The first time I was ever exposed to the word “geek” was while listening to the “Dr. Demento Show” on the radio. He played a record by Freddie Blassie called “Pencil Neck Geek”. While it was supposed to be funny, it was actually insulting and off-putting. Whenever the song was played, I turned down the volume. I wasn’t sure whether or not the song applied to me.
One day I decided to look up the definition of “geek”. I found out the word was a perjorative slang term for a dislikeable, peculiar person who is perceived to be overtly intellectual. It sunk in that I knew a few guys like that.
That first blush with geekdom happened before the current adjustments and additions to the meaning of “geek”. Nowadays, there’s a mildly self-deprecating self-definition of the term. Some people who seem overly interested in computers or mathematics self identify as geeks.
There are other people who go overboard with their interest in “Star Wars” movies. Engineering geeks typify the original meaning of the word geek. Now there are sub-categories in geekdom. There are history geeks, language geeks, fantasy fiction geeks, Science Fiction geeks, video game and board game geeks and probably a few that don’t come to mind right now.
Things get arcane when self-identified geeks celebrate such events as Towel Day (also today) which is two weeks after the anniversary of the death of author Douglas Adams. Adams wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. That book harbors a whole subgenre of geeks.
Today is also important for fans of Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld”. If you even know what Discworld is you understand what the importance of hard-boiled eggs and the wearing of lilac on the Glorious 25th of May is all about.
You might understand that today is the anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars movie. It came out on May 25, 1977. In a similar vein, there are Star Trek geeks or Trekies.
The stereotypical geek attire is familiar to most of us. Short sleeved shirts in plaid or white (bow tie optional) high waisted slacks, suspenders, horn-rimmed glasses and pocket protector. A few years ago, “geek chic” was a minor fad when the “look” became mainstream for awhile.
Even the military has an acronym “GEEK”, that is “general electrical engineering knowledge”.
If you self-identify as a geek, I hope you enjoy a happy Geek Pride Day.
The Blue Jay of Happiness says, “the answer is 42”.