• (colloquial) An expert in a technical field, particularly to do with computers. My laptop’s locked up again. I need a Geek.Do you need a hardware Geek or a software Geek?
• (colloquial) The subculture of Geeks; an esoteric subject of interest that is marginal to the social mainstream; the philosophy, events, and physical artifacts of Geeks.
• (colloquial) An unfashionable or socially undesirable person. Why do you hang around with them? They’re just Geeks.
• (dated) A carnival performer specializing in bizarre and unappetizing behavior. I once saw a Geek bite the head off a live chicken.
(Quick side note: Wikitionary…how cool is that!?) Ehm…so this is where I say (brace for it…), the Wiki gods are wrong!! Sort of.
Here is my definition: Pronunciation: Geek - gēk, - A person who is efficient in a field in which they are well versed and in which they have a certain obsessive enjoyment of.
Yup, that’s it. Pretty simple eh? What does this mean? Well, it means just about anyone can ‘Geek Out’ over something. Do you really like old black and white foreign films? Then you are a Foreign Film Geek. Really into monster trucks? Stamp collecting? Love your job as librarian? A cook? Home decorating? Do you know a lot about a subject that you care about? Politics? Sci-fi? Board games? I hate to break it to you … you are a Geek.
This is where you go, ‘Wait a minute, that’s not right! Geeks are skinny guys with broken glasses who live in their parents’ basements and don’t have girlfriends. I am not a Geek!’ I can feel your outrage from here. But you, like Wiki, couldn’t be more wrong. The person you may be conjuring to mind may look similar to this poster that advertises the Calgary Comic & entertainment Expo. But what you are thinking about is a Nerd. Nerds are basically socially inept Geeks. Nerds tend to get the dirty looks at conventions or gamming nights because they are loud, tend to laugh nervously and tend to be generally annoying. They don’t know the etiquette for a situation. A Nerd should not be confused with a Newbie, Newbies are just…well, new. Nerds should know better but A) don’t care, or B) are too stupid to realize. Confused? Okay, let’s have some examples. You are at a sci fi convention with loads of people in costumes; these are Geeks. A person walks up to you in just stretchy pants they bought at Wal-Mart for 8$ that are showing way more than pants should ever show and says…well, they don’t have to say anything. They are wearing stretchy pants from Wal-Mart as a costume! That my friends, is a Nerd, anything that comes out of their mouth will just confirm that. However if a nerd does approach you it’s because A) they think that you are cool and some of that may rub off, or B) they can somehow belittle you, which they think will make them cooler.
Being a Geek is about having fun, Nerds can ruin that. Too bad they don’t all wear those stretchy pants from Wal-Mart - they sure would be easier to identify that way. Give them a wide berth if you can. Both Nerds and Geeks can be found in all facets of society and can be differentiated by this simple test: ‘Do you or the person in question fit in with like-minded people?’ This is not to say that the person in the cubicle next to you who has Star Trek toys and doesn’t like going out for beers after work is a Nerd. (Yes, Joe Office worker I am talking to you!) No, not at all, they are just not like minded with you. If you put that person in a group of people that shares all the same interests as him/her and if they fit in… Geek! If they don’t fit in and start to act like a freak…. Nerd. A Nerd can also be referred to as a socially inept person who is trying too hard to be something they are not and as a result are missing all the expected factors that would allow them to actually become the thing they desire to be. Another good example of nerdiness: I love astronomy and the stars. However, I am really only a borderline Geek when it comes to this. I like reading articles about it, but I couldn’t tell you a thing about the chemical compounds that make up the sun. While I find astronomy interesting, I do not seek out all the info I can. Now, if I go to the University astronomy club and challenge everything anyone said in a vain attempt to make myself look good... I would be a Nerd. Being a Geek is not about being super smart. Being smart just means you’re smart. It has nothing to do with being a Geek or a Nerd. Loving astronomy can make you a Geek but not necessarily a Nerd. One also has to keep in mind that there are always people who are shy or loners. A Geek loner might shun like-minded people, but still know how to act around them and understand their place on the “cool” scale while not try to force anything.
At this point you may be wondering what the heck all this has to do with my opening statement about ‘Mainstream Geeks’. Well, currently Mainstream Geeks are source of entertainment for me. I am a Geek with many different passions, one of which is very stereotypical. I am a Sci-fi Geek. Yup, I go to conventions, collect action figures and know possibly a little too much about Star Trek. I am proud to be a Sci-fi Geek. I have nothing to hide as it is a big part of who I am and has allowed me some great opportunities, one of which was getting to meet many of my dearest friends. However, as I have mentioned in past articles, there is a stigma attached to being a Geek. Not everyone is as proud as I am to be one. These are the people I like to call ‘Mainstream Geeks.’ They are the ones who adore James Cameron’s Avatar, or the new Green Lantern Film, NBC’s Heroes, ABC’s Lost.All their favorite shows are Sci-fi or Sci-fi related (really, a lot of it is “Sci-fi Light” but that’s another rant) but will swear up and down to you that they are not Geeks! They might even say the word “Geek” as if it was an insult. They’re also the ones who will declare they have had ‘Geek’ tendencies in the past. ‘I used to have lots of Star Wars action figures when I was a teenager.’ If they were Geeks, they would not have the need to declare this fact to me in a whisper over my cubicle wall. Don’t be afraid! You are what you are! Let your Geek flag fly!! It doesn’t matter if you had mad love for World of War Craft, stamps or heck, bunnies. It just doesn’t matter. Be proud of who you are and what you like. Call yourself a Geek, call your friends Geeks. Just beware of the Nerds. One bad Nerd can ruin a perfectly good Geek-fest.