The always fabulous Shevi Arnold is back for a second Speculative Fiction Writer guest post. Today she's talking about what it means to be a geek.
On Being a Geek
By Shevi Arnold
See that girl sitting in the food court?
She’s wearing the right clothes, listening to the right music on the right phone, and gossiping with her friends—who also wear the right clothes and listen to the right music on the right phone— about the right celebrities. She’s cool, and what makes her cool is that she looks down on anyone who likes anything that isn’t exactly right right now. And she also looks down on anyone who likes anything that’s right right now a bit too much. She’s cool, because she’s above it all, indifferent, what-e-VER.
And she’s nothing like me.
See that other girl stepping into Game Stop?
She’s wearing a Doctor Who tee, and she’s going to see if she can get her hands on the latest Professor Layton game. Her phone is uncool, the games on it—like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope--are nerdy, and she couldn’t care less about celebrity gossip. She is a geek, and what makes her a geek is that she loves what she loves to the extreme. She’d never look down on you for liking anything. She’s geeky, because she cares deeply, she loves with all her heart (or both her hearts, if she’s a Doctor Who fan), and she’d love to tell you all about it.
She is like me.
She finds her game, squeals with glee at the thought of finally being able to play it, and passes the food court on her way to Hot Topic, where’s she’s going to check out the Big Bang Theory tees before heading to Barnes & Nobles for fantasy and sci-fi books, graphic novels, and manga.
The cool girl sees her, and the cool girl and her friends laugh. The geek overhears one of them say, “What a dork.”
And it hurts.
But what the geek doesn’t realize is that the cool girl and her friends are really thinking, “She’s brave. I wish I had something I loved that much. And I wish I had the guts to show it.”
Being a geek is awesome, because it means you care. A lot. Don’t let the so-called cool kids take that away from you.
My latest, funny novel, Why My Love Life Sucks (book one in The Legend of Gilbert the Fixer), is about the ultimate teenage geek—Gilbert Garfinkle—and the ultimate geek’s nightmare. Gilbert has a compulsive need to take apart, figure out, and fix things. One night Gilbert meets the one thing he’ll never be able to take apart and figure out: a gorgeous teenage vampire girl named Amber, who wants to turn him into her platonic best friend—literally forever.
In one scene, Amber asks Gilbert how he does it.
She silently stares off into space for a long time, and then raises a finger to her lips. Very quietly she asks, “How do you do it?”
“Like yourself so much you don’t care what other people think?”
“What’s not to like? Don’t answer that. It was a rhetorical question.”
“Haven’t you ever been picked on for being, you know . . . ?”
“Geeks are awesome. If other people can’t see that, it’s their problem. The very definition of being a geek is that you love something just because you love it, not because someone is telling you you should, but in spite of them telling you you shouldn’t. There’s no greater love than geek love. If you’re lucky, maybe someday you’ll find it too.”
She looks at me with her eyes narrowed and tilts her head sideways. I can see she doesn’t get what I’m saying.
“You know, that one thing that makes you so happy, you won’t care what anyone else thinks,” I explain.
“Then you won’t need other people to like you, because you’ll like you.”
“But you still have other people who really like you.”
“Yup, that’s another great thing about being a geek: because you’re not trying to hide who you are, your friends like you for you, not your hair, or makeup, or clothes. Just you.”
So don’t let the cool kids tell you what you should and shouldn’t love and how you shouldn’t love it so much. Show off your geek colors. Wear them proudly, because there are other geeks out there who love that thing as much as you do, and they will love you with all their hearts, no matter what anyone else thinks.
Shevi Arnold is the author of four published novels for kids and teens, including her ABNA quarterfinalist, Why My Love Life Sucks. You can check it out on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes HYPERLINK "http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/why-my-love-life-sucks-shevi-arnold/1114274136?ean=2940015949377&itm=1&usri=shevi+arnold"&HYPERLINK "http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/why-my-love-life-sucks-shevi-arnold/1114274136?ean=2940015949377&itm=1&usri=shevi+arnold" Noble, and Smashwords, and you can start reading it free on Freado.
Thank you, Shevi. I'm a geek and proud of it. For years I was to embarrassed to tell people, though I suspect it was pretty obvious. Now I embrace who I am and love it!