I’m a nerd. To be more correct, I’m a geek. Today’s popular vernacular uses these terms interchangeably, but they are very different indeed. In my personal definition, a nerd is someone who is really smart and knowledgeable about a certain topic, most often a branch of science or math. A geek on the other hand, is someone who is really knowledgeable about a subject no one except other geeks care about. This would include, but is not limited to: comic books, science fiction, Star Trek, Star Wars, video games, movies (with horror movies being the geekiest), cartoons both foreign and domestic, fantasy games (think Dungeons & Dragons), definitions of meaningless words, or in general anything that provokes the reaction from other people to say, “Wow, what a geek.”
I’d say I’ve been a geek my whole life, and anyone who’s known me that long could readily attest to that. When I was about 13 years old my mom would give me an allowance of $20 a month, which I would promptly drop at the local comic book store and leave with a level of excitement most boys that age reserve for pretty girls. I’ve done my fair share of playing outside, getting dirty, riding bikes, and whatever else normal, healthy, active kids do, but I would have rather spent the day beating Super Mario Brothers on my Nintendo for literally the 100th time. As a side note, I haven’t played that game regularly in about 20 years, but I can still finish the game in about 20 minutes (using warps, of course, but still!).
I’ve mentioned a couple times before my encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek: The Next Generation, so that alone qualifies me as a geek, but it goes so much deeper than that. I remember one night when my wife and I were dating that I got off work and came over to visit her. Her younger brother was finishing up a date by watching The Matrix on this new contraption called a DVD player. All the lights were off, they were sitting close to each other on the couch, my girlfriend was waiting for me, yet I still had to resist the urge to go into WAY too much depth about all the symbolism and mish-mashed philosophy of the movie. Seriously, I qualify to give lectures at colleges about the over-arching story of The Matrix Trilogy, the intricacies of all the characters, the imagery of the different worlds portrayed, and the real importance of The Oracle. Not a single person actually wants me to do that, but I could.
Some people are very grounded in reality, but something about me has always loved losing myself into worlds where amazing things can happen. A world where people had super-powers, or monsters roamed freely, or where you’d have to always keep your trusty +1 mace by your side would probably be horrifying, but I can’t help but wish they were real.