Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Levels Of Geekdom

Sometimes life gives you a glimpse into the secret chambers of another man's heart, and that glimpse is usually one which makes you glad to be yourself. I have recently had one such experience.

There is a new guy who started working at my office a few weeks ago. He is a jolly soul, and while not pushing 3 bills like myself, is quite stout and girthy with a big laugh and a quirky sense of humor. He has come by my office several times to discuss "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" (which I strongly recommend) and other comedies of that ilk. Needless to say, I've taken a wee bit of a shine to him and dare say that he has done the same with me.

Anyway, the other day I went over to his office to see what he was doing and I noticed that he had a number of oddities hanging on his wall and sitting on his shelves, namely: Action figures of Optimus Prime, He-Man and Battle Cat in full armour, several GI Joe figurines as well as a tank or some sort of vehicle, and a poster with Sergeant Slaughter. Initially I thought this was pretty cool and asked him why he had these relics of childhood. He replied that he likes to collect 80's toys and memorabilia.

This lead to a 3 hour discussion where I came to learn that my friend has every Star Wars toy from the original series, something like 80% of the GI Joe toys, and several other toys from that time period. Indeed, he has taken his toys up to the mountains and taken action photography with them and posted them on a website, this website, in fact. Now, we looked around and found that my friend was just the tip of the iceberg for GI Joe photography, with some even photo shopping fake missiles and fire and such coming from the toy planes.

At this point, I asked my friend if he owned any swords and if so did he know that the next logical step would be for him to go to the park, dress up in chain mail armor, get some 20 sided dice and act some shit out. He couldn't even believe that I would suggest that as a course of action, letting me know that what he did and what the people who dress up in chain mail do aren't even remotely comparable. He claims it is like comparing apples and oranges. They are "totally different levels of Geekdom." Are they, friend? Are they? He offered some explanation about how collecting Military Toys is nothing like getting dressed up in Knights armor and chanting in Latin, but to me, they are quite similar. Not in theme, but in obsession and mania.

After some good natured ribbing, a trip to my Mom's house to get my old toys, and a back rub with scented oils, minus the back rub with scented oils, my friend went home and left me thinking. I have a few beliefs in life, (one of them being that every man craps his pants at least once a year. Now, it might not be a full-on crapping, but he at least sharts once per year and if he denies it, he's lying.) And now, after my discussion with my cohort, I've decided that I have a new belief: Everyone has at least a little geek in them. But not everyone is prepared to learn Elf languages or Klingon and not all Geeks are dangerous, so to help you sort out who is who, here is a brief run-down of my 3 Levels Of Geekdom:

Level 1: General Geek
Most people fall into this level. Level One includes any of your basically acceptable nerdiness: lower level collections, obsessions with video games/sports/fashion/television, basically anything that you don't want other people to find out about unless you trust them. This may include the eating of boogers, making an NBA Live Team out of all Old Testament Characters (i.e. Habakkuk and Moses) having pictures of cars or half-naked women on your garage walls, really just the usual things that are geeky, but overall socially acceptable. It is important to know that there are sub-levels included in the major levels, but I'll let some geek with more time than I have fill you in on what those are. Derek. Level 1 Geeks can generally be trusted, and are not dangerous.

Level 2: Fantasy Geek
Level Two is really just the taking of a healthy enjoyment of a hobby and raising it to a whole other, scarier level. Collecting baseball cards is one thing, and is certainly geeky, but then pulling the cards out, getting 6 dice and trying to come up with a formula that will, in tandem with said cards, calculate how many strikeouts Ed Johnson had in his eighth season, and then having debates with yourself over if he would make the Hall of Fame after his career ends (Yes, he would), is an entirely different thing. Level 2's collect things and never remove them from the original packaging, buy special computers to run their video games they play for hours on end, and have thought about going to a Star Trek Convention, but have never done so. Level 2's are usually safe, but when they are on the verge of becoming Level 3 or are displaying Level 3 type behaviors, they should be avoided as they may have just bought a Ninja Star and are certainly on the edge of using it.

Level 3: Get Out and Do It Geek
This is by far the most disturbing and subsequently most humorous level of Geekdom. This is when you decide that just knowing all the facts about the French and Indian War aren't enough, no, you need to collect some black powder muskets, the pelts of animals, and go to a re-enactment of said war. And when you are out roughing it, you certainly can't use toilet paper, pussy. You need to use leaves and shrubs to get your arse clean. Of course there is a lot of variation in this level, with your Low-Level 3's being Trekkies and people who dress up as Albus Dumbledore for the premier of the new Harry Potter movies, and your Upper-Level 3's who are usually just multiple offenders or Double Dippers in Geekdom(trekkies mixed with civil-war re-enactment, World of Warcraft players who also actually like the last 2 hours of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy etc.) Be very cautious when speaking to and especially mocking Upper-Level 3's as you must remember they probably have a Katana and iron breastplate at home and they are definitely closer to using them in real life than you would imagine.

Well, now that you are armed with this knowledge, I hope you can diagnose yourself honestly, and keep yourself and your loved ones safe from harm.
Live Long and Prosper.


Rob said...

I am probably between level 1 and 2 on your little scale there. When I was an undergrad and had tons of time on my hands I used to pimp out my computer so that it would play my favorite games just a little better. Although I can say that I have never owned a console system since leaving my parent's house.

Also I love staring at stats all day. Like standings. No matter how many times I have seen it, I love seeing when my team is unbeaten or 8 games ahead in the standings.

I think Taylor is (or at least used to be) a level 2. I hear he wrote out tons of random lists of players and teams, ranking them based on any stat you could imagine, for his own personal enjoyment.

Aimee said...

Boyd, where do you think "Cheetah" would fall on your scale? And when you reply, you better not explain what "Cheetah" is.

Che said...

Level 4 Geek = Being a member of the National Reenactment of Midevil Times; joining a group of people roleplaying as vampires; theorizing on how a combination in the arts of ninjetzu, taekwondo, and tai boxing can best help you destroy your "enemies"; kicking random trees in the heart of downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina to strengthen your Tai-boxing shins; explaining to random strangers both how to, and the effectiveness of making chain mail; worshipping Final Fantasy; thinking wrestling, no not old-school WWF, but "real" wrestling is cool; wanting to fight - just for fun.

Thanks for the memories Sam Hill!

P.s. Please don't hunt me down and kill me now that you're a navy SEAL or an army Ranger. I am not an enemy and pose no threat to you.

-Stay sweet