Getting Your Geek On

I come from a family of scientists. That I am not a scientist by trade is more a matter of my stubborn streak than anything else. My siblings studied science, so I merrily skipped on over to the Humanities to hang out. I eavesdrop extremely well, though, and whatever they were interested in studying I was interested in listening to. My reality has been shaped by a hunger to understand, appreciate, and celebrate the living crap out of, well, everything. I am a captain of the geek squad, proud to serve in my unbridled enthusiasm for learning about A Thing … and then social enough to share with anyone who will listen.


It was a pivotal day in my time as a mom when my daughter came home from school extolling the virtues of trigonometry. To her, trig was breathtaking, astounding even. At that moment, she joined the ranks of the people I admire most: the people whose desire to learn is fueled by an appreciation of something greater than themselves. She’s in good company. Neil deGrasse Tyson, my current reigning sexy-man-of-science, has said that the universe for him is poetic. Phil Plait, my big brother of science, has the wit and intelligence necessary to take the urban legends of astronomy and give them a whuppin (check out Death from the Skies). Bill Nye, my favorite goofy man of science, has made science fun for all of us, even as his message is drop-dead serious: There’s science going on all around us, and we’d do well to learn about it.


I have been a begrudging participant in the familiar debate of who is smarter: sciency people or artsy people. I strongly suggest that a debate like that is missing the point. We need the artists every bit as much as we do the scientists. When we are passionate about A Thing we are more fully alive, more than mere spectators in the drama of life unfolding around us.


It doesn’t matter whether you’re a painter or a poet, a chef or a chemist, an astrophysicist or an accountant, there’s room for you to do Your Thing, whatever that is, and make sure to share it. We all benefit from it. This goes above gender, culture, and socioeconomic status. This goes into the heart of what being human is all about. Whatever that Thing is that makes you excited, especially if you have more than one thing, get on it. Learn about it, talk about it, share it, and celebrate it. It’s time to get your Geek on.



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