Geeked Out

Written by PushingUpRoses on March 8th, 2010

You know…I got my first computer in 1992.  Can you imagine that?  Most people can’t even fathom the fact that the internet was invented in 1969, let alone people having computers in the early 90s.  I was seven, and amazed with computers after my aunt introduced me to parser games, the first one being King’s Quest 3.  I can still imagine what the floppy disk looks like.

Kings Quest III

Other seven year old girls were asking for Barbie dolls.  I was asking for a Sega Genesis, and a computer, like my aunt had.  So that year for Christmas, dear old Saint Nick got me a Genesis.  I was grateful, and I loved it.  But my aunt gave me something even more incredible.  A tandy computer, complete with an A: drive and a B: drive (or as I would call it, “the big disk drive.”)

When I went to school after winter break, I told everyone about my new computer.  I was so excited.  We had to write a small paper about what we got for Christmas, so I naturally  wrote about my Tandy with the “big disk drive.”  I sat down when I was done reading it to my second grade classroom, super proud and cocky, knowing that I was given the best gift out of all the students!

Tandy Computer

And then it happened.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a group of kids snickering and whispering.  And then I heard, “What a geek!

It wasn’t the last time I would be teased for being a geek.  The kids were cruel, often calling me a computer nerd, an ugly geek, and boring, up until the early 2000s, even.  A girl with a computer?  Shouldn’t she be playing with dolls or baking cookies, or hanging out with friends?

I found comfort in my computer for the longest time.  When the internet became more popular amongst households, I jumped on it.  I had to be apart of this new networking phenomenon. Up until recently though, the computers and the internet were not on the “popular” side.

Today, you are hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t own their own personal computer, or a laptop, with an internet connection.  Back in the 90s, when I had them both, I was teased.  But now, I would be teased if I didn’t have a computer or spend time surfing.   What was geeky and nerdy behavior then, is now…well….common.

In fact, it’s now “cool” to be a geek.  It’s becoming more and more popular to be into nerdy things, especially if you are a female.  But how did things change so rapidly?  What does it take to truly be a geek or a nerd these days? Throughout time, the terms “nerd” and “geek” have had negative attachments to them.  Not just in movies or in fictional stories, but in real life – especially in the 90s where everyone was striving to be hip, and cool, not smart, or nerdy.  (And I am speaking in general terms here, there of course were individuals back then, like myself, who went the nerdy route.)

Since geeky and nerdy are now the cool things to be, then what actually constitutes as a geek or a nerd?  And what takes it’s place?  Or maybe nothing took it’s place, maybe things have just changed as time went on, but if that is the case, are geeks and nerds still geeks and nerds based on it’s prior definitions?  Or do we all fit in now?  Can the geeks live in peace with the non-geeks?

This is mostly rhetorical of course, but I find it interesting to reflect on how culture has changed, and how what I used to be teased relentlessly for, is now what I am praised for.  Hell, I have guys ask me out when I mention I can program!  Where we you people when I was in high school, huh?

Regardless of what is cool or not, I will always want to be the geeky one – the one who finds more enjoyment on her computer than at a party or social gathering, the one who programs all weekend, instead of parties, and the one who prefers a game of tetris over a blunt to get her high.  The square.

But, am I okay with being the square.  And as long as there are computers to be played, programs to be programmed, and an internet to waste my time on, then I will be there, nerding it up and having a blast doing it.

-Roses

  • Biscuit

    I transitioned from a druggie to a nerd/geek =)

    And I didn't even want to be into computers when I finally ended up getting one, but things happened and I became amazed with them.

  • http://twitter.com/DawnOfMinstrel DawnOfMinstrel

    I think being a nerd is ultimately like being “cool”. You don't do things to become cool, you are cool because of the things you do. Okay, maybe a better wording would be: if you pursue coolness, you will not get it. If you pursue something cool, you will be cool.

    No, still not it. Basically, what I want to say is that you don't choose to be a geek. You get into some cool stuff, become good at it and one day you realise, you are a geek.

  • neoscriptor

    I've always seen “geek” and “nerd” used in a derogatory way to imply that someone is jealous. To some, computers, programming, math, and chemistry are all really complicated, beyond something they would ever understand. How do they cope? “NERD!”. But now, just about anybody can use a computer, so there's nothing to be jealous of. If you flaunted that you had a computer, most people would say “so what?” instead of “BLAST YOU, GEEK!”

    Though I've never been called a geek because of my raging biceps.

  • Richard Wesker

    I guess I must be at the crossroads when it concerns geeks and non-geeks. Non- geeks annoy me because they have no idea what the Hell I'm talking about when I say that I like podcasts, anime and manga, etc. Geeks annoy me because too many of them that I've met over the years seem to have little to no social skills. *Shrug*

  • pushinguproses

    Just about anybody can use a computer, eh? ….Please take my tutoring position.

  • pushinguproses

    Sometimes non-geeks annoy me too. But I really do try hard to accept everyone the way they are, regardless of knowledge and different personal interests.

  • Cookiemonster

    “Today, you are hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t own their own personal computer, or a laptop, with an internet connection. Back in the 90s, when I had them both, I was teased. But now, I would be teased if I didn’t have a computer or spend time surfing.”

    And the best part about it is these same asshats find themselves on the other side, and are forced to jump on the bandwagon while suddenly acting like they hadn't been teasing those with computers for a full decade.

    Sorry, it just makes me angry. Hypocrites, the lot of them.

    My dad was into PC gaming. I was only around 5 years old when he grabbed Eye of the Beholder, and watching him play was the most fun I had. Over the years he would buy the Ultima games, or any dungeon crawler he could lay his hands on. If I did my chores and homework (we had a little thing called parenting back then), I would get an hour, usually spending it on Wing Commander.

  • hatbocs

    I had a pretty geek friendly childhood growing up. I got more flak for being asian than I did for being a geek (I prefer 'nerd'). In Elementary school one of my best friends was pretty computer savy, his brother helped him build his first pc and he showed me the ways of computer gaming. My Dad got me games and a few shareware CDs and let me use his computer. I grew up on Windows and OS/2.

    In Middle School my friends were mostly computer savvy and about this time I began to delve into computer/network security and had aspirations of becoming a hacker. Like wise through high school.

    Though, I can't say it ever bothered me if anyone called me a geek or nerd. I never really flaunted my knowledge of computers and the mystical internets preferring to avoid calling attention to myself, anyway.

  • Tengwarsenna

    Amen. It really is amazing what 7 years can do. I got my first computer at age 10, and that was really cool to all the people at school. Almost every family had one, and in the classroom we would fight tooth and nail to play Oregon Trail on our one computer at recess. I can't imagine getting flak for liking computers, but I imagine that gave you a strength of character that I never had to develope in that area. Hats off to you Roses!

  • Sami Saayer

    1996. aged 15 :( a little late.
    486 DX-2, 341 MB hard disk lol and 4MB RAM.
    and my friends were amazed that i had such a huge hard disk!

  • cuthalion04

    I was about the same age when I got my first computer. But we let my dad fiddle around with it too long and he killed it :( I always opt for the nerdy route; my old high school friends shook their heads sadly when I said I'd rather stay home and read or program or other things even more nerdy, like covering vases in metal. I wasn't really teased about being a geek though; mainly because I was a fat kid growing up, and took more shots for that. Oh well, they're the ones trying to conform to us now.

  • Kathryn

    Holy crud. I just today found thie blog as a whole (I go to TGWTG on and off and saw your plug in your amazon video) and am I ever happy I found this. Now, I know this is an old post you had, but it is one that really made me want to comment. Back in grade school, Kindergarden for me, I had a Commodore 64! I loved that thing and was also picked on it cause I did not have the latest barbie, or (with my few guy friends) Power Ranger toy. But I did not care.

    I guess all I wanted to say was I finally found someone who understand what it was like. So I guess I'll have to follow your blog now cause I likes ya.

  • Nathan

    1987 Commodore Amiga with a 20 Megabtye hard drive side car. 512KB of RAM. Oh yeah I remember being called a geek and a loser. I never let it get to me. I knew the computer would increase my potential as an intelligent person, plus it was a way to be able to spend time with my father, playing games like space quest, and king’s quest and later, my favorite – Quest for Glory. We didn’t get a computer until 1993 and it was a Packard Bell 486SX-25 with 4MB of RAM and 170MB hard drive. It was terrible, but we loved it. My first personal computer was also in 1993 and it was an Amiga 600 with 2MB of SRAM to go with my 1MB of Chip RAM it had a whole whopping 100MB hard drive. Loved that machine…