Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm a Geek . . . Sort Of

This was something I just discovered this morning, so bear with me.

When I decided I was a geek I also decided to look it up. One can't go around calling oneself something on assumed knowledge, can one? Not wisely anyway.

I found this: Unabridged (v 1.1)
geek Slang.
1. a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, esp. one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
2. a computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.)
3. a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.
[Origin: 1915- 20; prob. var. of geck (mainly Scots)fool

1st, I'm talking about definition 1 here. A computer is a tool, nothing more, and I like my chicken fried, thanks.

2nd, we're not talking about the dislikable part either, though I do love how it specifies perceived to be overly intellectual. I'm not any smarter than most of us, which is to say, I'm not always a complete idiot. People frequently claim to think I'm smart. It puts pressure on me and makes me nervous and my protestations come accross as some sort of false modesty. Which, annoyingly enough, seems to make them think I'm more likable than I really am, grrrrr.

My theory is that it's because I'm not a huge talker and so I don't reveal my intellectual short-comings as often as most. And I'm a reader, which some people tend to think makes you smart. It doesn't. It makes you educated and there's a difference.

So we're left with the peculiar part of the definition. To illustrate peculiarity, I love SF and given enough time can likely name 4/5ths of the SF shows that have been on TV since the mid '80s. Max Headroom, The Flash, Invasion, The Lone Gunmen, Alf-- you get the idea, right?

But peculiarity is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder and being from a family of SF nuts that doesn't strike me as too strange. There are people who have it worse than me. I'm not a action figure collector and I'm not sure how Takei is actually pronouced.

So this post. Well, this morning as I drink my coffee (1st cup) I check my email and the EBW forum post and then I scan the rest of the titles for anything that catches my eye. And there it is in Techniques and Materials, 'Pirates and Ninjas are so ... June.' Eh?

So I read it. momerath assesses 'geekery trends: Pirates and ninjas are waning. Zombies, however, are still going strong, with a possible surge in robots.'
There follows a discussion of what's in and out. Octopi and owls debut. Some amusing asides about goats. I fret.

Why must people always be told what they like? What they'll wear? Why must the fashion industry change standards quarterly?

Here's a peculiarity. I mostly ignore what's in, except to avoid it like the plague, even if I like it. If I like it, I'll wait till it goes out before I wear it. How weird is that?

Then in steps today's heroine AlteredStatesClothin, who says, "What's "in" in terms of geekery, will always depend on who you're talking to. Geeks (like me) hold tight to their faves."

Ah ha! Now that's truth! The world trends. Sellers tend to trend with them. Geeks don't trend so much. That's what makes them geeks. Sort of.


  1. I'm one of those that does not follow the trend. If I like it, I wear it. If not, I don't. Don't know where that puts me in terms of geekerie. LOL

  2. I was always one to go counter the trend...long hair when short was in, perms when straight was de rigueur, long skirts always. ;p (Oh, you'll appreciate this, Sarah. A friend of Terry's just gave me 100 episodes of Dr Who on back to 1963!!!!)

  3. Marilyn, the problem is that the media has some success in dictating our likes and dislikes. Bugs me.

    CD--Counter to the trend-- exactly! Now why? Why do we go counter to the trend? I haven't figured that one out yet.

  4. LOL - Great post! I love the points that you make here. I have wondered why people allow themselves to be told what they like more than once myself.

    Thanks for the brilliant perspective!

  5. Interesting post. I've called myself a geek a time or two, usually, as in computer geek. I've got a lifetime of "doing my own thing" under my belt and I'm sure as heck too old to change now!

  6. It's great to be a geek! February will be a wonderful time to visit Sedona. It will be crisp and clear....oh I perhaps some rain and storms. Storms are so beautiful up there...the lightening is spectacular. Have fun!

  7. I have always felt like a geek, but, have never said it out loud until recently. Back in 85-86 when I was in high school. I wore saddle shoes, poodle skirts and my mothers cardigan backwards. I was made fun of ALL the time, but, I didn't care I love the 50's then and still do.

    I also need to know as much about computers as I can.

    So, I do think of my self as a "geek", and I'm pretty proud of it. It has made me who I am today!!

  8. I don't think I was a geek when I was younger (I always wanted to fit in with everyone else), but since I've grown older and hopefully wiser, I do what I want to do and wear what I want to wear and fashion and social trends be damned. :)

    Great post, Sarah! It's really neat to see how the artists that commented here dance to the beat of their own drum.

  9. Ok, I admit it. I'm a geeky grandma. Like Susan, I wanted to fit in so bad when I was younger. Now, I yam what I yam. I think we referred to those who marched to a different drummer as nerds back in the day, not geeks. Anyway, thank goodness for those who set their own trends or my creations might never sell.