My mom thinks I'm cool:
On geekery, nerding-out and shameless introspection.
Today is a lot of things. A military holiday, a day of remembrance, and also National Geek Pride Day. (It's also Towel Day, for Douglas Adams, which might be related.) May 25th is here, and I, for one, welcome our geeky overlords. "Geek culture" is something of a phenomenon, if you consider the fact that it's taken around 35 years, half-a-dozen geek billionaires, and Simon Pegg for it to be considered a good thing.
So what's the deal with "not fitting in" being suddenly "in"? Maybe our group has collectively transitioned into adulthood together, and like the baby boomers, is now too powerful and large to ignore? Or, maybe geek culture has simply brought too many good things to society when they needed it most?
To be honest, I've been thinking about writing this post for a few weeks. It's been on my mind and I need to get it out. Coming out as a geek isn't quite as big of a deal anymore, but it still feels good to do so. I even have a friend who's been encouraging me to put some thoughts into a formal presentation. I'm not so sure geek-life would make a good subject, but I just may do it - if I ever find the time. But, before I do, I just wanted to put a few things on paper (or, the online equivalent) and share them to absolutely nobody.
First, as a geek, it is your duty to patronize your heroes - whoever they are.
Last month, on a whim, I learned that a comedian I liked was in town. The day of, actually. It's a good thing too, because if I'd heard about it with a few days to chicken out, I would have chickened out and stayed home. Anyway, we went to see Rhys Darby perform stand up at Club 50west in SLC. I'm a stand-up geek who's never popped the cherry and made it to a live show (too nervous). The venue was really small and intimate and the show had no opening act (unless you count the owner telling 5 minutes of jokes - they were good jokes, though). We had been drinking a lot, and continued to do so, but overall, it was the single funniest night of my life. I have no idea what I expected, but suddenly Murray from Flight of the Conchords (I am such a geek) came out and told stories about being in the army, getting high in Thailand and being married. He did tons of voices and sound effects and I was absolutely dying. After the show, he came out and mingled and I bought his DVD (he signed it!) and took a photo with him. He was so nice. I was an absolute geek and, you know what—it felt really good.
|Be cool, Lindsay!|
Speaking of Rhys Darby, that DVD I bought was pretty good. Although, I was ashamed to learn after I'd met him in person that he was a bit obsessed with robots. Damn, we could have bonded. Anyway, the act in his show had a some similar material, but it was still good. One thing he talked quite a bit about in the DVD was the fact that he was such a nerd. Growing up, it was hopeless. And, it only got worse when he grew up and people just thought he was really weird. He told this great bit about trying to impress girls at a night club and having his wallet stolen. He had his own "dance routine" to impress the ladies, and although it scared most of them (all of them) away, one girl thought it was cool. That one girl ended up marrying him, and it was such a cute story. The moral, of course, being not to change for everybody, because you're bound to impress somebody. Plus, that somebody just might be the one person who actually, really and truly, gets you. The real you.
Yes, we are being co-opted.
So, I also love Simon Pegg (who doesn't?). And Simon Pegg has a great book about being a nerd called Nerd do well. But, Mr. Pegg recently got some flack about some comments he made on a press tour. I fucking love this guy, because–rather than having a canned PR statement—he explained himself. Yes, he's been taking issue with the fact that geek-culture has been co-opted by marketing experts. It's just reality. Yes, he greatly benefits from this in many ways. But, he wasn't afraid to talk openly about it. Being non-apologetic about the things that you are passionate about is what makes you a geek—not your ability to hide them and stay PC all the time.
So, why do I identify as a geek?
Well, I don't know. I just do. Here are a few examples:
When I was a child, I became obsessed—OBSESSED—with sharks. Why? No clue. But, I checked out every single book available at each library in my home town. I was teased mercilessly for being a science geek at school. I was always espousing science facts. I mean, I loved learning science stuff, and I figured everyone else did too. (Not so, apparently.) I have a thing for smart people. Really. I actually do. When someone is really good at what they do, or they are super-duper intelligent, well, it turns on more than just the lights in my head. Even if it's just knowing all the facts about the movie Jaws. Seriously. I had to beg my coworkers to let me blog about that, by the way, and I spent all day—on my holiday—writing about it. Because I fucking love it, that's why. And, they may not even use it. I don't even care!
I feel like I could go on and on. But, I'll just say this. Geeks and nerds are good people. They're great at trivia. They remember all non-essential facts and never, ever forget when someone was kind to them growing up.