Geeking out

Sean Flack

Growing up, I was a pretty geeky kid. I wasn’t interested in sports and instead became an intense devourer of all things pop culture. I loved it all: movies, books, music, TV and video games.

Fast-forward to 2010 and I’m still the same geek I’ve always been. But while it’s always been kind of “cool” to know good music and movies, video games have seemed to carry a negative reputation through the years. That is, until the Nintendo Wii and “Guitar Hero” came out. And suddenly, it became all right to be a geek.

I should be happy, right? All those years of getting passed by girls for the more genetically fit guys were a bummer. My mom told me once, “I hope you’re at the point in your life where you choose girls over Xbox.”

Now I don’t have to choose. This is good news. But after attending the millionth Wii Bowling party, I realized that it’s not cool to actually be a geek, but rather to say you are.

I don’t know everyone’s story, so who am I to judge? But it just seems like anyone with a Guitar Hero controller these days considers himself or herself a gamer. Can you name a video game character that isn’t Mario or Pikachu?

It’s just, being a geek implies that you’re passionate about something, more so than the general public. And when you find other geeks like yourself, it’s great that someone else shares your passion so immensely. If you call yourself a gamer but list “Wii Sports” as your favorite game, then you’re not even scratching the surface of an entire spectrum of amazing.

Growing up is hard enough as it is, especially when you have such specific interests. But once the general public gets a slice of that new fad pie, meanings and significance become watered down so much that what was once a defining characteristic is now just another slutty Halloween costume.

I suppose the blame sort of begins with Adam Brody. You might remember him from “The O.C.”? His portrayal of Seth Cohen was very sarcastic, very neurotic and very geeky. He was also incredibly romantic and adorable, which girls totally ate up. Making it even better was the fact that in real life, Brody was pretty similar to his character on the show. For lack of a better phrase, Brody was a sexy geek. And thus, the geek snowball started to roll down the snowy hill.

As a result, it seems like being a geek these days is just a fashion statement. You know, “Hey gurl, just got back from the mall. Haha, totally got a new skirt and a Mario game.” Give me a break. Having an iPhone doesn’t make you a geek. Your Yoshi sticker on your notebook doesn’t make you a geek. And your Atari shirt that you bought at the local “vintage” store definitely doesn’t make you a geek.

I’m proud to be a geek, which is why it saddens me to see the word thrown around so much these days. If everyone hops on the bandwagon, then you just become another grain of sand in the huge, boring beach called life. And that’s part of the appeal of being a geek: being a part of a subculture of like-minded individuals.

It’s not some trend. It’s a way of life. Give me “Final Fantasy” or give me death! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to catch up on.