On being a Geek

Coolest. Dude. Ever.

When I was six years old, I realized I was a geek.

My older cousin asked me if I wanted to join the Boy Scouts.  I just started school and I was familiar with cycle I was recently introduced to.  Go to school.  Weekends you sit around and wait to go back.  This Boy Scout thing was an option, and idea, something I could do if I wanted to, if the wind carried me.  And I studied it and looked at all the stuff the Boy Scouts would do.  Play outside.  Camp.  What else?  Build things?  Tie knots?  Stuff like that?  I looked at my Cousin, me being six and the size of a small dog.

“Nope,” I said.

“Why not?” My cousin asked.

“Because that shit looks stupid,” I said.

I got a nice whipping for the swear word, but the gauntlet had been thrown down.  I stated my position.  I knew where I wanted to go.  I was, and forever would be, uninterested in the crap that ordinary boys did.  It just didn’t appeal to me.  Hang out outside?  Where would I plug the television in?  I understood then and understand now that there is value to spending time outdoors, to enjoy nature.  But I also understood then that there are options, ways to spend your free time.  You don’t have to do “X”.  You can do “Y”.  And “Y” I did.  All day.  Every day.

First it was the Westerns, these grainy stories where the hero knocked people out with one punch.  He shot guns and rode horses and yelled and was friends with the red man.  Then there were Kung-Fu movies, complex tangos between foes that hated each other for complicated, abstract reasons.  Your style is different from mine. You shamed my father.  You killed my mother.  Real problems being fixed with the fist and the sword and the staff.  Then came my savior, the one piece of artwork that changed my entire perception of the world.

“What’s this?” I asked my mother, walking past the television, heading towards the kitchen.

“I think they are calling it Star Trek,” my mother said, standing, folding clothes.  “Star Trek: The Next Generation or something like that.” Continue reading