As with any word, different people may mean different things when they use the word “geek”. From some it’s an insult, while from others it’s a grand compliment.
Our oldest boy once asked me what a geek was, and I told him something like “It’s a person who is very interested in things that most people don’t think are ‘normal’, but he doesn’t care because he thinks those things are fun or important and so he keeps doing them. Geeks are honest and brave, because they don’t hide what they like or pretend to be ‘cool’, even if some people laugh at them.”
Geeks come in all kinds, of course. My husband is a history geek, alternative energy geek, and a science geek, with a little gaming geek sprinkled in. I guess I’m a craft geek, since I weave, make quilts, crochet rugs, and learned a medieval yarn craft called “naalbinding”. I suppose I’m also a gardening geek, as I know every seedling in my garden personally and even made a little cross and ring of stones to mark the passing of a broccoli seedling lost in a storm last winter.
Our older boy is definitely joining the gaming geek ranks, as he quickly lures any new friend he makes into playing Warhammer with him, and his main craft is building and painting his miniature army.
Our youngest has not decided what kind of geek he is going to be yet.
If you look at all of the kinds of geeks in the world, a subset of them are what I call the “action geeks”. They are the get-er-done variety of geek. They build their own instruments of geekdom, create new objects or ideas, and can mobilize other geeks to leave their geek caves and proudly march into a local park to engage in public geekiness.
My husband is a total action geek. He doesn’t just learn things and talk about them – he jumps out there and does his best to put them into action. He runs his cars on filtered restaurant grease, builds medieval furniture, made a forge in our backyard, bought a hammermill and pelletizer so he can learn how to make pellets for our pellet stove and to sell, built a solar water pre-heater to bump the temperature of our water before it enters our gas water heater, and can design and sew his own medieval clothing and shoes. Oh, plus he can fight with multiple kinds of weapons and shoot a longbow.
I don’t love the presence of ALL geeks. But a lot of the people who I have respected the most in my life would be called geeks. They are not the cool people, the normal people, the keep-up-with-the-Joneses cookie cutter people. They are not afraid to be weird. They are also honest people, in that they say “yes, I like doing this, and I don’t care if everyone else in my neighborhood thinks I’m a freak for it.”
And it’s the action geeks that do the inventing, which we need to change the world.