We all have at least one friend who has a closet full of handmade Comic-Con costumes and can name all eleven actors from Doctor Who. They know the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything else, and how to travel 200 years back in time! In intricate details, their explanations provide the difference between AT-AT and AT-ST, and hallows and Horcruxes. We also have another level of friends who collect models and know phrases in “alienese,” “elfish,” Dothraki, and Klingon. Is it just one friend? Probably not!
Let’s Count Some of the Ways
In a world where geekdom has its very own holiday, it’s time to celebrate ye proud and very verbal enthusiasts! Get ready!—Monday, July 13th, is just around the corner! No longer do the terms exclusively sound like techno-babble. It’s widened to multiple categories and stretched to galaxies far, far away! You could be a music or a car geek. Have a passion for statistics or electronics, or be included in book or movie fandoms!
Before and Now
Birds of a feather flock together. In days of yore, it was quite easy to spot a geek by their hair, glasses, clothing, and the critical indicator, the pocket-protector. Geeks once sat outside the library playing Dungeons and Dragons and pretending to be heroes, only to camp years later outside computer stores awaiting the release of the next gaming system! Geeks can openly identify their passions through an array of T-shirts and signature clothing, baseball hats, car decals, and rooms dedicated to their fandom! It’s more than knowing a wealth of information about one subject. Fans join blogs, enter chats to discuss characters, and follow the author, singer, or actor on social media. They join meets, go to conventions, and arrive hours before premiers and openings. And, when geeks find themselves standing in a long line at a hardware or grocery store, they initiate a conversation with a stranger to prove “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”
The Annual Hackathon
The computer programming geeks may not enjoy recreational pursuits at the gym or attending sporting events. Passions often coordinate with specific skill sets. Imagine working for a security information and event management company that held a “hackathon” for employees. Participants ranging from sales and customer service to engineering spend two days creating ingenious gadgets and features to complement a product. Teams construct bots, while others design algorithms or software! Elements of the hackathon integrate hidden Easter eggs, games of capture the flag, and conclude with a winner, and all participants receive a T-shirt!
Months before a convention, the countdown begins. Over one-hundred thousand people start the process of assembling or hand-stitching multiple costumes for the four-day event. It requires a thoughtful process to reveal a recognizable, yet uniquely obscure character. Ticketholders enjoy seeing families or groups of villains and superheroes, long-lost cartoon characters, gladiators, Vikings, and aliens. In addition to visiting multiple vendors selling merchandise, attendees visit scheduled sessions and panels, as well as offsite events. Strangers stop to take pictures with a character likeness or make introductions. Expect the wow factor, meeting a favorite star in the elevator, on the stairs, or in a room. And, be considerate if you bump into someone. The voice alone may heighten your fandom experience!
The Next Generation
Today’s adults no longer have to hide their love of science fiction, fantasy, or even the extensive collection of classic T-shirts. Parents and grandmothers, great uncles and cousins share their expansive knowledge of literature, television, movies, cartoons and eras to raise a new generation of passionate geeks!
Make Monday, July 13th, a special day by embracing and sharing your inner geekdom. Invite your fellow Backies, Droughtlanders, Marvelites, Potterheads, Sherlockians. Trekkies, Tributes, Tolkienites, Walker Stalkers, Whedonites, and Whovians for an evening of trivia, movies, and dinner! Since one fandom cannot rule them all, extend the invitation to a Muggle. Your fandom would love to welcome one more!