This isn’t so much a blog entry as an excuse to post an ‘article’ that I was asked to write by an online magazine who then never bothered to publish it. Since I liked the article, I’m throwing it up here. Enjoy!
I am a geek. Unashamedly and undeniably. I’ve got replica lightsabers, action figures, dozens of sci-fi books, the lot. I can pretty much quote the original Star Wars trilogy word for word, and I work in tech support. Fairly standard qualifications for the ‘Geek’ label to be applied to me then. But what is a geek? Well the Oxford dictionary defines it thus:
Geek – noun, informal
- an unfashionable or socially inept person
- [usually with modifier] a knowledgeable and obsessive enthusiast: a computer geek
Whilst the first part is – unfortunately – usually true, it’s the second part that really defines a geek. I mean we all know someone unfashionable or socially inept. That doesn’t make them a geek – just someone who dresses badly and doesn’t do well at parties. It’s that detailed knowledge of a subject which they obsess over that truly defines someone as a geek. And that means almost anyone can find themselves on that slippery slope to geekdom, and late nights on internet forums arguing over the exact length of an Imperial Star Destroyer…
And to prove it, here is a list of some of the most common varieties of geek.
Computer Geek – Rumoured to be able to speak in binary and have USB ports surgically installed into their brain stem, these geeks obsess over their machines. They lovingly build their own super-powered, LED-lit, water-cooled PC’s, and attach them to their own home networks. They can type a reply on a message board faster than you can blink, and they never pay for their software ‘cause they can get it all online for free. They tend to fund their obsession by repairing your knackered technology, and/or working for an IT department. You can spot them by their pale skin, wide, dilated eyes, and over-enlarged clicking fingers. They usually hate iGeeks.
iGeeks – We all know one. These are the drones that make up Steve Jobs’ army of fanatical followers. They would sell their own mothers for the latest iPhone, and suffer catastrophic withdrawal symptoms if separated from their beloved apple-marked toys for too long (usually about thirty seconds.). They will blindly buy any product with the sacred logo on it, completely ignoring other superior products, and vociferously denounce all other technology as being inferior. Usually spotted wearing snarky t-shirts, spiked hair, and with little white headphones in their ears.
Trekkies/Trekkers – Possibly the most famous of the geeks. Will happily turn up anywhere in their lycra ‘uniforms’ with their pointy elf-ears and proceed to bore everyone in the vicinity with a conversation on exactly why the Enterprise would beat the Death Star. Will kill for the opportunity to meet a cast member, and often seem to deify Gene Roddenberry. If more than two gather, they can debate for weeks over which captain – Kirk or Picard – was superior. Responsible for inventing the whole Klingon language. Usually identified by the lycra ‘uniforms’, pointy ears, or ridged foreheads. Usually diametrically opposed to the Star Wars geeks.
Star Wars geeks – Devotees to George Lucas’ sci-fi franchise. Willing to sacrifice their own families to meet Mr Lucas, or acquire a rare action figure. Can often be found telling all who will listen that “Han shot first”, or why Star Wars is better than Star Trek. All secretly dream of wearing Stormtrooper armour for their wedding (probably to Princess Leia). Founders of the Jedi Church, and primary proponents of the drive to get Jedi recognised as a ‘real’ religion. Like to bash Trekkies.
Music geeks – Music is usually ‘cool’. But not when these geeks are involved. They will bore you with endless trivia about their favourite artists (if said artist is now popular, they will of course have liked them before they became popular). Derisive and rude to any artist they don’t like and armed with endless facts to support their arguments of why they’re the greatest at what they do. Will have stacks of CD’s/records all of which they will have a story or ‘interesting’ fact about. Dismissive of all others knowledge about their chosen artists. Often found haranguing staff on record shops for not having the latest release from some obscure singer no-one else has ever heard of. Shockingly, most music geeks have no musical ability themselves.
LARPers – Live Action RolePlayers. Fans of dressing up in doublets and chainmail, and running around the woods hitting other similarly dressed people with foam latex swords. Spend all available cash on improving their costumes and/or their weapons, and getting to gatherings of like minded individuals. Have an annoying tendency to speak like a character from Lord of the Rings in everyday conversation. Easily spotted by their flowing cloaks and duct-tape bound weapons.
Academic geeks (aka nerds) – A broader category than the others, these range from Science geeks to maths geeks, and anywhere in between. At school they were top of the class (often knowing more than the teachers) and bottom of the social ladder. These are the archetypal geeks often used by mainstream media to portray the sad misfit. Badly dressed, braces, pocket protectors… Even other geeks tend to look down upon these unfortunate souls. Usually spotted congregating in small packs for protection, discussing… well, whatever it is they discuss when they’re not being bullied.
So there you have it. Although the list is far from exhaustive, you’ll now be able to spot (and probably avoid) some of the most common geeks. But don’t be too harsh on us obsessive weirdo’s. After all, the Geeks shall inherit the Earth…