Embracing My Inner Geek


I have revealed a lot of secrets in this blog over the past year, and I’m quite certain that those faithful readers who have been with me since the beginning now know more about me than they ever needed or wanted to know.  In fact, it’s possible that some readers have abandoned me out of fear that future revelations will simply be more than their weak constitutions can handle.

For the rest of you, though, in appreciation of your bravely sticking around, I am about to reveal to you and you alone the juiciest tidbit, the best-kept secret of all.  Are you ready?  Brace yourself . . .

I am a geek.

There.  I said it.  The secret is out, and I feel such sweet relief in not having to keep it hidden any longer.  Now you can be honest with me–are you shocked by this revelation, or have you been harboring secret suspicions all along?

When I was growing up, being labeled a “geek” (i.e., a nerd with social skills) was a bad thing; rarely did a geek even acknowledge such status, and then only in whispers to other geeks.  Sometimes we stared blindly at the chalkboard rather than donning our “Coke bottle” glasses, and we never, never revealed our test scores out of fear that one of the failing jocks would realize we were the ones who set the grading curve.  We tried desperately–and often failed miserably–to conceal our “geekiness” to prevent being ridiculed, possibly beaten up, and definitely copied from on algebra tests.

And then a beautiful thing happened.  Computers–which had been around for decades–went mainstream, and soon people were not only learning how to use them but were also buying them to have as their very own.  Smart guys like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were becoming multi-bazillionaires, and suddenly it was okay to be a geek and to wear that label proudly.

Obviously, not all geeks are computer geniuses; there are other distinguishing characteristics that are usually easily identifiable.  As evidence of my own geeky status, I offer to you the following proof:

  • My junior year in high school I received the “History Award,” my senior year I was president of the Library Club, and my idea of a wild Friday night was cruising through A&W and asking for a squirt of vanilla AND a squirt of cherry in my Coke.  Those facts alone should be enough to erase any doubts you might have had, but since that was a LONG time ago, I will continue and offer more current documentation.
  • A visit to Barnes and Noble sends me into a giddy frenzy, and discovering that one of my favorite authors has a new release is sheer, heart-pounding ecstasy.
  • Sometimes when I have nothing else to do, I will thumb through a dictionary or thesaurus, looking for words I’ve never seen before in my quest to someday know every word in the English language.
  • One of my favorite movies is “Napoleon Dynamite” (“Tina, you fat lard, come get some DINNER!”); another favorite is “The Princess Bride” (“My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!”)
  • Some of my clothes are older than my children.
  • Sick friends often consult me about their symptoms–not because of my training in the medical field (of which I have none) but rather because of my extensive research on WebMD and mayoclinic.com.
  • Whenever I buy items on sale, I always do the calculations in my head before I get to the cash register just to be sure the computer doesn’t cheat me (sometimes it does).
  • I say things like “gosh darn it” and “dadgummit.”
  • I’ve never grown squash and cucumbers before this summer, and I really, really want to take pictures of them and post them on Facebook.
  • I like learning new things just for the sake of learning.  Tonight, for example, I paused the microwave while defrosting meat, and I noticed when I hit “resume,” the turntable–which had been rotating clockwise–started rotating counter-clockwise instead.  I hit the “pause” button again to see what would happen; the turntable reverted to rotating clockwise.  I paused several more times, and each time the turntable rotated in the opposite direction.  Fascinating.  Naturally, I had to Google immediately to find out why this was happening.
  • I want to study Latin.
  • Sometimes I send emails to myself, reminding me to complete a certain task.  And I often write reminders on sticky notes that I place on my computer screen (check email!), my steering wheel (pay electric!), and my wallet (buy milk and coffee!).
  • I have spent way too much time fantasizing about world domination and contemplating the possibilities of time travel.
  • Every Saturday morning I compile a list of chores I need to complete before day’s end, and I frequently add items that I’ve actually already done just so I can have the pleasure of marking them off the list and feeling like I’ve already accomplished something.
  • (Sometimes I like wearing granny underpants.)
  • Every time I read graffiti on a bathroom stall, my fingers are itching to pull out a marker from my purse to correct the grammar and spelling (and to make the drawings more anatomically correct).
  • Billboards with misspelled words on them are a major pet peeve of mine, and I will refuse to frequent any business with misspellings in its advertising.
  • I have no idea what “kernel level audit trails” are, but I do know what WYSIWYG, USB and http mean–does that count for anything?
  • Sometimes I put my lunch leftovers in my purse.  Sometimes I forget about them.
  • I read the ingredient labels on everything, just to see if I can pronounce all the words.  Shampoo bottles are my favorites.
  • I like to read poetry from the 19th century.
  • I am too chicken to get a real tattoo because of my fear of needles.  If I could somehow overcome that fear, though, Shakespeare would be forever emblazoned across my backside.  I’m torn between “There is no darkness but ignorance” (from Twelfth Night, Act IV, scene II) and “Boldness be my friend” (from Cymbeline, Act I, scene VI).  I’m leaning toward the latter simply because I think fewer letters would mean fewer needle pricks.
  • Final, definitive proof–I have a list of “My Top 21 Favorite Words” (21 instead of 20 because I think odd numbers are cooler than even numbers!).  Some of these words I like because of their meaning, but some I like just because of the way they roll off my tongue.  Here’s my list, in random order:
  1. facetious
  2. juxtapose
  3. bodacious (which always makes me think of An Officer and a Gentleman–and makes me giggle)
  4. gobbledygook
  5. hunky-dory
  6. oxymoron
  7. decadent
  8. groovy
  9. voracious
  10. pontificate
  11. onomatopoeia (best spelling bee word ever!)
  12. loquacious
  13. scrumptious
  14. copacetic
  15. rapscallion (which makes me think of Jack Sparrow–which makes me think of Johnny Depp–which makes me giggle)
  16. serendipity
  17. sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia (pronounced just like it looks)
  18. effervescent
  19. lickety-split
  20. supercilious
  21. machismo

Yep, I’m a geek–and proud of it.  And I’m willing to bet that at least a few readers recognize themselves in some of the above items–am I right?  In a recent CNN article, Scott Kaufman, the CEO of Geeknet (the company that owns Geek.com) claimed that geeks will “define this decade.”  Our time has come.  Tomorrow (July 13) is actually “Embrace Your Geekness Day,” the perfect opportunity for all the rest of you to release your inner geek–let it out and let it shine.  Proudly.

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About icedteawithlemon

I have recently retired from a 30-year career in education in one of the best school districts in the world. I hope to spend my second life reading, writing, photographing, traveling, biking, cheering on my favorite baseball team (the St. Louis Cardinals), and soaking up glorious sunshine. In my spare time I enjoy playing with my pet tarantulas, trying out new flavors of chewing gum, and knitting socks for prison inmates. I'm almost positive that in a past life I was one of the Seven Dwarfs (most likely "Grumpy"), and in my next life I'm going to be either a taste tester for Hershey's or a model for Victoria's Secret's new line, "Bloomers for Boomers." I want to travel country back roads, singing Vanilla Ice songs at every karaoke bar and rating bathroom cleanliness at every truckstop. And someday I plan to own a private beach where skinny girls aren't allowed. I want to be a writer when I grow up. "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."--Henry David Thoreau
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14 Responses to Embracing My Inner Geek

  1. Janet Taber says:

    Guess I must be a geek, too, ’cause I’m with you on most of this…except the tat part….even the Bard wouldn’t be enough temptation for that one. Do you have a file folder on your desktop where you put new or favorite words?? And one for favorite quotes?? Handier than sticky notes, I must say…
    After reading this blog, I’d have to say that you’ve earned one of my favorite words…you are quite the perspicacious one!
    P.S. My newest pet peeve….the commercial where all those people say, “How come….” Like nails on a blackboard….

    • Believe me, there is little chance of the Bard suffering such an indignity any time soon! And yes, I do keep updated files in one of my software programs for the sole purpose of listing my favorite words and favorite quotes (further proof, I know). And thank you for the compliment, my fellow geek! I’m not familiar with that commercial, but I do detest any advertising campaign that uses “sloppy speech” because some marketing genius thinks the best way to communicate with the masses is to speak down to them!

  2. Miles Long says:

    Classic!!! I use the email and post-it technique, too! And Napoleon Dynamite was one of my favorite movies. Kernel level audit trails are cool and when you said “http” did you mean hyper text transfer protocol (http) version 1.0 or 1.1 and did you mean to include “https” with TLSv1 or SSL security capabilities?

    Finally, GEEK IS CHIC.

    • Don’t make me whip out my subordinate clauses and subjunctive mood on you! Gosh darn it, Miles, I stick one little toe into YOUR geek domain–and you stomp on it! I have not a clue as to the difference between 1.0 or 1.1, and while I am familiar with “https,” the differences between TLSv1 and SSL currently elude me. Perhaps you would care to enlighten me. (And I like the “Geek is Chic”–I would wear that t-shirt!)

  3. Sam Eubank says:

    I like combining my geek with my smart-ass. It’s fun! I’ll gladly get that tattoo on me in your place. I prefer “There is no darkness but ignorance.” I’ll put it right under my “WMD” tattoo on my left bicep. I also know your inner geek will be super pleased to know that I know the meaning of and can pronounce all of your favorite words. It’s hard to be sarcastic, snide and snarky and get away with it without an extensive vocabulary.

    • I don’t think it would mean the same if you got the tattoo for me (and don’t you have enough already?). I’m not surprised that you know all those words; you had a great English teacher, and you’re an avid reader–perfect combination for building vocabulary. And I can imagine you using some of those words in your sarcastic, snide and snarky way–and smiling as you utter them–and the intended recipients smiling right back at you, unaware of your true meaning. I don’t use such words in a sarcastic way, but I have noticed that the angrier I get, the bigger my words get, and sometimes the victims of my wrath are suddenly clueless as to what I’m saying (although tone of voice usually gives them a pretty good idea).

  4. Pure, identifiable laughter from this end! I didn’t know microwave turntables did that…and you didn’t bother to enlighten us as to why…so I had to look it up, too. And as for words, I love that I can right click on any word, which will take me to the dictionary and define it for me (again, since you didn’t bother to tell me all the meanings of your favorite words) and I can learn something new…so of course I did. I now have a new favorite word…if I can just remember how to say it: sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. So much cooler than saying “brain freeze!”

    • Janet, I didn’t bother to reveal any of that information because I was quite certain that a “true geek” wouldn’t be able to resist learning those things for himself/herself! I believe you have just proven me correct! I have had this microwave for years, and the thing that surprised me the most was that I had never noticed before that the turntable changed directions, so I just HAD to know why to make sure it wasn’t some kind of “freak accident”!

      • Yes, it’s true. And just so you know, I’m dying to get to a friend’s home so I can try out their turntable and see if it works the same way! (My microwave is from the 1970s or something so there’s no turntable.) Luckily, I have friends who are “true geeks” as well…or at least appreciate my geekiness enough to appease me while I experiment on their microwaves. 🙂

      • Now that’s funny!

  5. Power to the geeks! I’m not one, but I do have a secret: I’m jealous of them! Maybe I’m an aspiring geek because I can relate to several of the traits you’ve described. I am SO relieved that I am not the only person to send email reminders to themself, put sticky notes on their wallet, and include completed tasks on their “to do” list! Wear your geek badge proudly, IcedTeaWithLemon!

  6. bronxboy55 says:

    Except for wearing granny underpants and saying “Dadgummit,” we could be twins. “Napoleon Dynamite” and “The Princess Bride” are two of my favorite movies. And I just recently noticed the reversing microwave turntable phenomenon, too. I wish we were next-door neighbors.

    • So, I’m guessing if our joint venture of world domination does not materialize, we can always downsize our expectations and co-chair a chapter of Geeks United! How funny. I have no intentions of re-locating to the frigid North, but if you are interested in tolerating the heat and humidity of southern Missouri, I will gladly welcome you to my neighborhood!

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