The way of the Geek


The way of the geek is not, as one might imagine, lined with elves, multi-sided dice, Star Trek uniforms and Lego sets. Not necessarily.

In the most general case, a geek is a person whose enthusiasm for something spills over what is socially “normal.”

Now there’s a loaded term: “ormal. What is normal?

It’s not normal to be whipped into a fervor of squealing glee at the announcement that Joss Whedon will be directing the next “Avengers” film. Nor is it “normal” to froth with delight at the long-delayed release of “True Crime: Hong Kong” under the title “Sleeping Dogs.” And it’s certainly not normal to discuss, at length, what parts of J. R. R. Tolkein’s Middle Earth mythos director Peter Jackson will explore to pad “The Hobbit” into not two but three movies.

It’s not normal, yeah, but it’s fun. It is great fun to dig into the minutiae, the little things, which make up any big thing, so long as you care about the big thing.

To be fair, I don’t really care about the next “Avengers” film — I’ll see it, and I’ll probably enjoy it, but I won’t be quoting it a week later. That’s because I’m not a superheroes kind of geek. I’m not going to play “Sleeping Dogs” at all. Though I used to be a video game geek in high school, that’s a bygone phase. And although “The Hobbit” is still a book I love, I don’t care to speculate on what Jackson will do differently from the movies and what parts of Tolkein’s gigantic world he’ll draw from. Tolkein’s admittedly-gigantic universe doesn’t do that much for me, and his writing is downright boring.

So am I normal? Perish the thought — my geek nature dies when I do.

Normal is safe. Normal is reserved but sociable. Normal is polite and well-adjusted. You want your kid to marry normal. Kids want a normal friend, and normal kids make more friends. While normal gets excited for a movie, normal doesn’t spend more than the length of the next preview or two speculating, nor does normal get into weird, quirky films. I suppose normal plays video games now, but normal sticks to the big-budget titles with movie or sports tie-ins, maybe indulging in a little Farm-ville in secret shame. Normal has hobbies, but they don’t get in the way of work or family or keeping the house in order. When normal is in love, normal will give flowers or tickets to the show. Normal is fitter, happier and more productive.

Geek accidentally stays up until sunrise reading design specs for a new car or the legacy of an old one. Geek will go on and on when a topic geek is passionate about comes up in conversation. Geek may neglect home and disturb spouse with long, late hours in the workshop or on the computer, or what have you. Sometimes, geek will plan a year around traveling across the country or the world to satisfy some passion. There is a stack of magazines or an overfilled list of blogs or a cabinet full of newspaper clippings related to geek’s favorite subjects. If geek wants to see a movie, read a book, play a game, work on a car, address a problem, then geek will do so and anything in the way should beware.

In simplest terms, geek is passionate about something and not ashamed to show it. Geek strides the thin line between driven and obsessed – geek does what geek does because anything else would leave a void.

Embrace your inner geek. Do what you love. Besides, do you know what you call a geek who figured out how to make money off his or her passion?

Successful and happy, that’s what.


Griffin is a former intern for El Defensor Chieftain

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