Saturday, February 5, 2011

+10 Geek-Level Dexterity

I’ve figured that since I still play video games, watch cartoons, love crossword puzzles and read books that aren’t required as part of a syllabus, that it’s a pretty solid bet that I am a nerd. The action figures displayed on the shelf of my office (all out of their packages, some because I received them as a kid and others because I couldn’t resist the urge to play with them even as an adult) only make this case stronger and the fact that I don’t need my sons to be in the same state to enjoy assembling a Lego set clinches it.

But a big part of this blog has been owning my inner nerd and being proud of it. My youngest son said to me, “Dad, you and the people at GameStop know everything,” and I consider it one of the best compliments I have ever received (see Best…Compliment…Ever).

With my nerdiness now thoroughly documented, I need to clarify that there is a difference between a nerd and a geek. While I can’t quantify it, it is my general impression that the status of nerd is a base, a middle ground if you will. The geek, I think, begins as a nerd, then becomes so obsessed with a certain trade or hobby that they immerse themselves in it, sacrificing even more social skills than the nerd in order to master said skill. The result is a more socially awkward, sheltered, sun-deprived individual, but they have a specific in-depth knowledge of something useful like computer programming, physics or chemistry. A nerd can correct your grammar. A geek can do it in seven different languages.

I never committed myself to a specific technical skill. I know enough about computers to get them running, install new software and sync numerous iDevices. However, when our Internet connection is experiencing trouble that requires fixing beyond turning everything off and back on again, I need to get on the phone with tech support. The nerd needs to call a geek.

Yet the other day, while facing the reality that a new desktop may be in order, yours truly decided to try and take matters into his own hands. In a last ditch effort to put off spending money, I valiantly stepped far beyond the boundaries of my skill set and attempted to clean the old machine up a bit. I deleted programs, properly uninstalling them with cold precision like a surgeon wielding a scalpel. I cross-referenced operating systems with requirements and upgraded versions of existing programs when available and necessary. Finally, I defragmented. Okay, the PC did that itself, but I’m proud of the fact that I realized it needed to be done, committed the time (it took nearly 24 hours) to let it happen and gave the executive order.

In the end, our old desktop ran faster. I dare say it runs like new. I am proud that I performed closer to geek level regarding computer maintenance than I ever had before. I’m pretty sure the experience gained me some much needed dexterity points.

It’s just a shame that I can’t think of a way to broadcast my achievements on any other forum but this blog. If you could only see me now, you would see that I am exuding pride and confidence, my head held high and my chest stuck out. Although if you were all looking at me, I would probably become suddenly more introverted, begin slouching and stare down at the floor. Maybe it’s for the best.

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