I have this theory about geekdom. I’ll get to it in a minute.
Star Wars came out in 1977. At the time, I was ten years old and the movie was just fucking Star Wars. Episode IV? Please! As far as we knew, that was all the Star Wars we would ever get.
When I first saw the trailer for the film, it scared the piss out of me. I was a nervous kid and I did not like scary films. There was something about the trailer that made me think it was a scary film.
I don’t know why. I was stupid, I guess.
So when the film came out, I avoided seeing it for about three months. That was three months of not seeing Star Wars that I’ve been atoning for the rest of my life.
Over time, I acquired (and by “acquired” I mean “was gifted”) almost all of the Star Wars toys I could possibly find. Did I have a Death Star? You bet your ass I had a death star. Did I have a silver TC-14 Protocol Droid? Do you have to ask?
Actually, I might still have them in my mom’s basement. God, I hope so. That’s my kids’ college fund right there….
What came after Star Wars? Well Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek: The Next Generation, a whole lot of Dungeons and Dragons…you get the idea.
I’ve always thought that being an atheist had at least something to do with being a geek. Magic isn’t real. Faster than light travel is probably impossible. Dragons are only as cool as the artist creating them because real dragons don’t exist.
In Science Fiction and fantasy, those things are real. Our imagination takes us places that we can’t actually go. It takes us to worlds that don’t exist and allows us to meet alien races that could never be. In that way, it is the most magical thing I’ve ever experienced.
I’m not a geek about any one thing. I call myself a geek of all trades because I like a lot of things a little bit. I enjoy gaming but don’t get to do it all that often. I love movies and watch a lot of them but not as many as I want. I enjoy good geek TV series but rarely watch any of them all the way through. I figure I know just enough to be dangerous.
But I am a geek about those things. I get excited about the next super hero movie that is coming out. I love to look at all the nerdy toys in the Target toy section. I have the Swedish Chef’s kitchen playset above my TV.
Scratch that. It’s above my DVD player. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem are above my TV set. Along with Sweetums, Super Grover and Kermit the Frog dressed as Indiana Jones
What? Oh, right, my theory.
I think everyone is a geek about something. We all have obsessions. For some people it is couponing. For others it is football. For others it’s knitting.
What makes geeks geeks is our desire to obsess over these things together.
Nerds can obsess about their favorite stuff in the comfort of their own home. I define geeks as people who need to engage in social nerdery. It is not enough for us to hate Prometheus. We must hate the film with others.
We must make YouTube videos about it. We must record podcasts about it. We must make amusing Facebook memes about it.
Geekery is a social activity.
And that is the reason I’m a geek. It isn’t enough that I love Star Wars and Dr. Who. It isn’t enough that I get every joke in “Big Bang Theory.” It isn’t enough that I’ve been one of the founders of two (and soon to be three) different science fiction conventions.
Those things are symptoms of being a geek but they are not what makes me one.
What makes me a geek is that I love all of these things and I want to share them with others.