Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Extra nerd points

In somebody's blog comments tonight I was reading about a way to earn "extra nerd points", a suggestion that was enthusiastically received. That got me wondering: how many of us self-identify as nerds? How many of us were considered nerdy as kids, and grew up to say "so what" and celebrate the intelligence or the special interests that the other kids had scorned? When I was a kid I thought there were very few people like me, and that I needed to learn to act like all the other belles-in-training. As I grew older I was fortunate to realize I'd been mistaken. I met more and more people like me--quite a few people who "get" me. Eventually I even married someone like me.

What's the difference between a nerd and a geek, anyway?

If the Scientist and I had been able to have kids, I would have loved to receive this at my baby shower.


Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

The baby gift is a hoot!

I think alot of us trying to be like others when we were younger has to do with being raised as a good little southern girl. I know that, the older I get, the more comfortable I am with myself. I have learned to embrace my quirkiness....cause that is what makes me....me.

Anonymous said...

I'm proud to call myself a (computer) geek, it's like a bdage of honor in my line of work. I think it depends on the context, though.

DogBlogger said...

The Alpha offers the following treatise on "nerd" and "geek":

A nerd is someone who excels academically and takes pride in doing so. A geek is someone with a high degree of enthusiasm for unconventional hobbies and/or a high degree of knowledge in an unconventional topic. It is also possible to be a geek about conventional topics, but the degree of enthusiasm/knowledge required is at a much higher threshold. For example, The Geeks from "Beat The Geeks." TV, movies, and music are all mainstream topics, but those guys knew so much as to enter the realm of geeks.

Nerds are not necessarily geeks, and geeks are not necessarily nerds; however, they often overlap. I would draw a Venn diagram (nerdy!) showing the sets and the overlap, but I can't send it.

Historical aside: the term "geek" arose from circus sideshows. There were often two types of performers in side shows, freaks and geeks. Freaks were those with obvious physical abnormalities: the fat and/or bearded lady, the thin man, the contortionist. Geeks were those willing or able to perform unconventional acts: the sword swallower, the guy who bit the heads off of animals. So originally, a geek was someone who performed crazy antics. It has since evolved to encompass enyone engaged in strange hobbies, such as D&D, video games, and comic book collecting.

Wow! How many nerd points is THAT worth?

Also, I noticed on the baby gift... "V" for "Virus" doesn't actually have anything viral on it. Looks more like paramecium to me. But what do I know from science? I'm a William Faulkner geek.

zorra said...

Wow! Now that is the definitive word on the subject. Please thank the Alpha for me. Nothing more need be said.

I'm with you on the virus thing. I wouldn't know. For English literature, 60's music, and projective techniques, I'm your gal, but I don't know from paramecium. My favorite is "M is for Mandelbrot fractal set." I had to look that up. My resident biophysicist/electro-optical engineer has to explain some of this stuff to me.

Purechristianithink said...

I tended to band together with my fellow nerds for protection and mutual edification. Most years, this worked out reasonably well. I did discover that my nerdiness followed me into youth ministry. The years I had big youth responsibilities, I found myself unable to shake my nerdiness. I got along well with the nerdy type kids, and the cool kids still thought I was a total dork.

SpookyRach said...

Wow. Alpha has maxed out the Nerd points. Wonder what kind of rewards you can trade them in for?

Am I a nerd? Can you say "yearbook editor"?

(LOVE the alphabet. If I'd chosen to have kids, I would've loved that, too.)

Preacher Mom said...

My daughter and her boyfriend are sitting in the next room. I asked them the difference. According to them, being a nerd has more to do with academics and being a geek has more to do with social behavior and style. Then they informed me that no one really uses the term 'geek' anymore, except maybe the context of 'computer geek.'

It was probably the nerd in me that wanted to understand the difference!

And loved the poster, although I didn't understand all of it!

DogBlogger said...

Rach, I was yearbook editor, too!

Also, when I first made the cheerleading squad I thought it meant instant popularity and the end of nerdiness. Instead, I quickly learned I was the nerd cheerleader.

Cathy said...

My kids call me a dork, but I am a nerd and a geek....