I cannot remember when I first heard the terms “geek” or “nerd.” I remember the first time I was teased for being a nerd. It was 1999; I was 15. It was very hurtful and made me an outsider — an outside among homeschoolers, or an outsider among outsiders, you could say. I was teased for not letting my peers copy off of my work and for doing homework.
That was all it took to be labeled a nerd. Of course, by this point, I was already well engrossed in geek/nerd culture. Somewhere there exists a video tape of me pretending to be Luke Skywalker being electrocuted by Darth Vader. That happened at age 12.
Or perhaps it started when I started timing how fast I could read a Hardy Boys book in 5th grade (just under 1 hour). Or in fourth grade when I started playing SimCity on our Apple Macintosh and I always rage quite after a disaster destroyed my city. I was 9.
In college, fully embracing my geek/nerd status as a double major without much of a social life. I still managed to find time to play Diablo 2 in my little bit of spare time and found friends by catching references to Douglas Adams in conversation.
Nerd or geek, I was and am. Which word was correct? I used to debate that with friends. Geek felt more tech-ish while nerd felt book-ish. As in, a geek knows computers, but a nerd knows Tolkien. The other day I came across this little infographic:
I find this breakdown interesting, but too binary. Also, too male-centric. If I had to commit, I’d say I’m a nerd who likes pop culture. Yes I’m a PC & Android loving, socially awkward, obsessively interested person. I’m definitely a nerd. However, I’m super long winded (have you read my blog?), and I fully embrace my desire to be an niche expert. Although, while I like Office Space, I certainly prefer LOTR, Star Trek, and the Matrix over the other geek choice movies.
I’m a geeky nerd, I guess. I’m 70% nerd and 30% geek. Or, nerd cake with geeky frosting.