Monday, September 12, 2011

Speak Out With Your Geek Out – Day 1

For those of you who haven’t read my last post, I have decided to honor this week’s event by blogging geek for five days straight. Well, that’s what I am going to attempt. We’ll see if my inner Lazy Bastard wrests the remote from my hands.  It should also be noted that each post will "off the cuff."  I will sit each day with nothing but a basic idea of what I am talking about, and a blank page on my screen.  Let's see if I make any sense...

I thought that I would talk today about what it really means to be a “Geek.” Wikipedia, that bastion of infallible knowledge, has several different definitions on its page (none of which seem very flattering). However, the one that most closely resembles my own view is this:

“A person with a devotion to something in a way that places him or her outside the mainstream. This could be due to the intensity, depth, or subject of their interest.”

Yeah, that about covers it.

The term Geek is often used interchangeably with Nerd and Dork. However, there are distinct differences. The term Nerd, for instance, generally refers to an extreme intellectual who is more interested in academic pursuits over social or physical. Now, a Nerd could very well also be a Geek, as many are. Nerds automatically find themselves on the fringes of society, so their interests will play out accordingly. However, a Dork is an all–together different species. A Dork is strictly a social class. Generally speaking, a Dork is someone with no social graces, no sense of tact, and very little empathy. Additionally, many Dorks are less intellectual than Nerds. It is possible to be all three, but such beings are rare, and generally fall to Darwinian social evolution. Meaning, they cannot stay in that state for long. Either they will take interest in intellectual pursuits, more social Geek pursuits, or just fall out of both and embrace full Dorkhood. Fortunately, full-on Dorks have few, if any, redeeming qualities, and thus are very unlikely to reproduce, thus passing their Dorkness on to future generations.

Ok, so now that we know the differences, lets look at some things that make one a Geek. As a rule, Geeks tend to have a store of “trivial” knowledge of a specific subject. In fact it is this knowledge, and more importantly the pursuit of such knowledge, that often defines a Geek’s life (at least in part). For instance, most Americans (and many others around the world) enjoy watching Star Trek. I mean, who doesn’t like Kirk and Spock, or even Picard and Riker? But the difference between a casual fan, and a Star Trek Geek (often referred to as a Trekkie or Trekker), is the fact that the Geek will know what the maximum Warp Factor of Constitution-Class Starship is (it was Warp 8, though it could reach Warp 9 at extreme risk), and that the reason Klingons didn’t have forehead ridges in the 60’s was due to budgetary constraints of the show.

Generally speaking, Geeks tend to like fringe subjects, such as Science Fiction, comic books and Role-Playing Games. However, it is possible to be a Geek about other subjects. In fact, that jock who used to put nerds in trash cans, and can now quote names and stats of every Superbowl team in history, is a Geek as well. They just don’t get referred to as such, because most Geeks resent anyone not in their circles taking what has become a badge of honor. I mean, even if that math-wiz who plays D&D and can quote every line from Star Trek II can run a 6-minute mile, it still doesn’t make him a Jock.

So, there you go. Geeks, Nerds, Dorks, Jocks; it’s like High School all over again. Me? I’m a pure Geek. I have no abnormal intellectual interests (and I suck at math), I have a beautiful wife and kids and can hold my own in just about any social situation. But, I can’t run very fast, and am a bit overweight. Yet, I can quote Star Wars, Star Trek and Conan all day long, I know the origins of dozens of comic book characters, and I play in a regular D&D game (with my wife and two other married couples).

Yeah, I’m proud of my geek pedigree.


Charles Gramlich said...

The very fact that you know there are two terms, Trekkie and Trekker is a Geek flag, man.

Tom Doolan said...

You know it! :D I've always preferred Trekkie, myself.