I am NOT a geek!
I am a nerd.
I get called a geek all the time. My own wife calls me a geek. I am not a geek. I'm not smart enough, educated enough or ironic enough to be a geek. Sure I am an early adopter of technology, I like science fiction, fantasy and animation, I dress like I don't own a mirror and I don't play well with others but I'm not smart enough to write software and if I make any kind of effort to dress like a hipster, I look like an idiot. I do not work in a start-up. I live in the dark bathed in the glow of my computer screen. I am probably looking at porn not writing code. I am a nerd.
Nerds are the great wannabes of the social underclass. They are typically 30 IQ points, 40 pounds and 3.5 years of schooling away from being a geek. They are so close, they can almost taste it and they want so very badly to taste it. A geek has legitimacy, they are so uncool they are ultra cool. They can be hot,,,,very hot. A geek girl is as alluring as she is unattainable, beautiful without seeming to know it, casually rumpled, bespectacled and as impossible to ignore as a dead raccoon on a hot sidewalk.
It doesn't help that friends and family who don't know any better insist on calling you a geek. Do you know how to format windows? Fix a simple virus? Connect a router? Maybe even hook up a printer and find a driver for it? If you answered yes to any of these questions then as far as your technology-phobic family is concerned, you are a geek.
Never mind that you know better. Never mind that a real geek would sniff you out in a heart beat. Never mind that you may not even be a nerd much less a geek. As far as the civilians are concerned, you are a geek forever doomed to dispensing computer advice you are not qualified to give while occupying the no-mans land between normal people and people who think they are normal people.
You are a nerd. You are lonely because nerds are not herd animals. We walk the empty streets alone, well, mostly alone. We communicate on social media sites, we rarely meet in person. When we do it's awkward, short lived and uncomfortable. We can smell our own kind, see the shame and envy in each others eyes as we tickle the edges of the unselfconsciously techno glitterati, the true geek masses, the no-go zone for those such as you or I.
You are a nerd. I am a nerd. We are not pretty, we are not proud. We grind no axe and we leave no lasting mark. We are lovable in movies but only in the first one, the sequels always fail. By the second movie people have stopped emphasizing, stopped feeling sorry for the hapless nerd, stopped wanting to see the underdog “pull one off” there is nothing romantic or enviable about being a nerd.
Being a nerd is still being “something”. We do enjoy ourselves. Chocolate milk, pizza, a couple of bong hits and a stack of firefly DVDs is a spanking good time and well within the reach of even the most poverty stricken of the socially impaired. No need to dress up, nerd culture is almost never a face to face affair. Come as you are, nobody knows or cares that you haven't left your bedroom in two days or that your nuts are currently stuck to the cold vinyl of your computer chair as you sit typing out pearls of wisdom and pithy hilarity to “friends” you may or may not have ever actually met in person.
To live the life of a nerd is to live the life of the chronic underachiever. A nerd is typically under less pressure than the shower nozzle at a Super 8 motel. Nobody expects anything from a nerd. We are undependable, we promise solutions we cannot provide, nobody with any common sense depends on a nerd to come through in the crunch and therein lies the problem.
Geeks do get the job done. Geeks have the tools, the drive and the confidence to do the job and do it right. In fact, they will usually do it better than you originally asked for it to be done. Geeks are overachievers in an understated way. It's part of what makes nerds wish they were geeks even though none of us really have the energy to follow through with it were the geek faerie to wave her magic wand and give us what we think we want. Call a nerd a geek and you place expectations on his or her shoulders they cannot possibly live up to. It's not fair and it's beyond our control.
Geeks are geeks. I am not a geek, please stop calling me one. ;)