Saturday, October 7, 2006

Published October 7, 2006
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

I often like to say I don't believe in soulmates, but I do believe in kindred spirits, and I met one such spirit in the grocery store the other day. As this teenaged boy scanned my purchases, I asked him the meaning of a small medallion he was wearing around his neck. He said it represented the three faces of the Goddess: the maiden, the mother, and the crone. I sighed a wistful sigh, smiled at him, and said, "I think if we were the same age, you would have been one of my friends in high school."

I have no idea if he took that as a compliment. He chuckled and smiled, but I think they train them to do that there. If you're wondering how I came to the conclusion I did, I'll tell you exactly what kind of person would have been my friend in high school.

-If you would be tempted to name your cat after an ancient Greek mathematician or any character from Star Wars, Star Trek, or Lord of the Rings, you would have been my friend in high school.

-If your idea of a good time is sitting around discussing your favorite words or doing online research to find out just how many digits are in the largest known prime number (in the vicinity of 15.9 MILLION, by the way), you would have been my friend in high school.

-If you ever had trouble distinguishing your Dungeons and Dragons identity from your actual identity, you would have been my friend in high school.

Now, I hear you all screaming in unison: NERD! I must disagree. I am not, nor have I ever been a nerd. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being a nerd. It's just that if you shout, "Hey NERD!" in a crowd, I will not look up from my scientific calculator/book of Transcendentalist poetry (whichever the occasion demands) and answer you, because I am not, nor will I ever be a nerd.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am a GEEK!

In case you're unaware of the subtle differences, or you ate your lunch with the cheerleaders and the jocks, a geek is not a nerd. A geek is cut from the same intellectual cloth, certainly, but a geek is a few more steps along in the evolution of high school popularity. In other words, nerd is to Australopithecus as geek is to Cro-Magnon Man. (Of course, being a Christian geek, I'm still not sure I believe all of that).

To put it in layman's terms, a geek is a nerd with contact lenses. A geek is a nerd with some understanding of fashion and style (not much, but some). A geek is a nerd with a sense of humor and a desire to enter the outside world every now and then. A geek is a nerd who is always on the verge of "crossing over" and becoming a popular kid (albeit smart), but who would rather bask in his unabashed geekiness than sell out.

These days, I am choosing to spend as much time as possible embracing my inner geek. My name is Sarah Wilson. I am a geek, and I'm proud. So please, don't ever call me a nerd. For that matter, I'd also rather not be called a dweeb, a dork, or an egghead. Freak, however, is fine.

After all, a freak is just a geek who's found a way to entertain the masses with her geekiness and get paid for it.