"Revenge of the Nerds" is one of my guilty pleasures. I've always liked Robert Carradine, who played Lewis, and it's hard to believe that Anthony Edwards (Dr. Green from "ER") started out as Gilbert! It's silliness, I know, but there's something kind of satisfying about the nerds using their superior intellect to show that they're worthy of respect and can compete and even win against bullies. Isn't that a line in the movie? "Nerds are people, too." Actually, I think the main zinger is when Lewis says, "I've got news for all the beautiful people. There are more of us than there are of you." "Nerd" is essentially synonymous with "geek," and the Computer Desktop Encyclopedia defines geek as "A technically oriented person. It has typically implied a 'nerdy' or 'weird' personality, someone with limited social skills who likes to tinker with scientific or high-tech projects."
I recently read something in which the person wrote that they didn't want their kids "stuck in the geek lounge at work." Au contraire, I think that geekdom is something to aspire to! I'd say that Bill Gates is the embodiment of the Übergeek, and last I knew, he was doing pretty well for himself. It's the science nerds who will be driving the future, as the need grows for health care personnel, civil and mechanical engineers to repair our aging infrastructure, nuclear engineers to construct new nuclear plants, and medical researchers to develop new treatments for disease and infection. It was a science geek who put the iPod in your shirt pocket, the cell phone in your purse, and the computer on your desk in front of you. They've put a nice TV in your living room--possibly a big screen TV--and a satellite in orbit so you can get 150 channels. Chances are, they've protected your children from deadly infections and it's quite possible they've saved the lives of other family members by using techniques like open heart surgery and organ transplants. They developed the search engine that is the most-used in the world, they developed the program I'm using to write this entry, and they continue to write the programs that make the whole world sing!
And make no mistake about it: being a geek is not mutually exclusive with being a well-rounded person in both education and interests. I consider myself a geek, but I have what I consider to be a healthy curiosity about the world in general, including art, literature, and music. When I took my SAT's in high school, I actually scored higher on the language section than I did on the math. Socially inept? A geek can use his or her mental skills to overcome that and learn how to adapt. I'd say that the overriding characteristic of a geek is an insatiable thirst for knowledge, whether it's about science, language, or pop culture. I believe that's something to foster and develop in our students, and I call for an immediate end to geek-bashing! I can't understand why it was ever "uncool" to learn, and if we want to turn things around in this country--and the world--we need to make learning not only cool, but expected. The greatest gift my parents gave me was not my college education, not anything monetary, but a love of learning and a love of reading. Reading will take us everywhere, teach us about various cultures and religions and countries. My Dad and I talk sometimes about how our family loves to read, and he says, "Books have taken me to the ends of the earth." To not foster that feeling in our youth is doing them a disservice.
And you know what they say! "The geeks shall inherit the earth." Isn't that how the Bible verse goes? <grin>
So hug a geek today. Show a little love. As soon as Ken gets home, I'm going to give him a big hug! And I'm sure that when he reads this, he'll give me one, too!