By all current social measures, I can safely be placed in the category of “geek.”
I’m a librarian.
In junior high and high school, I was a “drama freak.”
I have won Star Wars Trivial Pursuit and have been known to wear a Princess Leia T-shirt.
I can fix your average computer.
I have played D&D and Magic, and read the entire Dune series.
And yes, I know what a tribble is.
In college I would still get sucked into heated discussions debating the finer points of cataloguing books. Then I’d mentally step back for a moment, listen to myself and my classmates, and think, “This conversation would make no sense and hold absolutely zero interest to anyone outside the library community. What a bunch of geeks we are!”
Since then, my geekdom has been laying somewhat dormant, only showing itself amongst trusted friends and family. I thought I had mainly gotten past it. I might never be “cool,” but maybe I could be “normal.”
I lost all hope, however, this last weekend at the Calgary Horticultural Society Garden Show. I was choosing some wildflower seeds from one of the booths and found myself gushing over the discovery of prairie crocus and shooting star seeds. I mentally observed myself spouting Latin with my fellow attendees, and imagined the eye-rolling that would occur if my brother were present. “That’s it. I thought. I am truly a geek.”
But then I had an “ah-ha” moment: we’re all geeks about something. We’re just used to using the term only about certain “somethings.” Think about it for a minute. Do you know someone who gets teary-eyed looking over the shiny chrome of a souped up car or motorcycle, and roll your eyes when they start listing off details of its construction and styling? Do you know someone who can rattle off baseball or hockey stats faster than his own Social Insurance Number? Would you call them geeks? Or someone so deeply versed in rock music they can identify a song, with artist, by it’s first riff? Do you dare use the label on them?
Simon Pegg, a guy who knows a little something about being called a “geek,” had this to say:
“Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.”
Hmmm. What’s that you say, Simon? I have a license?? Why thank you, I believe I’ll use it. I’ll spout Latin, and babble to my baby seedlings. I’ll drool over new tools and ask for compost for Christmas. I will embrace my inner geek, and, I’ll wager, be the happier for it.
Besides, normal is a setting on a washing machine.
Live long, and prosper.