The Big Bang of Nerds & Geeks

Nerd and geek culture seems to have pervaded the entire Earth. From Ireland to Singapore, fashion outlets are displaying huge arrays of N E R D and G E E K shirts in various cuts (mostly belly button exposing crop tops) and… they’re selling like hot cakes. Come on, who’s kidding? Just emerge from your little hidey-hole for an hour or two *nudge nudge* and take a walk down your city’s main shopping street. Nerds and geeks, once shy and reclusive, are EVERYWHERE.

Did society undergo a 360° change in the years between the commencement of my adolescence and the final stages of it? Are nerds and geeks now more social and outgoing? Can they even be called nerds and geeks anymore? What defines… WAIT. Are these self-proclaimed nerds and geeks nerds and geeks?

Before I yell for the guards to take out the imposters, let us all take a deep breath and take a closer look at the exact definition of the words “nerd” and “geek”. (Rest assured, I’m using the Low Priced Edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, not Google).

Fine. Here's photographic proof.

Fine. Here’s photographic proof.

Darn, yo dictionary so old, it ain’t got no “geek” word in there.

Unless I've lost my ability to unearth words in dictionaries, I'm pretty sure "geek" should be on top of "geese"...

Unless I’ve lost my ability to unearth words in dictionaries, I’m pretty sure “geek” should be on top of “geese”…

*Flips ahead*…

All the nerds have gone into hiding...

All the nerds have gone into hiding…

Okay, so apparently in 1989, when this particular copy of the dictionary was published, “nerds” and “geeks” didn’t exist.

Two days later…

Thanks to my uncle who brought over a broken-in-half dictionary (and my dad who vehemently refused to throw it out), we have this:

There we have it.

There we have it.

To save me the trouble of uploading another photo (because I’m so lazy), the word “nerd” means:

1  someone who is boring and unfashionable

2  someone who is extremely interested in computers

So either way, if you want to call yourself a nerd or a geek, you have to be boring and unfashionable. This doesn’t seem to apply if you’re wearing crop tops screaming N E R D or G E E K.

(Can I call the guards now?)

On a more serious note (yeah, yeah, bear with me a little), these two words were used to put down people who seemed too plain/quiet/studious/unfashionable. Just a few years ago (back when I was in secondary school), it sucked to be called any of those words. I know because I was called a nerd and a geek. Now, those people who made me struggle so hard to change my image are trying to adopt the kind of lifestyle I had. I changed my thick glasses for a thin framed one. I kept my love for reading under wraps. I went out to buy clothes when all my life my mum only got me fake cartoon T-shirts and big men’s shirts (because like all stereotypical nerds, I was tall and skinny).

I tried so hard not to be a nerd/geek.

A good friend indirectly mentioned that there’s no future for me. It’s true. He suggested that I stick to studying throughout my life. Thing is, I’ll be in debt till the day I stop breathing (that, and I can’t emphasize how much I hate studying… Learning is fine, but studying? Just no.). First and foremost, I can’t kill. I’m sick to the guts killing and cutting up goldfish for my project. Come on, why can we kill animals in the name of science, but not humans? Have a good think about it. That puts my current course of study in the dumpster. The other friend I was with suggested that I be a nurse. Now homie shook his head immediately. Honestly, nursing never crossed my mind. Girl said, “Teach?” “She can’t control the class!” said homie. That was my backup plan, chucked into the bin. “Umm… sales?” girl tried again. No feckin’ way. That rules out anything that involves human-human interactions and speech. Law, out. Business, out. Homie, having heard that I recently landed a job working at a bookshop (which I’m still hiding from the general public in fear of embarrassment), advised me to stick to it for the rest of my life. See, that’s what a real nerd is about. Ultra low sociability. Boring, no skills. Very afraid of people finding out how terribly bookish we are.

Now, every cool person is a nerd, wears nerd glasses and skinny jeans and reads comics and watches “nerdy” TV shows. Let me tell you this, nerd: comics and Game of Thrones and science (god how I used to love chemistry) were cool to us before this wave of nerd culture swept you off your feet. Now, I still can’t fit in with the “normal” people because huge, thick-framed glasses just doesn’t work on my unfortunate small eyes (I can’t tell you how many times people spoke to me in Japanese).

It’s good in a way. You took that hated label away from us and stuck it upon your own foreheads. Go ahead, the new nerds/geeks of the world. Conquer all, like you always do. Leave us be, without names, without pain. After all, we’re just people who choose not to follow trends. I guess that was what you meant when you gave us those names.

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2 thoughts on “The Big Bang of Nerds & Geeks

  1. This is so true. I am guessing I was a Nerd a couple years before you were. I finally graduated High School in 1989, which was, coincidentally, the same year I bought my last Gi-Joe and transformers toys. I have been collecting Comic Books, and can even remember going to the Arcade, Aladins Arcade, in the mall in Bell-Square in Washington state to delve out all my earnings into a kid-friendly slot machine… Which I still play to this day on my X-Box.
    I have always been ridiculed, and belittled as a geek or nerd, and now find myself in the “norm” as of the moment. I found myself needing to again differentiate myself from the rest of society and entering the geek culture by studying things no other would. Now I find myself within the folds of the Quantum Foam theories and Quantum Dimensional studies, only to stand out as a true nerd again.
    This is real weird though. 30 years ago, I could not stand the idea of being socially outcast, now… I long for it.
    Damn you Big Bang Theory, but thank you.

    • Man, that was years back! I’m still in school, though I’m glad to have escaped any form of mocking from my current schoolmates (due to my not-very-good academic performance). I’ve just started my Game of Thrones toy collection, but none of my close friends know about it. Heck, they don’t even know how big a fan I am. It’s weird, isn’t it? First, we crave to fit in with everyone else, but now, it just won’t do. I think it’s because we’ve grown up/older and assimilation just doesn’t appeal to us anymore. We want to be different, after years of being different.

      Anyway, hats off to you for studying space theories. I’m really impressed, given how I keep questioning how matter came into existence, but can’t seem to understand the mechanics behind it. So here’s me wishing you all the best in your studies as well as in your nerd quest. Here’s one of my favourite quotes from GoT to send you on your way:

      “There are no men like me, only me.” – Jaime Lannister

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