A couple of years ago I wrote this piece about what it means to be a “geek”. While the blogosphere continues to argue loudly over who’s “allowed” to be a geek, I’d like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that a geek is someone, anyone, with an unabashed passion for whatever it is they’re passionate about.
This article was originally published on August 27, 2009 on murmur.com.
Everyone loves a geek these days. The success of shows like The Big Bang Theory and Chuck are proof of that. The geeks are the main focus in these shows. They’re the characters you root for and connect with, not the off-to-the-side comic relief. If Glee is everything I hope it is, we’ll get to see even more geeky goodness (FOX is even running a marketing campaign around the term Gleek). Granted, there is ample room for improvement with the depiction of geeks on TV, but we’ve come a long way since Screech and Urkel.
From Oxford English Dictionary
geek /geek/ noun informal, chiefly N. Amer. 1 an unfashionable or socially inept person. 2 an obsessive enthusiast.
- DERIVATIVES geeky adjective.
- ORIGIN from the related English dialect word geck fool.
geek \’gek\ noun. probably from English dialect geek, geck fool from Low German, geck from Middle Low German
1: a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake 2: a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked 3: an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity
- geek·dom noun
- geek·i·ness noun
- geeky adjective
I am a geek.
Like the majority of my fellow geeks, I’m a bit awkward, but not socially inept. I like to believe that people do like me. And I definitely do not bite the heads off of anything (except maybe gummy bears, but usually I just pop the whole thing in my mouth). So, according to the dictionary, that leaves us with “enthusiast/expert”. And that is what I love about being a geek.
We geeks are an intellectual bunch, we do our homework. Geeks have a insatiable thirst for knowledge, they can immerse themselves completely in a topic until they learn everything they possibly can. And then, they stick around to learn more and improve on their knowledge. I know geeks who have charted the descendants of William the Conqueror, geeks who practically speak in Java, geeks who can name all the members of all the Legions of Superheroes, geeks who plan raid strategy in their sleep, geeks who can visualize a program just from the code, geeks who can complete Fallout 3 blindfolded. Geeks know their shit.
Geeks are also passionate people. They genuinely and immensely enjoy something: comic books, physics, games (board games, LARPG, MMORPG, FPS), baseball statistics, writing, computer programming, fonts, TV shows, music, microbews, science fiction. It doesn’t matter what it is, geeks are, well, geeks about something. Ever talk to a geek about the thing they’re into? Their enthusiasm is infectious. You can help but smile, even if you can’t keep up with them.
Geeks revel in their geekdom. They know they’re geeks for something and they embrace it. Their geekiness gives them confidence, and that confidence combined with ardent enthusiasm is very sexy. That’s why I love geeks.