Did I Do That? The Precocious Geek
I was perusing the Muffin the other day when I read a post titled “This is a little awkward for me” http://grouchymuffin.com/2011/06/26/this-is-a-little-awkward-for-me featuring a photograph of a man dressed in the yellow-and-black adornment of Marvel hero Wolverine posing next to Marvel Comic demigod Stan Lee.
This is a relatively popular photo if you are a fan of the so-called Interweb Highway as much as I am.
Frankly, the photo makes me sick.
Not because the faux-Wolverine is obese. Not because Lee looks like he wants the Incredible Hulk to come by and snap the comic book savant’s neck to provide him the sweet release from this Earthly hell. Not because our portly Logan has never and will never know the sweet, tender touch of a woman.
It’s because our husky hero knows he’s a complete dork and has no shame!
Once upon a time, the caste system in the American high school defined you to the point that you attempted to actually move up the ladder (see: Bill Gates) or allowed you to become complacent and – potentially – slip down the ladder (see: the football god in high school that winds up with a gut and job selling used Pontiacs within earshot of the ol’ stadium).
No longer. I blame the 1970s. Specifically, I blame Luke Skywalker.
Now, I’m far too young to have witnessed the 1970s. But I have seen Freaks and Geeks. In this short-lived sitcom, the “geeks” are represented by the main protagonist, Sam, and his best friends, Neal and Bill. They are a motley crew of limited and undiscerning taste: Doctor Who, Steve Martin, Star Wars and Saturday Night Live. Their attitudes were, “We’re geeks. We’re proud. We have no shame. Love us as we are.”
Simply enjoying the adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca does not make you a geek. Unfortunately, the doofus in the effin’ Wolverine costume was Bill Haverchuck in 1978 or 1988 or 1998.
This maxim among geeks has merely evolved with time. This ornery breed has grown more presumptuous, unrepentant and … downright cocky. They’re like feral cats. Anymore, they’ll claw your effin’ eyes out if you get too close.
A massive overlooked connection is that of “geekdom” and “brains.” A common retort among dorks when harassed is the idea that they’re smarter than, say, the jocks, and when they’re 35 the football player will be selling Pontiacs at the local used-car lot and the geek will be in a Jacuzzi with the Swedish bikini team with his millions he made with computers.
Sadly, a vast majority of geeks are just as dumb as anyone else. And unlike many “popular” kids, they don’t have the social charisma to worm themselves to a higher lot in life.
Haverchuck doesn’t make millions and marry the swimsuit model. He’s watching reruns of Dallas in his mom’s basement, snorting Funyun residue, gaining 90 pounds and getting his photo taken with Stan Lee in a Wolverine costume!
Friends, I’m no elitist (in the strictest of sense … well, I guess I’m not a classist although I hate poor people [screw it, I am an elitist]). I truly believe in the yin-yang; that there are two forces perpetually pushing against one another. We all can’t be Fonzie, Daniel Desario, Jordan Catalano or Trip Fontaine. Those guys are who they are because the Haverchucks, Potsies and Brian Krakows.
However, if a super-strain of geekdom is mutating without the “shame” gene, where does that leave us? Next, it will be your child, overweight, buttered into a tight-fitting superhero costume being photographed and made fun of all over the Internet. It’s a pox upon all of our houses.
Lesson No. 1 to our children? Shame.