Why I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate The Geek

This is another very personal article. Like The Monkey Chased The Weasel. It is the article that I alluded to last week, which has literally shut down my article writing efforts for many weeks. I have started to encapsulate this thought more than a dozen times in more than a dozen different ways and failed until today.

I am not sure that this is all that I have to say on this subject, but it is all that I have to say right now. Hopefully, having gotten this off of my chest, you and I can all move on to better things. Or not. You never know.

I hope you enjoy.





I have a picture taken at the middle school Valentine's Day Dance, when I was in the sixth or seventh grade. In it, I am posing with my "date" Margaret. We are holding hands.

Margaret is wearing a white, satin-like formal dress. It clings to her developing frame well enough to reveal a slight pudginess, and the beginnings of what would become an incredible bosom. Her massive curls glow and she is standing with her back straight and she is smiling.

Beside her, I look like a lout. I am slouching and smirking. My hair has not been cut in months, my taupe trousers are wrinkled and my lavender (yes, lavender) polo shirt looks like it hasn't been washed in   ever. The coup de grace, however, is my jacket. It is a red windbreaker with black sleeves. It is a couple of sizes too large for me and does not match the rest of my outfit even remotely.

At first glance, one would think that Margaret and I had no business whatsoever going to a dance together, much less posing for a picture and holding hands. Yet a closer look reveals the truth. We are both wearing the largest spectacles ever seen on the faces of adolescents anywhere, ever. It's as if we'd shopped together at the Yoko Ono rack at Eyemasters and bought matching frames.

Our eyes look too large to fit inside of our heads, our noses are pinched and straining under the weight of our glass lenses and our cheeks, chins and ears look as if they'd grown over and around our spectacles the way a tree will sometimes absorb a chain fence.

In short, the main reason that she is smiling and I am smirking is that neither one of us had to this day ever imagined that we'd be holding hands with a member of the opposite sex. In fact, if you look real close, the smiles reveal a hint of disbelief at the barriers we've crossed thus far and perhaps terror at the thought of further hand holding or â€" god forbid â€" kissing. We are, in fact, geeks, and are at this dance together because neither one of us had anyone else with whom to go.

I remember very little about that dance, other than the taking of that picture. I do remember dancing with Margaret and being very aware of keeping a minimum of six inches between our bodies. This had less to do with the faculty chaperones' wishes than with my extreme awareness of the erection that was tenting my taupe trousers, and my belief that revealing this biological betrayal to Margaret would somehow bring about the ruin of us all.

Margaret and I were in the G/T (gifted/talented) program together and, like our fellow brainiacs, paired up because it was suggested that we do so. No one in our class had any notions of having a real relationship, nor any idea what would be involved should we desire to do so. My friends and I occasionally huddled over porn mags stolen from under our fathers' beds, and therefore had a pretty clear idea about what Slot A and Tab B were really for. Yet there was some kind of block preventing us from equating that carnal knowledge to the bodies of the girls with whom we ate lunch, studied and watched movies over the weekends. Perhaps we were too terrified of the possibilities to broach the subject.

I do not remember if Margaret and I ever kissed that night, nor even how the evening ended. Chances are that our dancing occupied a small portion of the evening and that the remainder involved sitting at a table on the periphery of the cafetorium floor and watching the far more interesting people do far more interesting things.

Like Betty and Bonnie. They fought tooth and nail for five full minutes over someone's suggestion that George, Bonnie's boyfriend, was boning Betty on the side. Hair was mussed, blood was drawn and dresses were torn, allowing a boob or two to swing free in the breeze before the math teacher, Mr. Schaffer (whom we called "Disco Dave" in honor of his polyester shirts with the massive, pointed collars) braved a flurry of Lee Press-On nails to separate the two contenders. That the G/T crowd talked about this fight for days reveals a great deal about how few events of interest involved any of us.

Something happened after that night. A lever had been moved and some kind of machine was gearing up, building momentum, for a dramatic shift in my attitude towards myself and the space I occupied. The dance was just one catalyst. My encounter with George himself was another.

I had loaned him a cassette tape and a few days later asked for it back. He reached into his locker, pulled out the tape and snapped it in half. George was twice my size, played football and dated girls. I was terrified of him. It showed. He laughed. Like the way Bobby Wade laughed when he leapt over the turnstile in the lunch line and casually kneed me in the groin on his way to grab a cup of french fries. It was a laugh of defiance. Of power. Of intimidation.

I began to realize that I invited these attacks. That my failure to defend myself or show any sign of aggression set me apart from the herd, signaling weakness to predators like Bobby and George. I had seen Karate Kid and I knew that one way to fight this kind tyranny was to literally fight it, but that was not my way. I was weak, and fat. It took me fifteen minutes to run the mile, sucking a Ventolin inhaler the whole way. To fight these boys was to invite pain, and that was just as terrifying to me as their taunting.

So I decided to change. I decided to appear like less of a target. Less of a stand-out. I stopped attending G/T meetings, took up with the headbanger crowd and forced my parents to buy me contact lenses. I managed to remain in the top percentages of my class, but my grades did begin a slow downward slide that continued through high school. One can only concentrate on so many things at once, and trying to look cool (or un-un-cool) is hard work. After a few months of careful attention to my outward appearance and manner, however, I had ceased to draw attention to myself. I became invisible.

What's remarkable is that Margaret and I rarely spoke after the Valentine's Day Dance, yet she had simultaneously undergone a similar transformation. Had we posed for a picture one year later, we'd have appeared like two completely different couples. In one, the class dorks. In the other, two unremarkable, if not slightly fashionable teenagers, trying to look cool. In other words: like normal kids.

We were still anything but. I was routinely diagnosed by my guidance counselor as borderline suicidal, I wrote stories faster than some students read them and amused myself by drawing satanic symbols and pictures of people having sex on the overhead projector when the teacher wasn't looking. Margaret, likewise had her emotional problems, but socially and sexually developed faster than any of the other G/T kids. Myself included. She eventually got into a drug crowd and dropped out of school to move in with a much older man, if I remember correctly. I know nothing about what happened to her after that.

We had both apparently taken a long, hard look at that picture of the two geeks holding hands at the Valentine's Dance and decided that that was not who we wanted to be. And we changed.

In my case, my changes led me to the theater, where my knack for self deception was treated as a gift. That is perhaps what saved me. I found a way to redirect my confusion and hatred of myself. A constructive outlet for my inner turmoil, if you will. I learned to harness the power of my thoughts and emotions to cause others to feel. This was not a small thing, and it led me to the rest of my life.

Yet the confusion and self-hatred never went away. It was diminished by success, by sex with girls and a discovery of self-worth, but the old fear never died. In my mind I was, am, still running away from that teen in the tenting taupe trousers. I am not a geek. I play video games - write about them even - but I am not a geek. I rarely leave the house if I can avoid it, but I am not a geek. More than half of my clothes are black, but I am not a geek. I've played Dungeons & Dragons, recently, on the Internet, but I am not a geek. I've built computers for a living, wrote about them and produced a television show about technology, but I am not a geek. I refuse that label. I must. Because I believe in some part of my mind that I am still, even as a grown man with a beautiful young girlfriend, a massive resume, strong arms, keen reflexes and a truck full of power tools, still a fat, weak, little boy too afraid of his own shadow to stand up for himself and too weak to do anything other than cry.

In other words, a geek. And that thought terrifies me more than anything. Nuclear war, running out of mayonnaise; anything.

Comments

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I've recommended it before, but I'll do it again: Fletch, I suggest you pick up a copy of "The Neverending Story", by Michael Ende. The book deals with exactly this same fear you have, in mythic terms of course, but you might find some comfort in it. I felt exactly the same way you did before I read that novel, but as I read it for the first time, it was like a light switched on. Something changed within me. Bastian was me, and if he could come to terms with who he was, well... then I guess it couldn't be that hard for me to do it, either. I dunno if you find comfort in books, like I do, but its at least worth a read.

Good article! Your writing really captured the essence of it all.

*the following isn't really a response to the excellent article, but just some thoughts on geekdom.*

Increasingly I'm of the mind that the geek, in the traditional way we think about them, has much more to do with social awkwardness and vulnerability than any particular hobby. This has been a hard idea to wrap my head around because I spent some time of my youth being a geek, and was convinced that the reason I was such was because my interests and intellect didn't match those who labeled me such. But, as it turns out, it really had very little to do with the thing, and was more about the fact that I was kind of a sensitive kid, that my vulnerability was easily exposed and, for a while, that I was small enough that poking my fleshy underbelly with a stick and calling me a geek was a viable option for some.

I got lucky, though. I had some fortunate genetics on my side, and a body born from living on a farm. I leapt from five-foot nothing to six-four and strong in a matter of what seemed hours. And, though I maintained all the interests that had once been quite geeky, suddenly it wasn't so fun to poke me with virtually anything anymore, which is funny because, by and large, my personality, sensitivity, and hobbies hadn't changed all that much.

On top of that, I'm socially comfortable. I've seen real geeks - the kind we're thinking of - and it's their manner, their presence, their personalities that give us the impression that they are geeks. Think of that guy, that geek, and imagine if he were talking about baseball statistics, or the Punic Wars, or the physiology of the marigold, and would he be any less annoying than if he were talking about how sad he was when that girl dies in Final Fantasy VII? Probably not, because it's not about the topic, not about Dungeons & Dragons, or video games, or tech. Geek is all in the presentation.

Except Trekkies. They're all geeks.

Ahhh... the middle school dances. I gotta give you props for even going. I think I went to one in junior high... sat around in the cafeteria with my friends for a while, went home. The only other junior high dance I ever went to was because my best friend's parents were coerced into being "dance supervisors" so he HAD to go... therefore, it would have been much less painful for him if I had gone. I sat the rest of them out for Final Fantasy Tactics and the like... until High School.

I went to ONE high school dance, and realized that nothing had really changed, except that all the guys I sat with before, had scored dates somehow, and I was the wallflower. I left early, and never went to another dance ever. No, not even prom. I could never get a date, so I just gave up on them.

Even today, I am still relatively socially inept. Random conversation (especially with someone of the opposite sex) is still rediculously labor filled for me. I always feel like I have to say something, and when I force myself, it just all goes down hill. It's not for a lack of trying, just a lack of skill... which, in the end, looks like the same thing. I don't shine socially until I've been around people for a while and really start talking instead of just talking about sh*t. But... until then, nada. Ask any of the friends I had in high school (most of whom were girls) and they'd all tell you the same thing... "At first, it seemed like he really didn't like me and didn't really want to talk at all, but somehow like a month later, I feel like I could tell him anything."

But, as I understand it, that particular abilty to be trustworthy in such a way as to be a good confidant, is not particularly big with geeks either... so instead of being suave or a full-blown geek, I'm sort of an outcast to both... part of many circles, but critical to none but a few individuals.

Even worse, was my affinity to adults. I could talk with my teachers about anything going on in the world or in our classroom as if I was practically on their level. Every class in which we ever had any sort of open debate, usually netted me some comment that I asked a lot of valuable questions for the class's discussion.

And I gotta say, there's been times where I was diagnosed as very depressed and the school called Mom in, first thinking she might be a problem, and then to discuss what might be the problem. Even today, I find an odd mix in myself of self-disgust and self-appreciation. Despair and hope. I wonder if my affinity for adults means that those around me in my peers will warm up to me... or if I'll just continue to be an outcast for my entire life.

And sadly, I equate a lot of sh*t into that. My dramatic and... interesting failures in romance have always brought up a lot of questions. A kid of 16 can only hear the words, "You're gonna make some girl reaaaaaally happy later," or my favorite, "You'll make a perfect husband someday," so much before he wonders what's wrong with him... hell, I'm 4 years older and I still wonder what's wrong with me. If I didn't have my current group of friends from school, I can say without a doubt I'd either be living in my mom's basement working for like EB or just... gone.

But, we are what we are, product of evolution, genetics, and our environment. Do I really ever think I'm gonna move that much past my slightly overweight, but not really muscly physique? I doubt it. But... hell, as long as I'm ok with who I am... who f*cking cares? Predators are predators and I don't really care about their sh*t. And the people I care about aren't going to give me crap for being me... sooooooo, whatever.

That's about all I've learned in my life so far... very little that we put so much importance on is really THAT important when it's all said and done... not that I'm really all that close to being anywhere near "said and done."

Nice article, Fletch. *double thumbs up*

I'm not going to say much but Fletcher, that was the best thing I have ever read.

I was a very small kid in grade school and middle school and got picked on a lot. I lucked out by getting to go to the 8th grade "graduation" dance with one of the prettiest girls in the school. I lucked out that one of her friends brother was on my baseball team and was able to become "cool by proxy" so that was ok. In high school during the summer between my freshmen and sophmore year I had a major growth spurt and by the time I got out of high school I was 6'3 and built like a linebacker. So I'm not really picked on now.

I have never had a problem with being a geek. I play two weekly D&D sessions, Warhammer 40k weekly, and video games. I also read a book or so a week. I write for a gaming website and I've worked on a couple games, I think my geek cred is impecible. I think there are a lot worse things to be in the world than a geek since I am a believer in "geeks will inherit the earth. I'm starting to see that now in college since girls don't want to be friends and date the losers anymore. Being on the dean's list and wearing glasses isn't the turn off it was in high school. I got over what other people say or thought about me, I have a good group of friends and what they say matters more to me.

One interesting note in my life was I didn't have any friends when I moved to Kansas during my jr year and that is when Columbine happened and I was called in to talk with the principal and school psychologist to see if I was "ok" that was when I really gave up on caring what people thought.

As usual, I am in awe of Fletcher's writing.

Great article Fletcher, one of those things I actually read entirely. It sure brings some memories.

When I was a middle school there was this girl I liked. At some earlier class I happened to give some kind of a "lecture" in front of class about the usefulness of programmable calculators. Still riding on the waves of my nerd success, I came up to the girl after class. I asked her if she wants to learn more about programmable calculators... say... after biology, near the stairs ? A mysterious smile came over her face, and she said "Yes".

So, we meet under the stairs. She still has that smile on her face. I open my mouth... and watch the smile slowly disappear, as she listens to me ramble on and on, about the goddamn programmable calculators.

The worst part is, this happened twice with two different girls. The other girl invited me to her HOUSE under the guise of showing me some of the magazines she had that had code for games that could be played on those calculators. She knew I was obsessed with them. She just had no idea HOW. I spent the entire evening ignoring her earnest attempts to start conversation, while going through magazines and typing up code into my calculator.

One time, a buddy and I were standing in the corridor, when some 3rd-grader ran by. My buddy put out his foot and tripped the 3rd-grader. I burst out laughing, while my "buddy" kept completely silent. The third-grader jumped to his feet, redfaced, ran up to me, punched me in the face, and ran away, to the roaring laughter of the rest of my class.

Ah, the memories. I'll treasure them always.

Fletch, I am amazed at the labor you obviously put into writing that piece. What a superlative, matchless, tremendous article! I stand before you in complete awe.

For me, rationality has proved to be the best way to come to terms with -- to transcend -- the many personal attributes that contribute to my overall geekiness. Although, Elysium may be right -- geekiness may have more to do with demeanor than with hobbies or interests. Insofar as that's the case, I ceased being a geek sometime during high school. In ninth grade, I was shy, quiet, and reclusive. By twelfth grade, I had turned myself into a popular and intellectual sort of class clown.

If Elysium is indeed right, then you have very little of which to be ashamed, since you're clearly not diminutive or shy any longer. But I'm not convinced that Elysium has told us the whole story; he has only told us an important part thereof. It seems that there is also at least some aspect of topicality that factors into a person's geekiness. What do Dungeons and Dragons, paleobotany, ancient history, Shakespeare, and computer science all have in common? If we can answer this question, then perhaps we can really close in on what it is that entails this elusive descriptor, "geekiness."

I have some ideas that I'd prefer not to spill here; I'm saving them for a rather controversial article of my own. Suffice to say: the answer may ultimately prove strongly divisive -- both between and within individuals.

KaterinLHC wrote:
I've recommended it before, but I'll do it again: Fletch, I suggest you pick up a copy of "The Neverending Story", by Michael Ende.

So you would have the man fight fire with fire, as it were?

Man, great article. I could relate at so many levels.

In Belgium there isn't so much a geek subculture with all the cliché's (big glasses, dorky clothes, greasy hair), but that's only superficial difference of course. I was one of those picked upon in primary school, and compensated in high school by acting like an "intellectual" class clown as Lobo put it.
It really was a feeling of not being able to fit in, and of not being able to fight whatever is more powerful (bullies, life itself) and acting accordingly - like a victim. I mean, what IS the difference between pinching every last ounce of performance out of your pc and case-modding with fancy blue lights or tuning your car with pimpy neons and nitrowhateverglycostuff? Yet for some reason the latter is considered as cool. Geekiness is not what you do, but how you stand in the world.

I'll never be a very sociable person, but I feel less and less guilty about it. It's who I am. The insecurity with women is only now fading away, at 23 years of age. I've come a long way since a beautiful girl asked me if she could kiss me, and I asked her "what kind of kiss". Lol.
Now I resent myself for once looking down upon those I found "stupid" and "herd/flock animals" (bad translation). Now I find I get along with those "common" people much better than with some of my fellow students at university, still whallowing in their supposed superiority - or as I call it: geek-frustration. Being the son of an electrician and a daycare mother instead of white collar parents probably helped too in that department.

Again: great writing.

Wow Fletch!

Great article. I'm amazed by the parallels in our lives (including the bullying, headbanging, contact lenses, sliding grades and amateur drama).

The headbanging grungey post-hippy I became in my late teens and early twenties did a lot better socially than the awkward kid with the scary glasses and mild stutter. But the geek was always there, inside me.

The geek was smart, and revelled in the knowledge of being smart. Once the initial buzz of suddenly being socially acceptable faded, the geek kept me from making several stupid mistakes. He made me realise the headbanging corwd was actually fairly boring. He managed to focus my thirst for knowledge in ways which were socially acceptable. Theater first, later student politics (it's all about acting). I developed friendships which have lasted for 20 years, and across the world.

The geek knew he would win in the long run, and he was right. I ended up cutting my hair and throwing out the tie-dyes. I graduated with a decent degree from a good university. After a brief stint at teaching, I ended up in a fairly geeky job (energy economics modelling), doing stuff which I found intellectually stimulating, and it paid well.

And the geek made me realise that I didn't need everybody's approval to lead a successful and happy life. The people I love are enough.

I came to recognise that the geek was my friend, and an integral part of me. I caved in to his demands and rediscovered sci-fi literature and gaming. I admit to crying at movies. Only, this time without feeling guilty about it.

I am the geek. The geek is me. We're at peace.

Geck wrote:
I came to recognise that the geek was my friend, and an integral part of me. I caved in to his demands and rediscovered sci-fi literature and gaming. I admit to crying at movies.

Man, that's evidence of sissiness, not geekiness. Get it straight!

dejanzie wrote:
I've come a long way since a beautiful girl asked me if she could kiss me, and I asked her "what kind of kiss". Lol.

Hahaha, that's absolutely side-splitting. At least you spoke your mind, though!

Good article.

As a sickly child and an a short, sickly adult, I've just become an embittered angry person - I hesitate to call myself man - that is afraid of everything and careens between anger and guilt several times a day, if not several times in a conversation.

If I was tall and strong I would kick the living sh*t out of anyone and antyhing that got in my way.

Great article Fletcher. I can completely relate. It is fascinating to see even though we grow physically, mentally, and emotionally from the insecure, unsure, terrified individual we were so long ago, that person can still hold sway in our lives.

Lobo wrote:

If Elysium is indeed right, then you have very little of which to be ashamed, since you're clearly not diminutive or shy any longer.

I hope you're not implying that diminutive or shy people should be ashamed of themselves?

Clearly that's exactly what I had in mind. Do I detect a hint of timidity in your voice, Lord Vader? Self-deprecate, immediately!

Geck wrote:
The headbanging grungey post-hippy I became in my late teens and early twenties did a lot better socially than the awkward kid with the scary glasses and mild stutter. But the geek was always there, inside me.

Sounds like we do have a great deal in common, Geck. Although I never made it out of the theater. I try to get out, but they keep pulling me back IN!

Why is it spelt 'Publick'?

Every hour so I just remind myself, 'I am Awesome Man!' That works pretty well for handling the day. Makes me a pain to deal with sometimes, but what do I care? I'm Awesome Man!

I had similar shyness and self-esteem issues through all of high school. When I got to college, I decided that part of my life was over and I made a conscious effort to be a a more socially acceptable person. I'm still pretty terrible about my hair, but at least I smell nicer now. It took a couple years of practice, but I'm a much more sociable and fun person to hang out with, (at least I think so). I'm still uncomfortable in some situations, but overall I do a lot better than I used to. It really is about confidence and just being awesome.

1Dgaf wrote:
Why is it spelt 'Publick'?

Because it's cool. Stuff it, Limey!

Actually, there is a long, mostly meaningless story behind that name which basically boils down to the fact that there's another theater spelled "Public" in New York.

That's my summer gig, anyway. If anybody is in Boston this summer, drop me a line It's a great show.

My geek phase lasted one year - the year after my family returned from a 3 year sojourn to Africa where my mom had homeschooled us. My sister had it harder than me, I think. To be completely removed from your peer group at age 12 and returned at age 15 is a special kind of torture. In Africa, we had no TV, no movies, no "young adult" books to prepare us for what North American society expected of us when we came back home. I spent two weeks as a celebrity, talking about straw huts and lions, and then a year being tripped, called names, and in one special case, spat on.

Then in the year between grade 7 and grade 8, I grew breasts. Also, as a bonus, the entire class of a nearby middle school joined us, since their numbers were too few to justify keeping their teachers employed. Several of those kids were much more maladjusted than I was. I came back to school expecting the abuse to continue, and instead I was utterly ignored, except by the boys who were abruptly lending me pens, hanging out by my locker, and generally terrifying and thrilling me with their attention. I made friends with some of the new girls, connected through them to a few of my old classmates, and I never looked back.

You never do quite shake that feeling, though - the one that tells you that at any moment someone could see through your confident facade and see your vulnerable, squirming centre. It fades, certainly. At 28, my sense of self worth is the polished, diamond hard rock on which I stand. I will admit that there are some memories that bring back that sinking sense of dread and misery, and probably always will. Watching Stephanie Eyjolfson dump her raw meat scraps into my finished lasagna during home ec class and then triumphantly announce that she thought I'd looked hungry so she'd made some dog food is a moment that I can still recall with crystal clarity.

But honestly, I wouldn't go back and change things. Being picked on was a valuable experience, I firmly believe it. It made me more compassionate, more observant of the pain of others, more likely to stand up for people too sad or scared or desperate to do it for themselves. Those are lessons that someone who cruised through high school on the power of their good looks or charm takes a lot longer to learn, if they learn them at all. Being bullies sucks, certainly, and when it goes on long enough, it is soul crushing. But I think that parents to angrily decry the school system for allowing Johnny to be thrust into his locker regularly are robbing Johnny of the lesson that I learned.

Sometimes no one saves you. Sometimes bad things have to be lived through. And if you can make it, you might be a better person on the other side of that experience.

Ahh, Fletch, you bring me waves of nostalgia. I shall ride them pleasantly until lunchtime.

Elysium wrote:
On top of that, I'm socially comfortable. I've seen real geeks - the kind we're thinking of - and it's their manner, their presence, their personalities that give us the impression that they are geeks. Think of that guy, that geek, and imagine if he were talking about baseball statistics, or the Punic Wars, or the physiology of the marigold, and would he be any less annoying than if he were talking about how sad he was when that girl dies in Final Fantasy VII? Probably not, because it's not about the topic, not about Dungeons & Dragons, or video games, or tech. Geek is all in the presentation.

Is that geek, or fanboy? Anyone can get pretty annoying when them ramble on too much about something, regardless of the topic - but that doesn't really make it inherenty geeky, I thought. There must be a characteristic of 'uncool' in their hobby, was always my impression

Awesome.

Lobo wrote:

Do I detect a hint of timidity in your voice, Lord Vader? Self-deprecate, immediately!

I think I'd rather just use this button on my chest to call my parents.

...

Drat, there's no answer! Now what do I do??

EDIT: Before I get slapped for being off-topic... Good article, Fletch. There are lots of things in there that I identify with.

Very nice Fletch. Its stuff like that that makes this site stand out as more than just a gaming site.

I'm not sure this article is about being a geek as much as it is self-esteem. I guess as Elysium eludes, they are perhaps one and the same in many ways. Like many of you, I battled my own self-esteem issues growing up. I was the tall, skinny kid with pale skin. My saving grace was that I loved sports and was fairly athletic. However, that didn't prevent me from being scared to death of asking women out. I would never even have had the guts to ask Margaret out ... not even her big breasts ... er, developing bosom, would have enticed me enough to reach for that brass ring.

These issues are just part of growing up. Most of us had to deal with them, admit it or not. Fortunately, most of us outgrow them.

Fletcher1138 wrote:

I have a picture taken at the middle school Valentine’s Day Dance, when I was in the sixth or seventh grade. In it, I am posing with my “dateâ€? Margaret. We are holding hands.
...
My friends and I occasionally huddled over porn mags stolen from under our fathers’ beds, and therefore had a pretty clear idea about what Slot A and Tab B were really for.
...
Hair was mussed, blood was drawn and dresses were torn, allowing a boob or two to swing free in the breeze before the math teacher, Mr. Schaffer (whom we called “Disco Dave� in honor of his polyester shirts with the massive, pointed collars) braved a flurry of Lee Press-On nails to separate the two contenders.

THIS ARTICLE IS USELESS WITHOUT PICS!

My only advice... Embrace the Geek. Make him a part of what makes 'you.' The geek can penetrate the vapid delusions of the 'cool' lifestyle and gives reality a special focus. Of course, just make sure you don't get distracted by shiny gadgets all the time! Geek is just a label. If you are afraid of labels then I'm afraid you'll have to gain some more EXP before you get to go on your next adventure! I'm sure the Innkeeper has a basement with vermin that you could clear out!

great article fletch!

Excellent article, Fletch.

Much like Demosthenes above, I was more an outcast then a geek. I’d rub shoulders with the “inâ€? crowd, but didn’t care or wish to be popular. I’d hang out with the intellectuals, but there always seemed to be an air of elitism that turned me off. And I seemed to fully relate with the geeks. For lack of a better turn, I was a social survivalist.

I’d eat lunch with the English teacher and my fellow outcasts. A number of us even took Latin (!) together in high school (largely by coincidence), simply because it was something different, or wasn’t where the crowds were.

To this day I still don’t really consider myself a geek. I’ve always felt somewhat under qualified for true geekiness. I just consider myself to be, well, me.

Fletcher1138 wrote:
Geck wrote:
The headbanging grungey post-hippy I became in my late teens and early twenties did a lot better socially than the awkward kid with the scary glasses and mild stutter. But the geek was always there, inside me.

Sounds like we do have a great deal in common, Geck. Although I never made it out of the theater. I try to get out, but they keep pulling me back IN!

I'm glad you're enjoying it, and I'd definitely pop around to the show if I didn't have that big pond to cross. I was never very good at theatre, but it taught me a lot about communication, speech and body language. I miss the atmosphere (that strange backstage smell of makeup, anxiety and adrenaline), and the kick of being onstage and having an audience hanging on your lips and focused on your every word. Hmm, I might join an amateur company again at some stage.

Rezzy wrote:

My only advice... Embrace the Geek. Make him a part of what makes 'you.' The geek can penetrate the vapid delusions of the 'cool' lifestyle and gives reality a special focus. Of course, just make sure you don't get distracted by shiny gadgets all the time! Geek is just a label. If you are afraid of labels then I'm afraid you'll have to gain some more EXP before you get to go on your next adventure! I'm sure the Innkeeper has a basement with vermin that you could clear out! ;)

Rezzy's right. Geek Pride!

Now all we need is a fancy ribbon and a national holiday.

Damn, that was a good article.

Luckily for me, I was able to like all the 'geek' stuff when younger yet still be liked by most cliques. I didnt have problems with girls and played some sports.

The root of the problem is the insecurities of ALL youngins. No matter if they play sports or participate in other 'cool' activities. What makes these insecurities go away? Picking on others. Making others feel smaller.

The problem is we encounter this throughout life. Even now, it makes us feel superior to call others 'geeks' and such. Some extremely insecure people take this to the extreme every day.

It is important for kids to learn how to deal with this issue early in life and learn to ignore it. I try to teach the kids that there will always be people that will do this and that you just have to ignore them and be yourself.

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