Sunday, January 4, 2009

Evolution of the geek

It started with an innocent question at work - who is the geekiest? It got me thinking about just how much the term geek has changed in recent years. According to Merriam-Webster, the word geek originated in 1914 and meant a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake. That definition reminds me of Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a bat. The last word I would associate with that is geek.

In later years, the term geek came to mean a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked. I, like many others, experienced this personally growing up. Computers were still such a novelty that my interest in them didn't immediately brand me as a geek, however my interest in Star Trek and Star Wars did. By today's definition, that made me a scifi geek. In high school, it just meant that I was supposed to hang out with my own kind.

Thankfully, as computers became more mainstream, and with the birth of the internet, being a geek became less derogatory and more of a badge of honor. Today it has come to mean an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity. Geeks rule the world.

This leads me back to the question that started it all: who is the geekiest? I don't think there is a clear winner among my co-workers. We are all geeks, but in different ways. Andrew is a flying geek. Justin is a game geek. Dan is a computer geek. I am...well, that's sorta undefined. I am a scifi geek, that is certain. I am also a bit of a film/tv geek, a computer geek (I built my own gaming pc) and a bit of a gaming geek. Perhaps, despite all the breakdown, when it comes down to it, I'm just a geek.

Are you?

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely lovely blog. You've got a very nice way with words, and I love your love affair with your own geekiness. It's refreshing. :)

    I'm on Twitter, too. I'll be following you soon.