Being a geek to me means loving something to the point of marginalization. Anything.
Do you argue over whether 50 Cent is fiddy or fitty? Rap geek.
Do you know the individual ERA of your team’s entire bullpen over the last five years? Baseball geek.
Have you mentioned Thac0 at a party? D&D geek.
Can you recite the measurements of Limbaugh, Hannity, and Neil Bort? Teabag geek. (Could. Not. Help. Myself.)
It’s about marginalization. When you get passionate, does the conversation start flowing with you or does it stop and eyes start rolling? It’s “geeking out” when your passion surpasses the audiences tolerance for your obsessive interest. Now, this doesn’t mean a group of people can’t be geeky about a topic because within the group they aren’t marginalized. It just means if that room was full of average people, the dedication to the “geek out” would be relegated to, well, those geeking out. Believe me, when I start discussing Lockean linguistics with gamer friends, I can tell from their reactions that I’m the geek.
So you aren’t either a geek or not a geek. Everyone’s a geek about something, likely more than one something. So you’re not a geek, you’re a geek about X. Like Curly said in City Slickers, it’s up to you decide what that one thing is. Except I still think it can be more than one thing. So it’s more like City Slickers two where Jack Palance’s zombie twin showed up.
But what about terms like dork and nerd? Okay, we should do a little parsing since it’s a clear definition we want. If geek implies obsessive interest, I think these days it does so without the added burden of intellectualism contained within nerd–and dork is just a diminutive without classification. Geeks have something to be geeky over, dorks are just “not us” without any burden of addressing what makes them dorks. It’s self-evident that a dorks dorkery is such because they simply are a dork and thus not us. Seriously, it’s hard to parse the term dork and not sound like a 5-year old. Embarrassingly hard. In fact, I concede the line of thought for now on its own silly merits.
So geekery is like a metatag. When you have a marginalized interest that you spend way too much time on per societal norms, welcome to geekdom. You’ll find a lot us around–everywhere you look. This is a place to revel in that obsessiveness.
My geekery? Game systems, words, rhetoric, football, politics, linguistics, philosophy, 80s pop culture, and addressing minutia in overly analytical ways…