Geeks and nerds

There is a common and badly mistaken notion that geeks and nerds are one and the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. Geeks are to Nerds as Paris in spring is to Fermoy on a wet February night.

Being a geek is a hard-won badge of honour. It requires years of expensive education and endless hours of dedicated study of the chosen discipline. That the discipline is computer-related is almost a given, but is not essential. There are music geeks, movie geeks, wine geeks, opera geeks, and political geeks. Geeks are non-conformists with a stubborn streak. Leonardo da Vinci was a geek par-excellence.

Nerds have the same underlying intelligence, but something thwarted their development along the way. They’ve failed completely to develop social skills. They act passive-aggressive when confronted with new situations and prefer their own company. Nerds hate change to routine and they see no point in small-talk.

Geeks welcome change, but only if it introduces new problems for them to solve. We can name lots of famous geeks: Bill Gates, Larry Page, et al, but who can name a famous nerd? Huh? Maybe Woody Allen comes close, but he’s too socialable to count. But the characters he plays in movies are always nerds.

Other names for geeks: boffin, expert, consultant, brainy-box, wizard, programmer.
Other names for nerds: dweeb, dork, wally. Geeks invent. Nerds recite.
A geek buys gadgets and discovers how they work. Nerds tape their glasses together.
Favourite geek word: Linux. Favourite nerd word: Trekkie.
Second favourite geek word: API. Second favourite nerd word: Python.
Geek character on Star Trek: Scottie. Nerd character on Star Trek: Spock.
Geeks share in-jokes about obscure cult movies. Nerds obsess about a handful of movies.
Geeks have girlfriends/boyfriends. Nerds do not.
Geeks feel superior to ordinary humans. Nerds feel inferior.
A geek will fix your computer and add some extra memory while he’s at it. A nerd will fix it and steal the digital music off your harddrive too.
Geeks can earn prodigious amounts of hard lucre and inherit the world. Nerds get pocket money.

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1 Comment

  1. Tom said,

    July 29, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    I agree that nerds and geeks are two different things….but I think your definitions for the two are incorrect…..

    Nerds put school and work above everything….. while geeks also get really good grades, they obbsess about fantasy (like Star Trek, LOTR, WoW, Yu-Gi-Oh)……both are apathetic toward their apperance…..both are smart……both are socially akward…..both are unpopular. I say geeks recite, nerds invent.

    You are right about the subcategories of geeks….and usually, if they are obbsessive about something like fantasy or computers, they are a geek. If they obbsess about one or two stories of fiction most of the time, like Star Trek, they are a Geek, you are right that a nerd quotes a variety, while a geek quotes one or two (but constantly)

    You are right that geeks feel superior and nerds feel inferior

    Geeks nor Nerds have Girlfriends/Boyfriends….

    I say, the main thing that seperates a Geek from a Nerd is obbsession of fantasy and computers/electronics…..A nerd is more well rounded. A geek obbsesses and specializes. As far as who is cooler/smarter…..the answer is neither…they are the same. They are basically the same, but amount of obbssession with fantasy and technical stuff defines the subcategory…


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