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Anything You Can Do, Geeks Can Do Better?

Ask me if I believe in fate. I’m gonna say yes. Because I was beating my had against the desk in that “I wanna write, but don’t know what to write about” frustration when I saw this…

…and I got to thinking. (For those of you itching to ask me if it hurt, consider yourself thwapped)


It’s an interesting comment and one I know lots of geeky folks would immediately second.

However, while I’ll admit I’m all for geek pride, I’m not sure I agree. Personally, I thought of a few things I’m definitely not better at and don’t try harder to be better at. (Basketball being just the tip of that proverbial iceberg.)

So, what do you think? Are geeks better at everything? Do they try harder?

Or are there things geeks can’t do?


  1. Interesting question, frequently offensive comments. Of course there are things geeks can’t do. Most of the rest of the world can’t do them either.

    eg: Be a Virtuoso Opera Singer; Do Grand Prix Racing; Publish novels as interesting as Gaiman or Straub or Allende or Morrison; Write plays as good as Shakespeare or Sondheim; Influence movies as much as James Cameron or George Lucas; Run a marathon; Compete in the Olympics; Have a photographic memory; Paint as well as Picasso or Magritte or DaVinci; Cook as well as Ramsey, Travel as much as Bourdain; Win the Nobel Prize in Science or Literature; etc.

    Some of it can be attributed to physical differences, some that our brains work differently, some is how we were raised, and some is money.

    Geeks are by and large more intelligent and interested in a broader spectrum of knowledge, which makes us seem more educated perhaps, but we also spend more time working and learning to get there. And we can’t do it all, so our interests get more attention while other things (in some cases exercise or eating well) get less.

  2. I’m a proud geek and frothing loony of a mountain biker. The idea that geeks are all pasty, socially inept ogres that live in their parent’s basements is so last decade. All in all, yeah, we do it better.

  3. Cell Cell

    The hardest thing for me, oddly enough, is math. No matter how hard I try I cannot make those things line up and come out correctly. =) Give me words any day.

    I have worked at it, I have studied, I have read books. I still cannot make anything but basic algebra work in my head. So yes, there are definitely things the “geek-work-ethic” cannot compensate for.

    Of course, given a calculator and a set of dice and I will add modifiers in D&D like no one’s business! =)

  4. I’m a geek/nerd. I played football, baseball and ran track in high school. I also played playground basketball, and never had to worry about being the last one picked.

    I fit in well with the crowds, whether intellectual, jock, stoners, musicians… it doesn’t matter.

    So I work in IT. I Was the egghead everyone thought would throw off the curve in school. I believe one of the “nicest” things I heard when I was in grade school was ‘walking dictionary’

    So yeah, the stereotypes aren’t true anymore. I realized it in my Junior year of high school when my sister told me “I don’t get you. I don’t know whether you’re a geek, a jock, or a stoner.”

  5. I’m a geek and I play hockey – goalie no less.


  6. I love that the preconception of geeks being the socially inept losers we’ve been portrayed as in the past still persists. Yeah, the people with problems in social situations exist, but you can’t safely generalise us like that any more. There’s a rising trend of socially acceptable, confident and adaptable geeks that’s growing every year. Even amongst my groups of friends where I’m the only geek, I’m still the most socially capable of us.

    Personally, I find financial responsability the hardest thing in the world… Seriously, I suck at it so bad…

    One of the defining features of nerds and geeks, in my mind at least, is a form of mental agility that allows us to come to terms with and master new concepts and activities relatively quickly. As Scott said above, if a geek feels that they need to learn Basketball, you can bet that (barring fitness issues) within a few months you’d have a half decent player on your hands.

  7. I’m a geek and I CAN play basketball. I’m a decent Forward. As far as social interaction goes that has nothing to do with me being a geek as the issues the lead to me having issues in that area arose before I was a geek.

  8. Hi there!

    Easy. Go up to your favorite geek, find out their favorite TV Show/Movie/Comic Book/ Anime and say the following:

    “Oh? I haven’t seen it. Don’t tell me anything about it, because I might want to watch it someday. No, don’t even breathe a word of approval or dismissal. Just stand there and not comment. On the off chance that I DO see it, I will let you know. Just don’t ask me if I’ve seen it yet until then. Don’t even mention it. Ever”.

    If you’re an attractive member of the opposite sex, their head might actually explode when you say this. [nods]

    — Craig

  9. I think that – if a geek really put his or her mind to something (dedication and perseverance are very geek traits) they can do just about anything. I can’t play basketball either, but if I needed to, I sure could figure it out.

  10. Basketball was the first thing to come to mind? I would say social interactivity, and I’m talking real social activity…not facebook or twitter. That doesn’t count.

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