In a time when being a nerd or geek is not just socially acceptable but a cultural trend, I like to fancy myself to primarily be a geek. What’s the difference?
Geek is a term coming from the freakshow in circus culture. It was used for those that performed wild or disgusting acts… like biting the heads off chickens… In modern culture it mostly refers to people that develop an obsession with something. A large number of geeks are scifi obsessed. Trekkies and Star Wars junkies are geeks. Some geeks just like techie culture, and they know the ins and outs of every new computer thing. Still, some are LotR fans, some are gamers, some are Sneaker Heads… I’d even say that skaters are a form of geek since they throw themselves into that culture head first and learn everything about it and master the physics required to do it.
Nerd is a term for a really studious person. You can see how the terms are obviously related, since in order to be a ridiculous fanboy/girl you’d have to absorb all the information on your selected topic. A nerd, however, is educationally inclined. They’re hungry for knowledge about real things.
You can be a nerd and a geek at the same time. You can geek out on nerdy shit, even. I love to pick a new topic and obsess over it… This week I’m very into reptiles. Been drawing crocs and looking into their anatomy. Last week I was really into mental illness (again… I hit that one a lot). I absorb information like a sponge, and I love studying things. The difference between me and someone that is primarily a nerd is that I do it in spurts based on what’s interesting this week. A nerd will dedicate themselves to the search for all the information on something and end up with a doctorate… I’m just kind of annoying to talk to because I sound like I know everything.
My mother consistently accuses me of making shit up because I know so many random facts about everything….
I was a geeky lil kid, too. I threw myself into anime, and Star Trek, and I LOVED school. That is… I loved school until fifth grade.
Fifth grade was the year mom and I agreed to trade my private school tuition for a mortgage payment. I was promised a dog and a backyard to run around in, instead of being confined to an apartment where I wasn’t allowed to play outside because the neighborhood was weird and dangerous. For those of you thinking that we would have moved with or without me agreeing, you’re wrong. My mom’s only priority in life was my happiness, and since I loved school (like REALLY loved school) she made sure to actually talk it out with me. A better neighborhood meant other kids, and a house meant I could finally have a dog and play outside with it, but it also meant starting all over again. We’d only been at the apartment for two years, having moved to Colorado from Florida. So it wasn’t easy for her to decide what would better for me.
Public school was nothing like private school was. I don’t know how far the differences are when you get older, or how close the curriculum runs these days, but at the time it was a joke. Public school was full of kids that didn’t want to be there, seemed to have no manners, and generally thought I was an alien because I liked school and was trained to stand when I spoke. Also, they were about a year behind me in material. The homework was so easy I literally didn’t understand it for the first few weeks, and neither did my mother. Then we were like… oh, we did this like two years ago… wtf.
To make a long story shorter, I didn’t excel at making friends, and when I entered middle school I was socially awkward and awful. I found refuge with some nerds. Girls who drew and liked anime, too. When I realized I was moving up into high school, I knew that I couldn’t stay with them. I liked them, but they weren’t cool. I’d gone from being a popular kid in private school to an outcast in public. So I dropped them, and that’s when it started.
I spent all of high school and college training myself to behave the way I thought I was supposed to, or at least the way that the people I wanted to associate with were acting. Everything I was evaporated. I spent vast quantities of time researching things I heard in passing so that I could talk to these people and make it seem like we were similar.
If that sounds nuts… it’s because it is.
I lost all sense of myself. I even adopted different personas for different sets of acquaintances and friends. If you’d gotten everyone I knew together in a room, no one would have any idea who everyone else was talking about. I was literally a different person for everyone. Not like a little different… but majorly different. Different music tastes, different clothes, different habits, different interests, different set of slang… I changed everything.
Talk about spreading yourself too thin.
I don’t know when I stopped doing that, but it’s relatively recently… past 3 years or so, guess. I stopped picking interests that other people had just to have a reason for them to talk to me. I went back to interests that I originally had, and I kept the interests I had picked up that were actually interesting.
Turns out I’m naturally a nerdy fucking geek.
I had more for this… but I might experiencing a slight breakdown right now… so… Enjoy the unfinished nature of this entry.