Of Nerds and Geeks

This week, Brooke and Silas stayed up to watch King of the Nerds.

We’d seen the trailers, and they thought that I’d be a good fit to try out for the show. I didn’t watch it. I thought a reality show about nerds was kind of disturbing.

We enjoy watching Big Bang Theory. There’s plenty there that I can relate to. Sometimes, one of the Big Bang characters will refer to something — “I’ll be AFK,” or Schrodinger’s cat — and Brooke will ask me what that means. I’ll explain it. Then someone else on the show will ask what that means, and it gets explained. It’s always what I just said.

This is why Brooke and Silas thought I’d be a good fit for the nerd reality show.

I’ll confess to being a geek. I was a geek before geek was cool. Technology, science and math are my things.

But I’m not a nerd. Unlike the Big Bang characters, I don’t do Comic Con or Trekkie conventions. I don’t dress in medieval costume. I don’t collect comic books or super hero memorabilia.

The next morning, Brooke said, “That show was kind of disturbing.”

“I thought it might be,” I said.

A little while later she said, “You’re not like those nerds on that show.”

“That’s because those were nerds,” I said. “I’m a geek. There’s a difference between nerds and geeks,” I said. “Now you know what it is.”

“Yeah,” she said.

Here’s the difference between geek and nerd:

Geeks deal with real stuff. Geeks discover stuff, analyze stuff, build stuff, create stuff. Geeks enjoy fiction.

Nerds emulate fiction. Not the way actors emulate fiction, as on stage. Nerds live in fiction as a permanent state of mind.

The two often overlap. Both types can come across as socially awkward.

But, as a dyed-in-the-wool geek, I agree with Brooke: the nerds are kind of disturbing.

Of course, they might say the same about me.