Are geeks born that way? Is being a geek a product of nature or nurture? That’s a question I’ll leave to the scientists. I know that I began to have geek thoughts in Junior High – collecting Wolverine and Fantastic Four comics, playing “Legend of Zelda” and “Metroid.” Then I had my first real geek experience around the age of thirteen, with the older brother of a friend of mine; I was invited to join his Dungeons & Dragons game.
My parents were supportive when they found out I was a geek, but I could tell they were a little disappointed. The other kids at school weren’t as nice – I was ridiculed, and made to feel like an outcast. I reatreated into the closet, and learned to keep my geek life a secret from classmates, friends, and co-workers. Only after I get to know someone will I reveal that I’m a geek, and even then I won’t go into great detail about what I do. And I know that there are lots of other geeks out there that feel the same way.
But once a year, there’s an event where geeks get together to be their flamboyantly geeky selves. That event is the San Diego Comic Con. The geeks take over the streets; they dress like stormtroopers, or anime characters with oversize papier-mache weapons; they talk loudly and pubicly about the strengths and weaknesses of comic book characters; they get excited about meeting Stan Lee or Lou Ferigno; in short, the geeks make the “normal” people deal with them on their own terms.
So I want to congratulate San Diego on another successful Geek Pride weekend. It gets bigger, better, and more accepted by the public at large every year. (I went to my first Con in the early ’90s, when it was a small, furtive event for the most committed geeks.) The Geek movement has made significant progress, but there’s still more work to do.