So, growing up…how many of you were called nerds? Probably more than were called geeks because it was more common to throw the n-word around than the g-word. When I was in seventh grade (nightmare-city) no one knew what a geek was, anyway. So I was most often called a nerd, and probably fit that description, but as I went through high school I definitely fell much more into geek ground. Some of my friends were absolute, gung-ho geeks. I mean, the gaming sort. I never played D&D (and if you don’t know what it is, perhaps you should just walk slowly away from this post) mostly because I didn’t come from a video game-playing family, but I would have really liked it. A lot of my geekiness took the form of actual science rather than sci-fi. I had friends who were Trekkies but I was a Star Wars fan (still am).
[We interrupt this post to make a public service announcement: The only real Star Wars movies are episodes IV, V and VI. Thank you. And now back to the post:]
There are some episodes from my life that generally illustrate why it was that I was not one of the popular crowd and had “GEEK” written all over me:
1. On the first day of sixth grade, we all stood up and said what we wanted to be when we grew up. People were giving out some of the traditional career choices (fireman – even in 6th grade!, teacher, nurse, movie star *snicker*, football player…) and I said, “payload specialist”. Not astronaut, payload specialist.
2. Times change and so do career choices. When I was in the Miss [school name] pageant (long story – will reserve for another time) we had to wear two outfits – a dressy outfit and a formal – and answer questions (in private caucus) while wearing the first while parading across the stage while wearing the second. I was asked about a potential college major. I said quantum mechanics*. I had to explain what quantum mechanics was because the judges were (1) a local dry cleaner, (2) a former county beauty pageant queen and (3) someone else. I was also wearing a lovely white outfit ca. 1900 complete with a multitude of pintucks.
3. I have this shirt:
|(actual photo of shirt – couldn’t find it online)|
Anyway, I was interested in the specific definitions of nerd and geek and the differences between the two. I know there’s overlap but I really wanted to know the difference and, well, I’m nerdy like that.
I know some people would beg to differ, but I am fairly positive I do not fall too far into the social ineptitude circle. I may not be the sparkling life at the party, but I do have a filter and I use it.
So, intelligence? Well, yes, I have it. I think my last IQ test was when I was 7 and I remember the number but (1) I don’t know how valid it would be now and (2) I’m not a number-dropper.
Obsession? Um, yes. I am not obsessed with D&D, and I have not insisted that we have Star Wars bedsheets, but there are very specific areas that I will never lose interest in and will in fact climb mountains to get books about. For instance:
- History of meteorology and forecasting
- History of the NASA space program (including unmanned – hello, there was a space program before astronauts…)
- Detailed histories/descriptions of various storms (primarily hurricanes and tornadoes but I will allow blizzards)
- Sailing and (inevitably) shipwrecks, especially those associated with storms (see #3)
- Classic science fiction (Can anyone say, Ray Bradbury??)
In addition, I can go a long way towards quoting various movies verbatim [i.e. Star Wars (the REAL ones – see above), The Princess Bride, Clue and Monty Python and the Holy Grail (and lots of other Python)] and have a great appreciation for MST3K, Doctor Who, Mythbusters (woo hoo!), TMBG, and think War Games was one of the more awesome movies from the 80’s. [I sort of hate to admit I watched and enjoyed Real Genius**…but I did.]
Plus, I think if you have read and can quote all of Douglas Adams’ Hitchiker’s Guide ‘Trilogy’, then you are an automatic geek.
So, if you’re wondering if you were/are a geek, see how you answer the questions on this geek test.
I was 23.80074% geek, just under total geek. I’m disappointed.
*Actually, I would have said Physics. The doctorate would have been in q.m.
**Augh! I meant Real Genius! I originally put Weird Science…which, ok, I did watch…but I got the plots mixed up. Hey, I was tired when I wrote the post.