Speak Out with your Geek Out is an online initiative to create a world where positive role models can exist in the world of geeks. It’s about overcoming the stigma that is associated with certain hobbies, careers and passions. If you’d like to know more, check out the official Speak Geek blog.
I am a Geek, and I’m not Ashamed
Hello, my name is Matthew Brotherton, and I am a giant geek. I’ve always been a geek, and I have no intentions of ever not being a geek. Of all the many, many things in my life that I might actually feel shame over, being a geek has never been one of them. I’ve always worn the title proudly. A common exchange in my life has been:
“You’re a little odd, aren’t you?”
“Yes, yes, I am.”
Of course, I can’t quite help it. I’m not alone in my geekdom. I’m part of an entire family of geeks. It’s a pretty good family to be part of.
Geek from the Start
Every kid plays with action figures. You can tell a lot about a kid by what action figures he plays with, though. Did you have GI Joes? Of course you did, we all did. They weren’t the prizes of my toys though. That fell to the amazing He-Man collection. Actually, swords and sorcery pretty much controlled my life from an early age. Scratch that, it implies that it doesn’t still.
Computers hit it in pretty early on, too. I remember spending hours sitting at my parent’s Apple II just creating ASCII art from scratch, because that’s what was available to me, we didn’t have any boot disks for any software, or if we did, I didn’t know where to find it. I remember it being awesome that I could draw pictures with the symbols on the green screen, though. That was enough for me to fall in love with computers.
Second Generation Geek
Of course, those things were in my house because my parents are also geeks. My father is a fantasy and sci-fi geek. He isn’t just a reader either. He’s one of those geeks who will analyze the Lord of the Rings in comparison to World War II Europe, or talk about how Kosh is really just a stand in for Gandalf. Both of my parents have been known to spend some time playing video games. Although, my father prefers Civilization, and my mother prefers puzzle games and Starcraft.
I grew up in a household that watched Star Trek and Doctor Who. Thanks to my older brother, I got an early introduction to Dungeons and Dragons, as well as some other Role Playing Games. I can even remember my father playing with us a couple of times. Of course, later on down the road, I would be introduced to Eldaraenth, and would add a whole new level of geekdom when I became a LARPer.
My adolescents was spent on the internet. Chat rooms, forums and news groups filled my nights and weekends. Of course that was when I wasn’t doing plays, debate tournaments or LARP events. I even learned how to use Linux around my sophomore year. After school, I hit a pretty rough few years emotionally. I can honestly say, the one thing that kept me going all of those years was the community I’d found through boffer fighting. It gave (and continues to give me) my exercise. It was my social interaction. It was pretty much the only time I spent outdoors.
Now, I’ve embraced the geeky heritage. I live on the internet. I carry it in my pocket because I can’t stand the idea of being disconnected from the world. I get a little grumpy and sullen when I don’t get a chance to write. I have even taken my love of LARP turned it into another opportunity to blog over at Swords and Ears.
Oh, and I don’t mind being seen in public dressed as a pirate.
I have a lot of plans for the future. Running Eldaraenth part of that, and I want to see the game itself continue to grow and improve. The other part of that is trying my best to make a name for myself in the cyber-culture that has become the internet. I’m not joking when I say that my list of life dreams includes just hanging out with people like Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day.
I’m not just writing this to say that I’m proud to be a geek. I embrace it fully. I love the culture of geekdom. I think of it as my heritage and my future. I hope one day to pass it on to another generation. It’s important. It is a part of who I am.
I am a proud Geek. I bet deep down, you are, too.