It’s All Geek to Me

If You’re a geek, you probably already know that May 25 is “Geek Pride Day.” This is the day for geeks worldwide to come out of their bedrooms and demonstrate pride in their geekiness. I’m not a geek (not that there’s anything wrong with being geek) but I have friends who are geeks. If you think you might be a geek but are not sure, here’s a test: May 25 is also “Towel Day*.” If you know the significance of that, you are probably a geek.

To show solidarity with my brother and sister geeks, I will stand alongside them May 25 to celebrate geek culture. Although I don’t understand what they’re talking about much of the time, I recognize their value to society. Though some people look down on geeks, I have an unsettling suspicion that they are further along the evolutionary path then the rest of us.

Geeks retain that childlike sense of curiosity far longer than non-geeks. Somewhere in the maturity process, many people lose their capacity for wonder. Geeks don’t. They never stop wondering, “Why?” They never stop asking, “How?” and, “What if?” Us non-geeks may occasionally feel curious about something but often can’t be bothered to pursue it. Geeks can’t rest until they know.

Geeks can focus intensely. They don’t settle for an overview of a topic that they find interesting. They don’t skim. Geeks immerse themselves. They read everything they can get their hands on until they have no questions left. If I read a book on, say, astronomy, I think, “That’s great, now I know about astronomy.” A geek thinks, “Wow! Does that ever leave me with a lot of questions. I must find out more.” And they single-mindedly pursue the topic without allowing anything or anyone to distract them from it.

Geeks make it easy for the rest of us. If you want to know, ask a geek. Geeks allow us non-geeks to continue in our lazy-brained ways. Geeks have done the research. If they know about a topic, they know a lot about it. If you have a geek in the house, It’s like have a walking, talking Wikipedia. With no off button. Geeks allow us non-geeks to use a computer without fear. Programming language is all Greek, er, geek, to me. No matter what goes wrong with my computer, somehow a geek can be relied upon to make it right.

Geeks are an essential element in the richness of diversity that is the human race. Can you imagine a world without geeks? If we had no geeks, we’d have no smart phones, no space shuttle, and no light sabres. There would be no Google Maps, no electricity, and no Pythagorean theory. Even worse, Amazon orders would take weeks to process. Heck, the library would probably still have card catalogues. With, you know, cards.

Without geeks, we probably wouldn’t have online courses. No Moodle, no MOOCs, no Muchlearning for online exams. Athabasca, for many people, would just be a place on the map. Even if we don’t understand geeks, we owe a lot to them. So raise a glass of milk to geeks everywhere this May 25.

Happy Geek Pride Day, all you geeks. Keep your towel handy!

* “Towel Day” is the day hoopy froods keep their towel handy to commemorate late author Douglas Adams and his novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’m not a geek so I haven’t read the book; apparently the importance of towels is explained in Chapter 3. But you don’t need to read it. Just ask a geek to explain.

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario.

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