Why I'm a geek / by Jamie Young

geek |gēk| noun informal 

1. an unfashionable or socially inept person. 

• [ usu. with modifier ] a knowledgeable and obsessive enthusiast: a computer geek. 

2. a carnival performer who performs wild or disgusting acts.

Well, I may at times be unfashionable as my favorite wardrobe consists of a nerdy, ironic mashup t-shirt and no pants (ah, the perks of working from home!), but I'm definitely not socially inept. You can blame the travesty that is The Big Bang Theory for the majority of people thinking geeks are all socially inept (and, apparently, the dictionary—way to go, dictionary).  


But knowledgeable? Check. An obsessive enthusiast? Check. Computer geek? Check, check.

I'm knowledgeable about and obsessed with the same things typically. Makes sense, right? 

I watch a lot of anime. I read a lot of graphic novels. I'm starting to teach myself CSS and Photoshop just because I love learning new things; I think it's fun. 

I'm smart. And a smartass. I'm a grammar Nazi. The worst kind. So much so that I almost feel bad for ripping you to shreds for using the wrong form of "your" on Twitter. Except I don't. At all. And I will forever argue with you about the Oxford comma's importance. 

I'm obsessed with words and writing. I love editing things. I find it fun and, at times, relaxing. I'm quite the perfectionist. I even have a semicolon tattooed behind my ear because it's my favorite punctuation mark (the em dash a close second).

I probably have the biggest geeky t-shirt collection you've never seen. I'm not joking. I have well over two hundred. It's...a problem. Mostly because I don't have room for them all in my dresser or closet anymore. I even have my own hashtag dedicated to my many t-shirts on Instagram: #jamiehastoomanytshirts. Teefury and Redbubble and Woot have gotten more of my money than I'd like to admit. But how am I supposed to pass up stuff like this?

Speaking of obsessions: I have a fascination with the home screen on iOS devices. Arranging the apps, making them all look visually pleasing while also placing them all in logical spots on the home screen itself: it's called home screen porn. I even wrote an entire article on how to do it, and used to podcast about it ever week. "Zen and the Art of the Home Screen" is what it's all about. Now that's an obsession. Get down and nerdy with me about your home screen and we can be BFFs.

I grew up with computers and video games. I even taught myself HTML when I was 13-years-old by curiously inspecting other websites before making my own (over and over again). But, when I was even younger, I lived in the type of household where we used the computer so much to play King's Quest VI and chat in AOL chatrooms, that our parents would password protect our PC and try to limit our time on it because we were, well, obsessed. 

So, then what happened? You guessed it...we would get around the password protection so we could play Myst or DOOM in the middle of the night. My parents were furious, but also a little impressed.

The first video game I remember playing was Splatterhouse. On our Turbo Grafx 16. When I was 5. I mean, come on—killing zombie fetus babies with a chainsaw—how can you not want to play that game? Though, I think my mother blames that for how I turned out (love you, Mom!). But I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Growing up with two older brothers, video games, and computers was the best thing that ever happened to me. I'm a geek because of all these things, but most of all I'm a geek because that's just who I am. And I'm proud of that. 

Now, it's your turn. Embrace your inner geekness and tell me what makes you a geek.

(This post was written to celebrate "Geekness Day" on July 13. Thanks to SingleHop, a new geeky startup, for the idea!)