Be Not Afraid of Geekness

I’m one of those folks who read dictionaries for fun. If I had more finely-tuned social skills, I might be a geek. I’ve been told I’m a nerd. I won’t deny it.

Which reminded me of Malvolio’s words of wisdom. Or, rather, my paraphrase:

“Be not afraid of geekness: some men are born geeks, some achieve geekness and some have geekness thrust upon them.”
(From Apathetic Lemming of the North; April 15, 2011. Apologies to William Shakespeare.1)

(The 12-panel ‘geeks and nerds’ cartoon was made in 2009 by someone using 909sickle as a screen name. Or maybe a company name. I don’t know who he, she, or they is/are.)

Fatuous Fashions

There are worse fates than being a geek, a nerd, or some combination thereof.

Consider, if you will, the life of a fashion model: consigned to wear phantasmagoria made manifest.

Like those accordion pants.

On the ‘up’ side, reconnaissance reports from fashion’s ragged fringe gave someone material for his blog:

Not that being a fashion model is basically wrong. Or a fashion designer, or someone who’s interested in fashions.

If I made keeping up with current fashion my reason for life, that would be a problem.

Top priority is where God belongs. Putting anything or anyone else there, even good things or people, is a bad idea. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 21122114)

About the weird suit with the accordion pants, I don’t see it as a problem. Maybe someone could argue that resources spent on making it should have been spent on something else.2

I haven’t run across anyone going ballistic over fashion, particularly women’s fashion, recently. Maybe kvetching over fashion is unfashionable now, and that’s another topic.

Or maybe not so much. News and op-eds featuring the Kardashians and other glamorous types suggests that modest and fashionable are still near-antonyms. For high-end women’s wear, at any rate. High-end isn’t the problem. Not by itself. (Catechism, 19341938)

Fatuous fashion choices don’t make talking about modesty any easier. The Catholic version, which involves human dignity and cultural standards. (Catechism, 25212524)


Where was I?

Geeks, nerds, Shakespeare, phantasms from fashion’s ragged fringe. Right.

Maybe I’m a nerd. Or a geek. Or, more likely, both: a neek, maybe? Or a gerd??

Maybe so. Like I said, I won’t deny it.

I’m als0 pretty sure I’m not in the intersection of geeks and nerds. I’ve got opinions about a whacking great number of things, including Venn diagrams: but not strong opinions on geek-nerd distinctions.

As I see it, labels like “geek” and “nerd” matter. So do labels for other aspects of my existence: my height, cradle language, social status, zip code, musical preferences and thousands of other factors. More.

None of those fully define what I am, much less who I am. But labels come in handy, particularly when I’m trying to figure out what I should do next, how I should do it and whether it’s even possible. Not necessarily in that order.


Maybe dictionaries, definitions, philology, metaphysics and how many nerds it takes to change a light bulb don’t seem particularly spiritual.

Certainly not if being spiritual means getting fired up by the latest feel-good faith. Or becoming a pious party-pooper.

‘Uplifting’ stuff arguably feels better than old-school fire and brimstone. Until the buzz wears off, anyway.

Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to be happy. It’s part of being human, along with a desire for the infinite and openness to truth and beauty. All of which comes from God. (Catechism, 33, 17181719)

Basically, wanting happiness is okay. When I remember where to look:

BEATIFIC VISION: The contemplation of God in heavenly glory, a gift of God which is a constitutive element of the happiness (or beatitude) of heaven (1028, 1720).”

HAPPINESS: Joy and beatitude over receiving the fulfillment of our vocation as creatures: a sharing in the divine nature and the vision of God. God put us into the world to know, love, and serve him, and so come to the happiness of paradise (1720).”
(Glossary, Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Expecting a giddy, party-every-day feeling isn’t reasonable. Not on a regular basis. Certainly not for someone like me. And that’s yet another topic. (July 2, 2017)

The Edwards Legacy

Then there’s the Edwards legacy:

“…every unconverted Man properly belongs to Hell….”
“…The God that holds you over the Pit of Hell, much as one holds a Spider, or some loathsome Insect, over the Fire, abhors you….”
“…you will be wholly lost and thrown away of God….”
(“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” pp. 6, 9, 15, 18; Jonathan Edwards (July 8, 1741) (via Digital Commons@University of Nebraska-Lincoln))

I’m not sure why calling someone a “loathsome Insect” has been so popular.

Maybe it’s connected to seeing God as a supercharged Zeus. With anger management issues. (January 19, 2018; November 19, 2017; September 10, 2017)

That, and morphing fear of God into being scared silly of the Almighty, are problems we’ve had ever since the first of us made a very poor choice. (Catechism, 29, 399, 2144)

Verbal abuse, religious and otherwise, happens. That doesn’t make it right. I’d be concerned about someone who enjoys it. Fashionable melancholy’s in the mix too, and that’s yet again another topic. Topics. (January 8, 2018; October 8, 2017; May 12, 2017)

Quirks and Dignity

Getting back to labels and being human: I’m pretty close to average height, and my features are about what you’d expect in someone with my ancestry.

I’m ‘normal’ — that way.

The way my brain works is another matter. (March 19, 2017; July 31, 2016)

My neural quirks have labels like Asperger’s and autism spectrum disorder. I figure they’ll have different labels as we learn more about non-standard brain functions.

Whatever they’re called, how I deal with them is up to me.

One option would be fretting about not being normal. Or pretending that there’s nothing non-standard about me. Neither seems reasonable.

I’ve got the dignity that comes with being human, just like everyone else. In that sense, I’m “normal.” In another sense, I suspect that nobody’s “normal.”

Maybe some are closer to the 50th percentile in more ways than most, but we’re not all alike. We’re not supposed to be. (Catechism, 19341938)

A Sticky Mind and 1 Corinthians 12

I’ve got a sticky mind: a knack for remembering words and facts.

Not important facts like birthdays, anniversaries and deadlines.

It’s part of the kit God gave me.

My contribution has been developing my talents, paying attention to this wonder-filled universe, and sharing my appreciation for God’s handiwork.

Last month’s Catholic Charismatic Renewal retreat started me thinking about talents and charisms: and how little I know about that sort of thing.

Apart from what’s in the second chapter of Acts and 1 Corinthians 12. And that’s still more topics, for another day.

Vaguely-related posts:

1 Geeks, nerds and Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night:”

2 Consumption, within reason:

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About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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5 Responses to Be Not Afraid of Geekness

  1. Speaking of which, I think I’ve come to a similar realization while researching for my BA Creative Writing thesis, which is still in the works. Oh, and my thesis aims to be a Catholic short story collection project. Took a while before I went that direction, though, but still, I thank God very much for bugging me hard through Flannery O’Connor and her works, hahaha! And now, after further research, I’m even more excited to blend the faith into my pop sensibilities! 😀

  2. I tried reading a dictionary just for fun. Not much of a plot. The author kept changing the subject every few minutes.

    God bless.

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