I’ve found, during my 18 years of existence, that good discussion topics can arise from one of two places: the shower or at the lunch table. It was during the latter on a fine Tuesday afternoon that a brilliant topic emerged, one that seemed so simple on the surface yet alarmingly complex when more closely examined. The debate presented itself like so:
Boberta: Why am I such a nerd?
Amandaline: You are not a nerd! You’re more of a dork.
Boberta: Same thing.
Amandaline: Untrue. They are entirely different.
Boberta: How do you figure?
Chaos erupted. Arguments launched themselves from sticker-riddled lunchboxes and appeared on torn scraps of notebook paper in the form of diagrams and flow-charts. Food spittles sprinkled the air as parties across the tables began to form teams. The Dorks. The Nerds. The Geeks. What differentiated one sector from another? What combination of characteristics defined dorks as more likable or geeks as not “friend-worthy” or nerds as supernaturally intelligent? Was there even a solid answer?
When half-eaten food took to the air, I took to the inter-web to investigate and, like any good human being, I turned to UrbanDictionary.
The definitions went a little something like this:
Geek (n.)- Someone who spends a lot of time and energy in a certain area, not necessarily computers or technology; An outwardly normal person who has taken the time to learn technical skills. They are generally not athletic and enjoy video games, comic books, being on the internet, etc.
Nerd (n.)- A socially awkward person who has learned technical skills due to the spare time they enjoy from being generally neglected; one whose IQ exceeds his weight.
Dork (n.)- Someone who has odd interests and is often silly at times. A dork is also someone who can be themselves and not care what anyone thinks. Dorks are typically more noted for their quirky personality.
Geek- Smart but not awkward
Nerd- Smart and awkward
Dork- Smart in less useful areas, awkward but proud regardless
Rising from my isolated lunch chair, I announced the results of the pop culture cyber search and allowed the information to settle amongst the crowd. Silence. Head-nodding. Mumbles of agreement. With my iPhone proudly glowing in my hand, I began to secretly congratulate myself on adopting the role of peacekeeper and keeping the balance of the lunch table. But I counted those eggs before they hatched.
“I’m still right,” said the stubborn one.
And they were back at it.
It was time to pull out the big guns and mention the indisputable weapons each grouping was allocated. Peacekeeping was not my forte and it was time to lay down the facts. Here’s what I came up with:
Once upon a time, dorks took it upon themselves to create their own subcategory: adorkable. Are you adorable? Are you dorky? Huzzah! You have joined the ranks of adorkable. Nerdable and geekable just don’t have that ring.
Dorks snagged the fancy noun but geeks, being geeks, verbified their way into a special type of awesome with the act, “to geek out”. Example: “Prom? No, I didn’t go. Claude and I stayed at home and geeked out to Doctor Who instead. Night well spent.”
Nerds don’t get a word. They get the satisfaction of knowing they will be our bosses someday. It seems to suffice.
Despite the undeniably compelling arguments I noted, however, the fight continued until the second bell smothered the remaining angry embers. In the end, the standings left dorks with three supporters, geeks with two and nerds with an empty fan-base. The topic did not resurface the following day or mid-shower so I was forced to retract the question from the public. However, the answer remains at large. What do you think? Which group (dorks, geeks or nerds) dominate? Why? What are the differences? Or are there any at all?
by Tyler Vendetti
Read more from Tyler on Twitter @HeyThereFuture