able to read Tolkien at the age of seven, and, what's more, understand it.
It wasn't really fun though, living in Middle Earth, in, what seemed to me, a more civilised society than the one called first grade, because it didn't exactly get me many friends and I was forever after known as "The Smart One." This didn't change in the rest of elementary school, or middle school (imagine hearing everyone say, "hey! Ask HER, she's smart!) or high school for that matter. That might be why I started wearing black, dying my hair and listening to death metal-you never know. My social abilities were lacking, and still are, and my math left, and still does, much to be desired; and, a thriving imagination, stuck in a world that doesn't exist on this plane doesn't make X=Aragorn when it should be X=42.
So, if that was all so bad as I make it out to be, then why am I here, at Tolkien Online, the biggest fan-base for JRR Tolkien and LOTR? Most-probably the very same reason I read the books in the first place. To escape. Because sometimes it just feels like the world could make a lot more sense, but if it did, it would fall completely apart. Because in the end, it all comes down to the fact that I was raised in Middle Earth. It may not be all around me. Or right around the corner from the local coffee shop, but it's there. Plain and simple. Besides, in Middle Earth, X just might equal Aragorn, or Legolas, or Elrond, or Faramir...