Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Born Not Made

I have strong evidence to suggest that geeks are a fundamental result of nature rather than nurture and further, that the geek gene does not skip a generation.

Let's start with The Spouse's parents. His father was an engineer at Boeing from the day he graduated college until the day he died. The man owned a slide rule. His mother met his father while working at Boeing, as one of the first women engineers in the company. See? Brainy people. (I never knew these people but I do count among my acquaintance any number of engineers. I love them. But they are definitely a little geeky).

Along came The Spouse who is, without question, a geek. He was one of those guys who had a personal computer when the monitor ran in orange. He programmed stuff and fooled around and one day he loosened his tie after church, sat down with the want ads and said, "Hey, there are a lot of computer jobs in this town".

Yep. And coffee on every corner.

He also reads science fiction, watches science fiction and, for what it's worth, his aunt is best friends with the woman who wrote the Clan of the Cave Bear books.

Me? I never considered myself much of a geek. I wasn't good at math. I've read some science fiction and enjoyed it but it was all pretty mainstream stuff: the CS Lewis trilogy, Madeleine l'Engle, Dune. I even took science fiction in college, but that was because it was one of those seminar classes that was structured so geeks could take it for English credit and English majors could take it for science credit. And sure, I was a little pissed when everyone started using Windows because by then I'd figured out how to manipulate my computer world in DOS. (I still kinda miss DOS if the truth be told). But that owes more to my not liking to learn new ways of doing computer related stuff than to any actual geekiness. But otherwise, not so much a geek. I know 0s and 1s manipulate the computer landscape but I don't know how. (I know how to write the html code for italics but I don't know how it works. And I don't care. So long as it does work).

Plus, there are those (Iwanski) who call me a geek because I watch "Battlestar Galactica". Although, anyone who has ever watched "Battlestar Galactica" knows that it is a show about race, politics, religion, sex and the meaning of civilization which just happens to be taking place in space, which hardly makes it geeky but you'd have to watch it to know that (Iwanski) and besides that, anyone who ever dreamed of writing for movies/television (Iwanski) owes it to himself to watch it before he shoots off his mouth anymore (Iwanski).

So The Spouse is pretty much of a geek by all the standards commonly accepted for geekdom. (He doesn't wear a pocket protector. He does have a slide rule, but only because I bought it for him at the Rummage Sale from Hell). I am a nominal geek. (My numbers amp up a bit if you factor in computer games).

The Child comes along. A child who consistently gets Cs and Ds in math. A child who claims to hate science because "it's boring", although she thinks that growing up to be an archaeologist might be cool. Ah. The chain is broken.

Hold on there just a minute, Mr. Tesla. Not so much.

The Spouse had to stop watching "Battlestar Galactica" about halfway through last season because SciFi switched the air time to 10pm on Sundays. So we've been watching Season Three for the last week, to catch him up for tomorrow night's season premiere. That's a lot of episodes. And The Spouse gets up pretty early. So for the last two evenings we have gathered as a family in the kitchen, held hands to say grace and then The Child has taken her food to her room and we've gone into the family room to watch "BSG".

(I can't believe I just admitted that to you. It goes against my nature, against everything I believe about the importance of the family table blah blah blah. But there you go).

So yesterday The Child says to me, "You know how sometimes you really become a fan of one thing? Well, I'm really into "Star Wars" right now".

Yep, while we've been watching BSG she's been reacquainting herself with Luke and Leia. But that's not all. She and a friend have decided to start a newspaper. She's written her first article. "Aliens: True or Hoax?" in which she argues, fairly effectively, that alien life is a strong possibility. Ask her about Area 51 sometime. She can tell you way more about it than I know.

When she's been all het up about Harry Potter, with a rabid attention to detail that would serve her well were she to apply the same to academics, I just figured it was a kid thing. It is arguably the defining book/movie series of her generation...what The Wizard of Oz or Tolkien's Ring cycle were to previous generations. But now I'm not so sure. Hello? Wizards? How geeky is that? Coupled with her new found interest in interplanetary life forms, the conclusion is inevitable. My child is a geek. Like her parents and grandparents before her.

I don't know whether to hang my head in shame or get her a poster of the Very Large Array.

Carl Sagan, here she comes.

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Anonymous Anonymous opined...

Star Wars? Me = proud. Yet again. Although I'm guessing she's developed a crush on 1977 Mark Hamill.

32 hours until BSG. I have a plan.

April 03, 2008 9:51 AM  
Blogger Doralong opined...

Apples, tress.. well you know. Me, I'm just thankful mine got their daddy's brains and I leave it at that.

April 03, 2008 9:53 AM  
Blogger rosemary opined...

I visited the Star Wars event at the Franklin Museum...I spelled Leia wrong...I'm a dork. Steve....pen in the pocket geek...his favorite book as a kid? A school text book...The Atom is Your Friend.

April 03, 2008 10:32 AM  
Blogger sageweb opined...

I am an engineer...for a huge aerospace company(20 years) and I resemble some of those geeky remarks. But I have never been into any star wars(never seen it) or BSG(also never seen it).. but I do love Harry Potter.
I work with geeks galore and find myself ammused by all geeks so I think you should be proud of the Childs future.

April 03, 2008 10:41 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

JP, you still have your poster of Mark Hamill lying around?


Yep, Cuz, that's about the size of it.

And that, Rosie, would explain your geeky daughter, the Hat.

April 03, 2008 10:41 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Sage, how are you old enough to have worked somewhere for 20 years?

April 03, 2008 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

I was just thinking that too, Lorraine. How old is that picture, Sage?

April 03, 2008 10:57 AM  
Blogger sageweb opined...

I am older then both of you! The picture was taken in Dec. 42 years old. I am not shy. I am still a geek tho. I act immature that is probably what fooled you.

April 03, 2008 11:25 AM  
Blogger Mom opined...

I am married to an official pocket-protector full of pens, slide rule owning geek. He has a bumper sticker that says, Geek-American and proud." I run on pure emotion and can only use a computer because I live with lovable Nerd. Our kids are a mixed breed of nerdy emotion.

April 03, 2008 11:32 AM  
Blogger sageweb opined...

Here I took a new picture today, shows me in a better light.

April 03, 2008 11:35 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

HA! I could have been your babysitter, Sage. But you are older than JP. All of us are. He's just a baby.

April 03, 2008 1:02 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

"Geek-American and proud" - lol, Mom. I have to get one of those for The Spouse. And The Child.

April 03, 2008 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

I'm buying you all matching "Rush" t-shirts for Christmas this year.

April 03, 2008 2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

Sage has a babyface.

April 03, 2008 2:23 PM  
Blogger booda baby opined...

Get out. You got Science Credit? I'm telling you - something's very unfair about something. Like Sage looking like she's 14.

April 03, 2008 4:21 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

Ever since the first Neanderthal stuck his hand in the fire twice (to confirm his original hypothesis) the Geek gene has been dominant...
It's a scientific fact.

April 03, 2008 5:31 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Awesome, Hat. That's totally rad.

She sure does, JP. Must be all those years of clean living. Concept.

Booda, it was actually pretty cool. It was a 2 hour class, once a week. We'd read a book, like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and for the first hour a lit prof would talk about the literary aspects of the work and then the 2nd hour, or as I liked to call it, "nap time", a science prof would talk about the practical science in the story.

Sling, see?

April 03, 2008 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

Ba Ha Ha Ha (Note no W)

Well, well, well. So, wha happened to polly Wednesday ehh?

Too hot to handle?

Oh well.



April 03, 2008 8:10 PM  
Blogger Miss Healthypants opined...

LOL, LOL, LOL!! :)

Thanks for ripping on my husband and making me laugh!! :)

April 03, 2008 8:51 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Anonyba, no polly Wednesday until Pennsylvania. Unless your girl pisses me off before then.

MHP, LOL back! Very rarely your husband needs a ripping. So glad you're blogging, dude.

April 03, 2008 9:53 PM  
Blogger greeny opined...

Such an hilarious post, Lorraine.

I show signs of geekiness but only in certain areas and it has nothing to do with intelligence. Kid's father-pure geek- astronomical IQ. J is total geek-E is a bit geeky.
My thought is to embrace it fully. Geeks are coming into their own world-wide!

April 04, 2008 4:07 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

It's true, Greeny.

Used to be geeks were synonymous with the high school A/V club. Now they are running corporations, making movies and having TV shows made about them wherein they are the main players (and where you know Leonard is destsined for the hot chick - "Big Bang Theory"...check it out). That's what happens now.

Geek chic.

April 04, 2008 6:22 AM  
Blogger LostInCO opined...

Hey I can get you some posters of the VLA. My buddy works there. I even have a VLA poster hanging on my office/cubical wall. oh oh I think I just revealed that I am a geek. Oh HI. Sageweb told me about your blog.

April 04, 2008 7:34 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Lost, totally cool! And thanks for coming by...any friend of Sage's....

April 04, 2008 8:20 AM  
Blogger Grish opined...

The Wife claims I am the biggest geek she's ever known. Most of my family does. I don't know if I inherted this though, as I am the only computer oriented person on my side of the fence.

Everyone else is a mechanic though so maybe It's the same thing, just turned a little sideways.

There are NO computer jobs here though. Unless of course you count repairing them for your fellow neighbor.

Star Wars rocks. I just watched three of them ... this week...again...

BSG is of course a quilty pleasure and it's a sad thing it ending but two of my shows have announced their upcoming endings "Lost" being the other.

I prefer this "know it" approach to the way they ended say "Seaquest" back in the 90's or something of that sort..

April 06, 2008 11:30 PM  

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