I’ve been a nerd as long as I can remember, and at times a geek. At least, I’ve been called as such by a myriad cornucopia of thickheaded dinguses, and after a long history of being defined as such I’m finally secure with the identity. This, mainly, because nerds and geeks have defied a stark speciation and have bred profusely with all manner of population types. Or, nerds and geeks, however you’d like to call them, have a stock in a bigger pile of the world than before.
Remember when being a nerd or a geek meant being stuffed into a locker or enjoying the business end of a toilet with your face? Or, if you didn’t live in a dumb movie, being chastised for your love of RPGs and pocket protectors (I didn’t have the latter, but in retrospect they were bitchin’). I was a weird little bastard, complete with a crazy addiction to Dungeons and Dragons and robots (if they ever take over, I’ll be all set). And I was a nerd, or at least I think I was.
Recently, I chatted with a girl from the U.K. who challenged me to define what a nerd or geek was. I countered that whatever their definitions may have been, this taxonomy is now outdated because of our astronomical addiction to swiftly evolving technology. We’re all technically antisocial tech geeks now, peeking over to see if we’ve been texted roughly a million times every 90 seconds. She wasn’t satisfied, and said we’re all varied individuals, the label of nerd or geek a silly construction. Well, of course it’s a construction, but that doesn’t nullify its validity as a fauna type.
The definition of a nerd seems now to be someone who is obsessed with something, and a geek being similar but a wildly less sociable animal. However, big, beefy jocks can be nerds or geeks, as evidenced by frat dudes playing video games (doesn’t matter what kind) and sexy ladies evolving into unknowing cyborgs, fused with their mobile phones. Nerds have become extremely sexy creatures, with their sweaters, glasses, and conscientious blogs. Even the most antisocial folks can have some manner of social interaction, the Internet and smart devices connecting geeks and popular shnooks alike in a different sort of nature.
But I still take pride in calling myself a nerd, regardless of how little meaning it has. I haven’t stepped inside a high school in a while, and I’m guessing the same social woes still exist, but classic stereotypes don’t seem to permeate the culture as much. It’s sad, though, because the remaining nerds have to deal with nerd-sploitation like The Big Bang Theory, and possibly don’t see the exploded cross-section in culture that allows anyone to do anything. I don’t feel any fear in telling a sexy lady I play Dungeons and Dragons (I can get laid and play Settlers of Catan almost at the same time).
The problem remains, though, of how to define oneself if nerds and geeks are hybrid additions to any sort of individual. It’s a positive development, sort of, that information and technology is abundant enough to allow for many identities, but there’s a certain strength in having grown up a nerd or geek that will be lost to generations that don’t use that same pain to become genius overlords. I’m all for equality, but if there were a few overlords sometime down the road, I’d like to be able to identify with them (roll initiative Evil Overlord!).