Letting My Geek Flag Fly

Drama Geek logo by impactspiritwear.com

My Real Memoir

“Some are born geeks, some achieve geekness, and others have geekness thrust upon them.” ~William (“Willy the Geek”) Shakespeare

“Drama Geeks.” That was what they called us. “They” being the letterman-jacketed “men” who ruled our little our Duchy of Highschoolandia, determining what was cool and what was not. And we, the Drama Geeks, a.k.a. “Drama Fags,” a.k.a. “Lesbians,” from the word “Thespian,” Greek (geek?) for “actor,” definitely weren’t cool. Still, while most campus activities had one page in our high school yearbook (Athletics had 45), Drama snagged a dramatic 5 pages the year Mr. B took over. And why not? Our sold-out performances were the second most attended events after football. The jocks knew it and felt threatened. They’d never bothered to ridicule Drama in the past; they hadn’t known it existed. But now Drama was threatening to become cool (a few sportos, enticed by cute, theatrically-inclined girls, even quietly tried out for plays). But we weren’t there yet.

I wanted so badly to be cool. But since grammar school I’d retained the unmistakable whiff of nerdiness. Outside of a knack for kickball and my circus-like skills on the high bar, I’d avoided sports, preferring to read books. Not just when they were assigned, but for pleasure, often spending entire weekends reading a novel from cover-to-cover! Plus, I liked show tunes! How did I turn out straight?

Still, I was only a nerd. I know, you’re thinking, “Nerd, geek—it’s all geek to me.” Nope, there’s a difference. Nerds avoid attention. Geeks embrace their geekiness!

Joe and I argued about religion—constantly. He was a believer and I was an atheist. One day, after P.E., we argued all the way to the showers, and back to our lockers. We continued to argue as we toweled off and headed for the exit, tossing our towels in the bin and walking out onto campus. Then the laughter began. We looked around. For some reason people were laughing at us. Why? We glanced down and discovered we’d left the gym wearing nothing but our skivvies! I wanted to change my name and move to Tibet. But Joe grinned, took a bow, and strolled nonchalantly back to the gym. And suddenly the people were laughing with us, rather than at us. The humble guy who always signed his name “just joe” had nothing to hide (literally). And as a result the ridicule had disintegrated and blown away!

A short time later, I was post-P.E.-showering–again–and instead of immediately toweling off with that wimpy little patch of terrycloth they gave us, squeegeed the water from my body with my hands, and then toweled off.

“That is so un-cool, man!” a popular jock shouted. “Only girls do that!”

“Why?” I asked. For once I didn’t defend myself, didn’t promise not to do it again, didn’t beg him not to tell anyone. And that one word, “Why?” became my “just joe” declaration of independence.

The guy stared blankly at me. My question didn’t compute. This wasn’t something you questioned, it was something you simply didn’t do. He snorted and walked away.

For the first time, I’d owned my geekness, and it felt weirdly cool. As a result of my letting my geek flag fly, some other geeks in Drama and Choir began doing the same. It seems geeks are forever blessing the world, hence the expression, “Beware of geeks bearing gifts.” And that’s why, in the end…

The geeks shall inherit the earth!

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Letting My Geek Flag Fly

  1. You never cease to make me smile, Mitch! Another childhood memory that we can all relate to in some way or another.

    Liked by 9 people

  2. Discover and Explore says:

    Your dip into your high school past was so specific, it was universal! Thank you for sharing 👍👍

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Dr. Ernie says:

    > For the first time, I’d owned my geekness, and it felt weirdly cool

    Amen, preach it brother!

    Liked by 6 people

  4. In my high school there was some overlap between jocks and thespians. The guy who seemed to get the lead role in just about every show was also on the football team. I have no idea how he did it, given the rigorous rehearsal schedules for the one and the brutal practice schedules for the other, but he did.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. ABoomer says:

    Great post! Would love to have seen the L.M.H.S. rendition of Bye, Bye Birdie. Loved that musical. I still sing “What’s the matter with kids today” when my grandkids baffle me with something new.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Confidence. I wish more kids had more of it (perhaps and some kids a bit less). God bless, Mitch!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. LOL, this line… oh my gosh: “the unmistakable whiff of nerdiness”

    Priceless. Good read my man, and good for you asking the big questions: WHY?

    Happy Tuesday.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I agree traveling towards eventually embracing your inner geek is one example of where the destination is definitely as good if not better than the journey.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Thanks Mitch. Here’s to geeks and nerds everywhere! Thanks for validating their right to be themselves

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Judging by the photo you shared of the drama students, you were one happy geek among many happy geeks. There’s power in numbers!

    Liked by 5 people

  11. There was an entire hierarchy in college. There were the music Nerds, the Band Geeks (who included some music nerds), The Drama Queens, The Math Geeks (who also might have been in the Band), and The Mad Scientists who were definitely in the band. Choir was where the Jocks went to find the Cheerleaders in the group. All the cheerleaders wanted to be in the show choir and some of the dance moves meant you had to recruit big strong men to move the girls around the stage. So while the music nerds sang and danced, the music jocks moved the furniture, um girls that couldn’t sing but looked good in the outfits.

    There was also a liberal arts requirement, and most of the jocks chose Conducting Class. The teacher was evil to the core. The first thing they did was Ravel’s Bolero–17 minutes of tiny movements in 3/4 time with a 180-measure crescendo. The over-muscled wrestlers and football players cramped both arms, both shoulders, and all the way down their backs, and one was taken out on a stretcher. The Nerds just smiled. If they’d had iPhones, there would have been at least 500 pictures of crying jocks maneuvering a small baton. Bwahahahaha

    Liked by 5 people

  12. My high school was too small for thespians (what DID the geeks and nerds do?), but they did present a junior class play and a senior one. No way was I going to try out for anything, but the elderly teacher threatened to cancel the whole thing if everyone didn’t try out. (33 in my class) So I reluctantly did, got the lead, hated it! The next year, she picked me for an old lady, which was much more fun. My acting days were (thankfully) over.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. When we own who we are, when we stop making excuses and pretend to be who we are not, that’s when life truly begins.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. Discover and Explore says:

    My high school grade in high school had almost 350 teenagers. There were lots of different groups to identify with. This is in the early 70’s. There were jocks, stoners, straight A students, Band, theater geeks. And more. There was more overlap between the silos than one might think. In college, I attended USC. The Band there was cool! Just saying.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
    geek (noun)
    Synonyms of geek
    1 a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked
    2 an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity
    computer geek
    3 a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake

    Biting the head off a live chicken or snake? YIKES.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. The Hinoeuma says:

    I was a chorus geek and a band geek. Then, I became a computer geek. I couldn’t do drama (too nervous to remember lines) but, I was in our pageant.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Glad you owned it, Mitch. Confidence is the difference between embarrassing yourself and being a trend-setter. Or if not a trend-setter, one with a distinct trademark. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Thanks for the laughter, Mitch! I laughed so hard at the image you crafted in this episode of your memoir.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. So fun and funny!! Love the storytelling!! Thanks for sharing your memories!

    Liked by 3 people

  20. ‘Why’ is and always will be a good word! Glad you used it. A memory carefully crafted to pass on.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. “Why?” Reminds me of a scene in the 1960s British TV show, “The Prisoner,” where the hero, Number 6, is introduced to a computer that (supposedly) can answer any question you ask it. So, Number 6 asked it, “Why?” The computer promptly (and quite dramatically–sparks and smoke and all) self destructed.
    I found a great way to embrace my nerdiness in 11th grade when I became the school newspaper’s sports editor. Sure, I was a nerd who liked books and writing–but now I was the nerd who had jocks wanting to get on his good side.

    Liked by 4 people

  22. Ann Coleman says:

    Sometimes we just have to embrace who we really are! Feels good, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Pingback: The Death of a Friend | Mitch Teemley

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