So you want to be a geek huh? Being a geek isn’t something that just happens overnight there sparky, some are born with it, and others train for a lifetime, only to lapse into normalcy before the age of fifty. Being a geek means different things to different people, but it might best be explained simply as obsession. Pick a topic to be obsessed about. Maybe it’s Anne Frank, or Abe Vigoda, maybe it’s using COBOL to compile your music library database. Any topic will do really, so long as it isn’t something that’s inherently popular.
Once you have that topic chosen, it’s time to do the homework. Read everything you can on the subject and form definite opinions that may or may not be based on factual evidence. Stick to these opinions even after they are clearly disproven. Talk about your subject to anyone who will listen, and then continue to talk about it once they’ve turned away. Reinforce your own beliefs by restating them often and you’re well on your way.
It will also help you dramatically if you make this one very difficult choice. Star Trek or Star Wars? Sure you can easily just go with Star Wars if it’s 1985 and only three epic movies were made, but it’s 2010 and they hammered us with a second trilogy of mediocrity, forever tarnishing the name. And Star Trek? You’re going to go with the tribbles?!? Unconscionable. But a choice must be made, and it is a difficult one. Extra points if you go ‘Deep Space Nine’ only, or forsake them both for Battlestar Galactica and net double points. Take it a step further by having a well reasoned argument prepared for or against the Starship Enterprise vs. a fully functional Death Star.
Buy at least four small, unnecessary, but shiny electronic items. Extra points for being able to attach them all to your belt simultaneously. At least one of these devices should cost more than a weeks worth of your current salary, which is minimal, because you are a geek. Using these items should frustrate you to no end. Upgrading them is de rigueur, and talking about the next revision before it exists is perfectly acceptable.
Your clothing can’t be particularly stylish, at least not all at once. Sure, a nice pair of jeans is fine, but only if paired with a shirt that says ‘Don’t Panic’ on the front with the name Zarniwoop above the number 42 on the back. Shoes should be Chuck Taylor All Stars, unless you are a shoe geek, like me, which is probably one of the most appalling types of geeks around. It does improve the overall ‘look’ when I sport a well worn pair of Carhartt painter pants with some spiffy Cole Haan’s, no doubt about it.
As an electronics geek, you must be willing to spend hours, if not days, trying to make something work, without ever having the slightest desire to read a manual or call any manner of tech support. They clearly can’t help you. Any software installation ‘wizard’ will be wholly ignored. Extra points for authoring or modifying your own video or printer driver. +4 for calling tech support after three weeks of mucking about to tell them it’s ‘defective’.
Playing video games, it’s a given. Just like knowing which house you would belong to in Hogwarts. -10 for Hufflepuffs, no exceptions. Knowing the definitions of non-words like pwn, grok, and n00b. Dressing up as a paladin at Halloween is cool, dressing up as a dwarven warrior is really cool, seeing a girl dressed up as a night elf druid is epic. Being able to count in binary using your fingers and showing it off at cocktail parties. I can’t tell you how popular this will make you.
The downside of being a geek is that as your geekness increases, the amount of questions asked to you about any technical problem increases almost exponentially. At first it’s flattering, but after a while, it’s just madness, din, and vex. Using the word ‘vex’ as a noun is worth even more points, regardless of the impropriety. The best part about being a true geek is that it doesn’t matter what your answer is, so long as you offer it up with confidence, in truth you can take that broken thing and google up a fix as fast as anyone else out there. Being able to implement that found knowledge is where it’s at. Everyone has google, just like everyone had a set of Brittanica’s, or in my case the geekier World Book’s, but those who could actually use them to great advantage, well, they’re winning.
Yep, it’s a pretty good time to be a geek. Our time has truly come. Sure it’s painful as can be at the high school level, but the infinite rewards are out there, and most of us couldn’t un-geek ourselves if we tried. So I say to go for it, learn a programming language and annoy your teachers by constantly staying ahead of the curve with technology, because at some point, even the geekiest of us all, have to stop, stick with what we’re surrounded with and let go. Like an upside down kill screen in Ms. Pacman, all things must end. But I for one have plenty of time left to keep reaching for the next gadget, to see the Star Trek reboot and like it, and to re-read the entire Harry Potter series, or at least listen to the audiobooks. I’m a geek, it’s what we do.