Being called a geek has always constituted a love/hate relationship for me. As a kid, reading comics, wearing glasses, being addicted to Star Wars and having the middle name Eugene, pretty much automatically relegated me to the realm of Geekdom. At that time, to the outside world, I hated the fact that I was associated with every stereotyped, comedy-relief, character on TV sitcoms. But in the privacy of my own home, I loved my Superfriends cartoons, Star Wars action figures and Steve Austin, Six Million Dollar Man with bionic eye and super lift arm. I spent hours reading comics and painstakingly trying to reproduce the drawings.
As I ventured into the adolescent years and realized that it might be nice to have some sort of companionship with someone other than Princess Leia (who I owned in 4 different collectible action figures), I controlled my geek addiction with tons of reading. Terry Brooks, Tolkien, David Eddings, and Piers Anthony were the dealers for my geek fix and the toys from my youth were dispersed to the world through the channels of the town-wide garage sale. Luckily, I did find a secret cell of other geeks that introduced me to the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons and computer games. We didn't have a computer at home, so I spent hours at the library playing Ultima and Saturday afternoons exploring Raveloft.
High school and college were a whirlwind of changing what I wanted to be when I grew up, tight rolled jeans, and hair gel. However, with the exception of rare D&D games and the occasional Batman movie (some good, some not-so-good); my inner geek was squelched deep down inside.
Thanks be to the Geek Gods,I stumbled up and married a woman who was supportive of my secret inner geek. We started watching Buffy together and then Angel. She happened to work in publishing so occasionally a sample graphic novel would make its way home. And slowly my inner geek crept out and once it was free again, it exploded to the surface with a vengeance.
Luckily this occurred as we were entering The Golden Age of Geekdom. Joss Whedon had successfully brought the supernatural to TV. Shortly to follow, Harry Potter found his stone, Apollo and Starbuck returned and Hollywood discovered that superhero movies can make money...sometimes a lot of money.
So, now in this Golden Age, The Big Bang Theory rules Thursday night and every summer we see favorite Marvel and DC characters boot and reboot on the big screen. So how does any of this explain why being a geek is awesome? Because the world has finally realized what we've known all along. Geeks love a good adventure, a good laugh, a good fight. They recognize a good story. They create and build devices and systems to improve how we share these stories. The benefit of being a lifelong geek is that we know the history of these stories. We know and love these characters. So - long live the era of techies, nerds and geeks and all the magical stories they allow us to share.