On Being a Geek

So yesterday Felicia Day posted a video to youtube on the Geek & Sundry channel explaining what she thinks being a geek really means. It’s a good video and I recommend watching it before reading the rest of this post.

Watching this has gotten me to think about being a geek.

I would say that I am a bigger geek now than I was as a teenager, mainly because I have money to enjoy the things I want to enjoy. Back then I probably would have gotten defensive about being called a geek or a nerd, because even though I always say I tried to not care what people thought about me, it really did affect a lot of the decisions I made for a long time.

What I took from that video is that simply enjoying something that might not be considered “cool” like collecting comics, or enjoying science fiction doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a geek. Being a geek means that you are passionate about doing it. Being a geek doesn’t mean you buy Spider-Man just because it has Spider-Man on it, which is exactly what the media wants you to do (see 3 not so great movies and 1 mediocre movie). This isn’t to say buying all that stuff makes you less passionate, it could be exactly the opposite.

I think there are two types of people who buy merchandise for things like Spider-Man/Batman/Walking Dead, the first is people who buy it simply to buy it hoping that the value will increase and they can sell it, and the second type is the person who buys it because they love that character/series. Saying you’re a Spider-Man geek doesn’t make you one, being passionate about it does.

Why do I think I’m a geek? That is the question isn’t it? I think in some groups I would be the outsider, while in another I wouldn’t be. I have creative ideas, but never have the time to do anything about it (thanks school). I have ideas that I keep to myself because I think I worry people will think they’re dumb. I would love to make something that people enjoy, or find amusing. That is part of the reason I have kept the @Doctor_Hannah twitter. I can be myself on it because (almost) everyone on there doesn’t know me in person so I don’t have to worry about being judged. My only problem there is I try to be funny and often fail, mainly because I am one of those people that is funnier when I’m just being myself and not when I’m trying.

Back to the first part of that, being an outsider, I think that it goes in to two parts of my life. At work I’m that guy who lives by himself and buys comic books. When I’m with my friends outside of work that isn’t a big deal because almost all of my friends buy them too, or did at one point. At work I’m that guy who sometimes uses his Wednesday lunch break to go buy comics, with my friends its “You can get your books during lunch, I’m jealous.” When I’m at work people think it’s funny to get me talking about something specific to a series, and then give me a hard time about it, but when I’m with my friends that can lead to a serious conversation about why we like/dislike what is going on in that series.

My work has openly invited everyone to make our cubicles our own. So I have a few of my less traditional things at my desk which I’ve posted on my twitter. I have Transformers, and legos and a couple Pez dispensers. It makes it easy to come to work everyday. Am I the only person at work who has done something strange like that? No, one of the guys I work with has a ton of Chewbacca specific stuff at his desk because he loves that character.

Some of the things I enjoy:


Playing with Legos

Comic Books

Playing Games (video and tabletop)

Reading a good book.

None of those things individually make me a geek, but the sum of them and how I don’t care what people think about me when I talk about them is what does.

This is why I enjoy watching the episodes of TableTop and The Flog on Geek & Sundry. They show you that you’re not alone in loving things that other people think are childish. So go ahead and call me a geek, give me crap about how I can talk about comic books for an hour, that’s you’re opinion and I don’t have to let it change who I am.

On to the last part of the video, about what I would like to see on the channel.

Maybe a show about comic books (similar to Blair Butlers comic book thing she did for Attack of the Show). But maybe give an inside look at the industry.

I want to say more fan interactions with TableTop, but I can’t think of any financially responsible way to suggest. Besides the fact that you guys have already started up TableTop Day, and there is the SeenOnTableTop tumblr which shows photos of people playing their games. I know there are some tabletop games being adapted to digital such as Talisman, so maybe there could be an occasional contest to win a chance to play against Wheaton of Felicia Day, but maybe have regular games with regular Geek & Sundry staff members.

Online multiplayer events for consoles/pc games. The trick being what games, and if there are level ranges how to incorporate a large group of people in to the event.

Last idea (since I really should start work) is show some kind of insider discussion in to the industry. How games are developed, computer programming stuff like that. I’m sure you guys have heard about Code.org , which has a goal to get more people interested in becoming computer programmers, which is what I do for a living.

This turned out a bit longer than I meant it to. Actually putting ideas out there open to ridicule is outside my comfort zone, but that video motivated me to take a chance.