Sometimes I’m amazed at the culture I live in. It’s usually an amazing bunch of people who want to do nothing more than learn as much as they can and help as many people as possible. Every single one of these people is a geek or one kind or another. I’m usually pretty proud of that, but tonight I watched the video embedded, and I couldn’t help but be embarrassed for the community.
If you haven’t seen the embedded video, watch it first. I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending for you. The video was made by a young woman named Nixie Pixel (I’m sure that’s not her real name, but live with it). Recently at a tech convention type thing she experienced some pretty nasty discrimination. People claiming that she’s not really a geek. She doesn’t really do anything for the community. To those saying this I respectfully reply, “Shut your damn mouth.” I watch her show, and I thoroughly enjoy it.
Confessions of a Teenage Pseudo-Geek
Not all of us grew up being beaten up by the football team with aspirations of living in our parents basements. That’s a stereotype. People love to stereotype people even if they claim they don’t (see, I just stereotyped people). Nixie Pixel isn’t a geek because she has a pretty face and girlie bits? I suppose I wouldn’t qualify as a geek then either.
While I meet the “male” part of the stereotype, most of the rest of my growing up doesn’t sound like a geeks childhood. I played on the front line of my High School football team, both Offense and Defense (American football). Personally, I liked Defense better. It’s much more fun to run over the guy with the ball than to try to keep other people from running over the guy with the ball. I was on the track team too. I threw shot and disc, and placed top 10 in the state. I even swam on the Swim Team. I wasn’t as good swimming, but I made State every year. There were a lot of kids that were worse.
My family got our first computer when I was a Junior in High School. We only got it then because I saved up the money I made Life Guarding and bought it myself. My parents thought that computers were a huge waste of time. They still do actually. I was always the kid running rogue programs on the Commodore 64s in the store when the salespeople turned their backs, but I never had one myself. I only really started to learn about computers after a help desk tech suggested I format my hard drive because the sound didn’t work on that first computer. I took his advice, not understanding that I should back up my software first. It took me over a month to find the right software and drivers to get it back up and running again (there was no Internet at the time). Even after I’d done all that, the sound still didn’t work (turns out I plugged the speakers into the wrong port).
Does this sound like a geek to you?
It does if you remember that being a geek is about what you’re into, rather than what you look like or what your history is. My junior and senior year I spent my lunches in the library or the computer lab learning as much about computers as I could. I remember one day the Quarterback finding me in the computer lab after lunch and giving me this exasperated look as he asked me, “Stone, what are you doing? What do you think is going to take you farther in life? Football, or computers?” The look I gave him must have been telling because he looked honestly surprised. I didn’t even answer him but he still said, “Oh.” After High School, he ended up starting his own business doing computer aided drafting, and he’s doing rather well for himself. I guess he got the point.
What is a Real Geek?
A real geek has nothing to do with what you look like. The definition of “geek” is:
A person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest: “a computer geek”.
Just because they include “computer geek” in the definition doesn’t mean that computer geeks are the only kind. My brother is an English teacher, and he’s an English and Literature geek. Seriously. My wife is a Biology geek (she has the PhD to prove it). My Dad is a carpentry geek. He’s almost 90 years old, and he still goes out to his shop every day.
A lot of years went by where being a geek was considered a bad thing. Now, that’s changed. It’s rolled over to be a badge of honor. It’s a shame that some of the people who were stamped with the term when they didn’t want it now want to deny it to people who’ve earned it now that it’s not such a stigma.
Personally, I think it’s because of their looks (here’s me stereotyping again). They see a beautiful woman, and they’re taken back to some girl that they never even tried to get rejected by in High School or College. Someone like that can’t possibly be in the Geek Club. That conclusion is stupid, and it lessens the members of this community when you go blabbing that kind of crap where it can be heard by humans.
How about we try to judge people by what’s going on between their ears instead of what’s in their pants and under their shirts?
OK, I’m done now. If you’d like to yell at me and tell me that I’m just not geek enough because I played on the football team, feel free to do so in the comments section below.