Last changed 08:53am 25 September 2000 by
Copyright Sunir Shah. All rights reserved.

To geek or not to geek

I'm a geek. I admit it. Geeks have taken a bum rap over the years, but I'm different. I'm a geek of the new era, born from pure silicon. I'm a computer geek. I'm a proud computer geek.

Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that I'm a sociophagic, basement-dwelling, cathode junkie, that the only thing keeping me from hitching my pants any higher is my pocket protector, that my high-pitched voice frightens bats. Well, you're wrong. I'm just a humble computer enthusiast.

And what's wrong with enthusiastically picking apart the inner workings of the analytical engine? Its greasy counterpart has been picked apart and reassembled countless times the world over. Just because computers aren't featured as favourably in movies as a V8 engine, spelunking the depths of computers is no less admirable. Besides, nothing beats spending a caffeinated all-nighter staring with glazed eyes at an unforgiving monitor. At the end, you've done the impossible, and when asked how, you smirk and coyly reply, "Oh, just voodoo."

Voodoo, you scoff! Find another capable of the wizardly feat of getting the printers to print. Show me anyone else who can get a computer to spit out the first 50000 digits of pi in surround sound. Unearth a mere programmer zen enough to shave off 20 microseconds in a previously "tight" inner loop.

Scoff if you must, but we too have our own sense of humour. Not many forms of humour outdo geek sub-culture's particular version of pie in the face. Puns, wordplay, weird logic, mindless humour and elaborate parodies are all common in geekdom and appear quite, well, geeky to everyone else. Flashing a red card with the word, "GREEN," printed on it would reduce a geek like myself to hysterics. I guess you have to be a geek to get it.

But being a geek isn't difficult, despite how selective I've made geek culture seem. In fact, geek culture isn't very selective at all. Characters floating through the electronic ether have a certain uncaring uncertainty. Only what they say counts. And after giving full human rights to alien life forms and walking tin cans, it's hard to discriminate against something as mundane as sex or skin colour.

And for once our very discriminatory, ungeeky society agrees with how I feel. In an ironic twist, the uncool are becoming cool; geek is chic. Anyone prone to listening to the media, which is always dangerous, should have already thanked whatever deity they thank for the upcoming "Information Age" which will solve everything from our slumping economy to the common cold. Yes, geeks are desired entities.

Whatever society may think, though, it doesn't matter to me because no matter how uncool I am, I'll still be able to get the printers to print.

[written c1996]



geek (gek)
Slang n. 1. A carnival performer whose act consists of biting the head off a live animal, such as a chicken or a snake.