Monday, July 25, 2011

Thoughts on... Geek Vs. Nerd

According to a couple of my friends, I have lost my "geek" status. Mostly because I don't go all out and research every single thing about the subjects I'm interested in, or because I don't fully immerse myself in the realms I enjoy. Initially, that idea rankled. It was like they were denying an essential part of who I am. But, in really thinking about it, my friends are right. Despite all the times, I've called myself one, I'm not really a geek.

Firstly, being a geek has become WAY TOO FASHIONABLE. When a woman who has just won the Miss America BEAUTY PAGEANT can call herself a geek and not have the tiara ripped from her head and given to someone else, being a geek is too fashionable.

Second, when I was growing up, I found that I would rather spend time reading books, watching TV, and playing video games than deal with my problems in the real world. That accomplished 4 things:

A) Assured that I would never learn the social skills necessary to make interactions with the opposite sex anything other than problematic at best.

B) Increased my knowledge retention & application skills to the point where I vastly eclipsed my peers. Example: by my freshman year in high school, I had a BEYOND COLLEGE LEVEL language comprehension.

C) Shaped my mind in such a way as to only appreciate subject matter that had in some way, shape or form an intriguing cerebral facet. So, no MXC for me, thanks.

D) Set me up to be burned, many times over, when the real world I chose to ignore bitch slapped me out of my "safe" little bubble.

The first three had me ridiculed most of my childhood life for my intelligence, yet called upon often for that same intelligence, which led to an intriguing and complex form of isolation. No one wanted to spend time in presence or speaking to me, but if they had problems with schoolwork of any kind, I was their main resource. And after I was old enough to fully understand the nature of the lesson of the 4th, I gained a healthy respect for reality, which added a reluctance to leave it for any reason. My reluctance increased exponentially when I realize how infinitely complex the real world actually is.

This is not the story of a geek. Geeks are a newly formed class of people whose above average intelligence is now celebrated and in which people rejoice. That has NEVER been my experience. My intelligence has always been treated as a unpleasant necessity. In the end, people are right. I'm not a geek. If Miss USA is geek (of any stripe, shape or color), I am most definitely NOT a geek. Do you know what I am?

I'm the guy who grew up hating himself because while he could understand the science behind parallel universes & the philosophical problems of time travel,  he couldn't manage to talk to girls (and still can't). I'm the guy who spent all his time alone because everyone around him thought he was too smart to hang with (most still do). I'm the guy who doesn't think spending most nights getting drunk to the point of throwing up or passing out is fun. In the end, there's only one thing I can be called accurately.

I'm a NERD.

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