Sunday, January 9, 2011

Why Geeks are [Almost Always] Better People

Every once in a while I will post one of the more popular public LiveJournal entries that I've written, and today is one of those days. Mainly because we were watching Revenge of the Nerds last night and I think it's obvious that this entry goes hand in hand with that movie :o)

To put it bluntly, being a geek has made me a better person, and being friends with other geeks has made me realize that in general, we "geeks" are simply a more accepting, laid back, and kind breed of human.

Now, I don't mean to toot my own horn. I know that I don't have the best filters and that I can come across as a bitch, because I rarely hold back when it comes to giving my opinions. And I have certainly met the rare person who enjoys geeky things and yet is still a total asshole.

That said, a few bad apples certainly doesn't spoil the whole pot, so I bring you The Tale of a Good Geek.

I have absolutely been a geek my entire life; unfortunately, it took me a long time to embrace my own inclinations. When I was in elementary and middle school, I certainly fit the way one would "expect" a geek to look--baggy clothes that hid as much as possible about the way I looked, a haircut that was more for ease than looks, and big thick glasses. I was good in school, shy, and had my nose in a book more often than not. At some point during middle school, I realized that my good grades made me seem even more geeky, so I stopped trying. I couldn't help but get good grades in my "easy" subjects (English and History), but when it came to foreign languages, math, and science--forget it.

But then came my freshman year, and with it the re-release of the original Star Wars movies, which I had never seen. My dad took me to the theater, and from the words "Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi--you're my only hope", I was hooked. However, I could not fathom that Star Wars was a "cool" thing to be interested in--so I hid my obsessive knowledge of the dialogue and characters, only read my Timothy Zahn and Kevin J. Anderson "sequels" in the privacy of my bedroom, and certainly never told anyone that I was in the official Star Wars fan club. I'm not really sure that any of my high school friends knew about my inner geekiness. I kept it under lock and key, because as it was, I felt like enough of an outcast even without them knowing that I had shelves full of Star Wars books hidden in my closet, and a Luke & C3PO t-shirt in my dresser.

Oh yeah, and I continued to barely pass certain classes (namely science) and just in general keep my mouth shut and my head down, despite my revolutionary introduction to contacts, makeup, and baby doll t's.

A stern talking-to from my parents and the realization that with minimal effort, I could hit honor roll every semester led to the vast improvement of my grades, but when it came down to it, I was still miserable in high school. I was shy around everyone but my closest friends, and many times I even felt alienated from them. I'm not saying that the people I was friends with in high school were bad people; they just weren't my people. Really, we had nothing in common, not that I would have admitted that at the time.

Eventually I added X Files to my list of geeky obsessions. I wrote bad sci-fi fiction in my spare time (that I will not be sharing, haha). I swooned over Mulder and Scully and continued to put my Star Wars videos in the VCR whenever I was bored. I ended up dating someone who shared my X Files and Star Wars interests, but I was pretty sure his interest was just that--an interest, whereas mine was far more. I graduated, went away to college, went away to Disney, and still felt the need to keep my true self under wraps. At Bay Path I was still shy and insecure; at Disney, I was neither of those things, but I certainly didn't shout to the world that I'd read every Tolkein book in preparation for the release of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring or that my hardcover copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was falling apart at the seams.

When did things change? I'm honestly not really sure. Over time I was certainly more open about things--I even begged some friends who were obviously not into Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or Star Wars to see said movies with me when they came out in late 2001/mid 2002--but I don't remember ever being one with my geekiness until the summer of 2002. And I honestly think that I have one person and one person only to thank for that--Michael Humphrey. To this day one of my best friends, during that summer, when I was an impressionable 19-year-old and he a worldly 24-year-old, I understood that one of the best and coolest people I knew was a total and complete geek--and suddenly it didn't seem so bad that I myself was one, as well.

I must have seen Star Wars Episode II three or four times that summer--in the theater. I bought Star Wars and X Files posters for my dorm room that fall and discussed X Men with my roommate Lori. During this time, I made plenty of likewise geeky friends, but also joined a sorority (probably not the best choice of action for someone such as myself, but hey, it was fun at the time). I excelled in school. Sure, at times I still felt a bit awkward and out-of-place, but that was my own fault, for trying to force friendships with people with whom I had nothing in common. After college, my geeky friendbase continued to grow, first thanks to the many great people Mr. aforementioned Mike Humphrey introduced me to, and then due to the fact that I became friends with some of my most wonderful (and of course, geekiest) cast members while I was a manager at Disney.

Of course, my Ex never understood or appreciated my geekiness. When I was with him, many times I repressed my desire to go see certain movies, or talk about the ins and outs of Star Wars (not that he knew about Star Wars, anyway). I introduced him to my friends and always felt as if he was looking down on them; he certainly never had anything in common with them. I guess I should have known that it would come to this, considering I dated him off and on for nearly a year before even coming clean about the fact that I was, well, geeky. And in the end, despite his "super duper cool" high school friends in Lynchburg, I never felt as if I had a true friend there until we started frequenting karaoke nights at ElCab and met wonderful people like Christian, Bruffy, Ruthie, etc. The karaoke geek may be a different kind of geek, but he or she is a geek nonetheless ;o)

Still, imagine my vast relief that after leaving said Ex, I soon found someone who not only shared my knowledge of and interest in all things geek, but is, admittedly, even geekier than I am--and I appreciate him all the more for that.

In conclusion, let's face facts--people who are geeky and/or unattractive and/or shy in their younger years are simply more accepting of others' quirks in their later years. The high school Tara would have shied away from some of my current friends, because they wouldn't have been perceived as "cool enough". Thank God I outgrew that shit. Thank God that I embraced the geekiest and, honestly, best parts of myself. Because had I not done so, I would have missed out on the best people I've ever known, and the best significant other I've ever had.

Embrace your inner geek, folks. Let it shine. And let it make you a better person.

GO GEEK! :o) Pin It

1 comment:

  1. I'm raising my hand as a fellow geek here--although my flavor is Star Trek. (As an aside, I like Star Wars and I don't understand why ST & SW get compared as much as they do--they're completely different types of sci-fi that just happen to have the name "Star" in there.) Growing up, thankfully my whole family was into Trek, so I had an outlet there. But the majority of my friends--okay, mostly just the girls--were all "Ew. My Dad watches that. It's boring." I have the Next Generation Series Companion, read the novels, saw the movies--haven't been to a convention, though. I love to embrace my geekiness just as much as I love to put on makeup and bellydance. It's all part of the package. I think it's the willingness to embrace counterculture along with the pop culture and recognize the value of both is what makes us, as humans, better.