So Many Geeks, So Little Time

Geekery deekory dock
The geek worked round the clock
BIOS chimed one
And said, “You’re done!”
Geekery deekory dock

What defines a geek? The old stereotype of slide rules, pocket protectors, and black-rimmed glasses held in the middle by an adhesive bandage no longer applies. Is it late nights spent coding hunched over a keyboard while your eyes glaze over from monitor fatigue? An ability to explain at length the difference between all of the Star Wars releases and what Lucas *should have* done with the films? A predilection for technology toys and a tendency to check your email on your mobile device every few minutes? Lust for dice and RPG’s?

Even some of the so-called geek quizzes can’t provide a straight answer. One rather-insulting quiz insinuates that all geek-minded people have low personal hygiene with questions like, “Have you worn one pair of clothes all week?” and “Do you make rude and disgusting noises in bed for your own enjoyment?” An attempt to draw a correlation between the size of one’s manhood and the robustness of one’s hard drive perpetuates the geeks-must-be-men stereotype. It just isn’t so. There are many geeky girls, too, and damn, are they hot!

Innergeek’s Geek Test is much more truthful. Checking the box next to statements such as, “I have quoted Yoda in conversation or debate, at least semi-seriously,” “I like to make people think I’m weird,” or “I have hacked into another computer system,” is much more on par with the geeks I know. The final statement, “I can think of other things that should get me points on this test,” is the most telling because nearly all of my friends are geeky about their particular interests that aren’t always mainstream, be it Hitchhiker’s Guide or obscure programming languages. (Is anyone else nervous about the upcoming H2G2 movie?) There aren’t just one or two things that can define someone as a geek, but rather an entire universe to choose from.

Put me in a room of gaming geeks, and the only reason I’ll have a clue what is going on is that Aaron has been patient enough to explain some of the finer points to me. Put me in a room of web-and-design-oriented geeks, and I’ll ROTFLOL when someone mentions basing CSS stylesheets on specific IP addresses so they can piss off unwanted site visitors. A recent attempt to explain the useful Bluetooth relationship between my tech toys to a non-geek was met with laughter and an exclamation of, “You’re such a nerd! I love it!!!”

It can be awkward at times to mix with geeks of other flavors because everyone is so entrenched in their particular genre of geekiness, but I’ve grown very comfortable with my geek status. As Chris Knight reminds us, “When you’re smart, people need you.” Geek diversity is a good thing.

Take a peek in a cubicle farm. Check your neighborhood basements. Befriend the start-up next door. Whether the world is real or fantasy, geeks rule.