Ok, so today we´ll talk about something that´s been floating in my head for a couple of days, since someone asked me this simple question: Oh, so you´re a real geek, aren´t you?
This simple question started an inevitable string of ideas and memories which I´ll try to compile in the present short article. These are some of the ideas and questions that immediately came to my mind: What is the meaning of being a “geek”? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Is it the same as being a “nerd”? Has the meaning of “geek” changed throughout the generations? Should I be offended by being called a “geek”? And in general: Who´s geeky and who isn´t one?
According to the dictionary people (those know-it-alls!) the word “geek” is a slang term originally used to describe very eccentric or non-mainstream people; this concept has changed throughout the years though, now the term “geek” usually refers to an expert on a certain field or topic, these so called “experts” are also described as socially awkward and sometimes even pedantic or intellectuals. According to this, if you have weird hobbies or if you´re obsessed with something unusual like comic books…wait, but comic books aren´t even unusual nowadays right? So maybe there´s more than one meanings to this word…
Correct! The word “geek” itself has had several meanings in different languages which can vary from meaning intelligent, crazy, an expert, a fool or even a freak. So, if the know-it-alls from Webster don´t know what being a geek really means, are we going to settle with any of those descriptions? My answer is no.
I think that the main reason why there´s not one real and definitive meaning of the word “geek” is because of the subjective meaning of feeling that you are one. You may feel that you are, for example a movie geek… You saw and loved Raiders of the Lost Ark and here comes this guy who tells you he saw every existing version last Sunday while having a talk and a sandwiches with his good pals Spielberg and Lucas. This makes you feel that you are way behind on your homework! This can also spawn some questions like: Am I really as learned on this topic as I thought I was or should be? Is this guy really the expert? Should I step aside and find a different topic because I´ll never be as experienced as this person? Am I not the geek that I so proudly announced myself as? Well, basically my answer to that is… you need to relax, man.
Being a geek doesn´t depend on a trend or on quantity, it´s really about quality. It´s not important if you´ve listened to The Beatles´ White Album 352 times with your Friends or once with a cup of wine by yourself. What´s really important is how you experience your hobbies or interests and what those experiences mean to you and no one else. So, being a geek is having passion about a subject and trying to be surrounded by it in your free time, not by remembering every line of your favorite Harry Potter book or owning a bigger vintage bicycles collection than your neighbor (that was really specific, I know) but by enjoying it in a way that only you can enjoy it and sharing your love for that topic with your closest friends in a respectful manner because, let´s face it… nobody likes a troll.
Edgar Juárez M.