Lifestyle

There Is No Such Thing as a Nerd (or a Geek)

The other day I overheard a guy and a girl arguing over the differences between a “geek” and a “nerd.” As someone who uses the internet, I know that this topic has come and passed time and time again, and that some people who have too much time on their hands actually get upset if incorrectly termed a geek when in reality they are a nerd. Heaven forbid.

I usually deplore when anyone turns to the dictionary for comparisons like this, but I feel like dictionary.com has something interesting to say on the topic.

Geek: “a digital-technology expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often used disparagingly by others)” or “a person who has excessive enthusiasm for and some expertise about a specialized subject or activity.”

Nerd: “an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a non-social hobby or pursuit.”

Ok, correct me if I’m wrong, but those sound extremely similar from my point of view. I know that there are technicalities that can be delved into. There are even some hilarious info-graphics that pop up on a “nerd vs geek” Google search. This same Google search also might lead you to discover that Dr. Seuss was the first person to use the term nerd, and geek was once a term used to describe circus performers.

That same Google search will also tell you that geeks are the cooler more socially acceptable versions of nerds. Wait, no, it will tell you that nerds are the cool ones because smart is the new sexy. It also seems to inform the fact that only nerds are allowed to wear loafers and play saxophone. Geeks really love Star Wars. Nerds really love Star Wars. Wait that can’t be right. And my head will explode if the term dork is even brought into the picture.

All that being said, nerd, dork, geek – they’re all the same. They’re all the terms most people use, sometimes yet not always in a derogatory manner, to describe people who have a particular interest in something. As a self described nerd geek or whatever – a person who has interests – the derogatory application of this word drives me crazy.

As a human being, I really like Star Wars. This is the kind of “really like” that entails watching all six movies (maybe not so much the first three) dozens of times, having light-saber duels, collecting Star Wars legos, playing Star Wars video games, and reading Star Wars books. I play video games, I’ve read and watched every piece of Game of Thrones material I can get my hands on, I love Sherlock – the list goes on. You get the picture.

Like anyone who goes to the movies, I recently saw Guardians of the Galaxy. And like anyone who likes things that are good, I thought it was fantastic. I’ve been wanting to get into comic books for a long time, and thought this would be a great place to start. I searched the internet for comics to start with, but was overwhelmed with the sheer volume of well, volumes of comics out there, so I decided to ask people for advice. More than a few said that they didn’t know. Go ask a nerd.

Someone who has read a lot of comic books is a nerd. Someone who has read a lot of sports magazines, they’re not a nerd? If you’re extremely talented at artwork, you’re not a nerd. If you’re extremely talented at computer programs, you are. I don’t see how this adds up.

I’ve met people who are not what society deems nerds. They go shopping, they read a book from time to time, they like to watch TV. They’re nice people, cool people, but definitely not nerds. I have another name for these people. Boring.

If you can spew out that facts that the possibility of navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1 or that Kobe’s shooting percentage is about 31% in the final 24 seconds of a game where the Lakers are tied or behind by two or less, is there really a difference between the two? Both situations show that a lot is known about a specific thing. But for some reason, one is nerdy, one isn’t.

Everyone who has an interest in anything is a nerd. Or a geek. Or a dork. That is neither a good or a bad thing, it’s just a human thing. Everyone loves something, whether it’s sports, an obsession with cats, or a wealth of knowledge about the Marvel universe. Having a passion for a particular subject isn’t nerdy or uncool, it’s just the opposite – it’s cool that someone has the ability to be creative and take such an interest in the things that they’ve discovered that they love in this crazy world with so many things to love in it.

 

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