Faith Salie: It's All Geek to Me

Faith Salie: actress, "Sunday Morning" commentator and geek
This past summer I attended Comic-Con, the annual sci-fi/fantasy/gaming/comic book convention often called the world's biggest "geek-fest." About 125,000 fans descend on San Diego, many of them dressed as zombies, Spartans, pirates, Klingons, superheroes and, of course, Darth Vader.

It was my first time so I checked out the Web site to find do's and don'ts, such as, "Projectile costume weapons must be rendered inoperable."

What's on an inoperable projectile?

I entered this event with some preconceptions about what I would see. And, yes, I did see a whole lot of "geeks" who, empirically, should not have engaged in spandex.

But mostly I saw moms, seniors, cute kids, bearded dudes, whites, Hispanics . . . in other words, a whole bunch of regular folk.

And I had this paradoxical revelation:

WE ARE ALL GEEKS NOW . . . which makes "geek" an endangered species.

No longer is a geek identifiable by a pale complexion, black-rimmed glasses, a bowling shirt that says "Nerd World Order."

No, geeks are everywhere. And they're cool!

"Mad Men"'s John Hamm called himself a comic book geek. "The Big Bang Theory" is a hit show. Even our president says he believes in the Final Frontier.

"To geek out" is an oft-used verb. It's become a way to describe an avid interest without promoting yourself as an expert or wonk.

It's more self-deprecating to call yourself a "wine geek" than a "wine snob."

But once something becomes cool, it becomes ubiquitous - which kills the cool. So in order to "save the geek," I think we need to thin the herd.

Here are a few ways to see if you qualify as a real geek:

When you recite the opening of "Star Trek" verbatim and it ends with "to boldly go where no man has gone before," do you feel rapturous - and ashamed for using a split infinitive?

Instead of a fantasy football team, you have a fantasy fantasy team, and you're inconsolable when Harry Potter is put on the disabled list.

You got kicked out of your high school geek club because you replaced jazz hands with Vulcan salutes.

Or, you've actually been beamed up (as I was, playing the genetic mutant Sarina in "Deep Space Nine").

Don't mean to brag!

For more info: