Though Geeks are an easily identifiable species, very little observational data on these often misunderstood and sometimes reviled creatures has been collected in its natural habitat. This 15 year study follows a bachelor tribe of Geeks from adolescence to maturity, charting the adaptive behaviors of the group as its members move from the sheltered nursery of the university habitat to the wilder ecosystems of the world.
History of Project
Initial observation of subjects began 15 years ago with the following goals:
- Locate Geeks in the university habitat. The university campus habitat supports a wide variety of unique ecosystems within its protective halls; ecosystems that have difficulty flourishing in the wider climate. Adverse conditions such as work, familial responsibilities, and fiscal demands quickly modify the behavior and evolution of creatures that stray from the sheltered climes of the university.
- Gain acceptance into the group. – It would be impossible to monitor the activities and social interactions of the Geeks without their acceptance. Early reports indicate shyness toward females. Geek activities have always been clandestine, taking place in private spaces, like basements, away from public scrutiny. To collect authentic observational data a bond of trust would need to be formed.
- Collect data from the Geek’s adolescent phase and compare to data collected during the mature phase – this is a long-term project to track the behavior of Geeks. While Geeks are prevalent in the university ecosystem, their numbers dwindle rapidly after graduation. What is happening to the Geek populations? How does it transition to new, harsher environments? This study hopes to answer these mysteries surrounding the Geek species.
- Identify subspecies – The few adult Geeks this researcher has observed in the wild seemed to have developed into unique subsets and groupings such as the board gamer, otaku, and comic book fan. This survey hopes to track the development of a group into maturity and track their development into a subspecies.
Time and resources were limited for this first phase of observation. With a three year time limit and a dining plan, I entered a state university with a mission.
Part I Failures:
Initial scouting expeditions to the union arcade proved unfruitful. Here isolated males were absorbed in repetitive rituals. Attempts to participate in the environment were met with posturing and aggression by Geek males. Anecdotal experience suggests researcher’s gender may be inhibiting factor.
Attendance of fencing lesson also met with failure. Researcher repeatedly met with comment, “There can be only one,” and threats of decapitation. This was a strange threat as a foil is an inadequate tool for the task.
Conclusion: While Geeks easily were found participating in activities, suggestion of competition and violence were not conducive to finding community and trust.
Part II Successes:
Further scouting of the campus environment produced territorial markings that would prove to be a viable lead. The breakthrough came in the form of a flier giving clear instructions for the attendance of an anime club. Finally a location, date, and time to encounter an unadulterated geek community.
Anthropological theory suggests that the art and images created by a society reflect its culture, ideals, and aspirations. Study of the flier revealed this group of Geeks valued ample mammary glands and foreign, almost futuristic machinery. Was acceptance possible without possession of engineering skills or a skintight vinyl body suit? Would the encounter be hostile? All these difficulties needed to be overcome to study the Geek in its uncorrupted territory.
The initial encounter in the sterile classroom setting told little of the native environments of this group of Geeks. Population consisted of 5-10 males between the ages of 18-21. It was a herd of young bachelors amiable to observation and only exhibiting mild bravado in the researcher’s presence. After the viewing of films, much to this researcher’s surprise and delight, the herd retired to a private lair to participate in an arcane and somewhat mysterious game involving dice and mathematical calculations.
The goal of the game was to hit an imaginary number called zero. Success: A tentative bond of trust was established and research on the secretive development of the Geek could really begin. The following observations were gained over the next three years of daily observation logs.
Geek Pack Members
As stated before, the Geek herd was all young males between the ages of 18-21. Each was preparing for a future outside of the university habitat by studying skills that would help it adapt to a foreign environment. Peculiarly, the focuses were on medicine, law, and business. These disciplines are perhaps some of the most alien and uncompromising to natural behaviors exhibited by the Geek. In retrospect, I believe this should have been a clue to the researcher as to the subspecies of Geek with which I was dealing.
Activities and Behaviors
This particular group of Geeks did not specialize in one activity. Their adolescent curiosity allowed for the exploration of different types of Geek behavior without judgment by their peers. Activities included but were not limited to anime and related manga, videogames, including the occasional foreign import, Dungeons & Dragons game play, as well as the consumption of related D&D materials such as novels. The group’s interests ranged widely from plumbing the depths of the fantasy genre to idolizing giant robots.
The lairs of group members shared certain habitat features. The walls were adorned with scrolls of semi-translucent material depicting caricatures of large-breasted females from various Japanese media. Bookshelves were inevitably packed with brightly-colored paperbacks bearing titles in archaic-looking fonts as well as large game manuals detailing arcane rules and exotic locales. The area below the television set was a snarl of cables from VCRs and game consoles.
At the beginning of the three-year observation period, the Geeks’ social interactions remained primarily fixed within the bachelor herd. The insular interactions were broken by occasional forays to public shopping aggregates to observe females of different species. These produced no more results than the purchase of cinnamon-flavored pastries from an admired female.
Slowly, the maturation process became more apparent. The third year, a fertile female was introduced into the group, and one of the bachelors broke away to begin a relationship with a female from a different ecosystem. It was the first step in the dissolution of the bachelor herd.
Conclusion: At these early stages, the identity of the bachelor Geeks was fluid. By studying their activities and habitats I was able to identify them positively as Geeks, but how they would develop as a subspecies was still unclear at this time.
Revisiting the Subjects and Current Survey
At the end of the research period in the wilds of the university habitat, dissolution of the bachelor tribe seemed inevitable. With the initial report filed, observation of the Geek herd was suspended for approximately ten years. Members were tracked but left alone to develop. Observation resumed when location and funding permitted.
Though the bachelor group had splintered as each member took a mate and pursued a career, the original members had formed a loose-knit network and maintained communications via electronic means. Reintroduction occurred at a new annual ritual known as “Field Day.” It was a mixed gathering of Geeks and non-Geeks. The Geeks emulated the alien non-Geek culture with such accuracy that all earlier observation seemed invalid. During this new ritual, the Geeks grilled meats, consumed grain-based alcoholic beverages, and participated in group-based physical sports. Was the Geek form simply a larval stage whose last vestiges were cast aside at maturity? This would explain the rapid decline of Geeks outside of the university habitat. Further observations were needed.
Geek Pack Members
The Geek pack members have reached physical maturity, substituting adolescent gawkiness with the full body of adulthood. Each has paired off with a mate outside of the Geek ecosystem to form a family unit. The careers pursued by the pack are not those traditionally associated with Geeks such as IT. The camouflage of suits and polo shirts further masked any physical manifestation of Geek characteristics. The carefully-constructed appearance of each individual confuses identification.
Activities and Behaviors
Behavior and activities reveal that the subject group are still indeed Geeks, however their Geek behavior has been severely limited by familial and work obligations, as well as the need to participate in activities that reinforce the elaborate subterfuge they have created to disguise their true identities. Whenever one Geek encounters another there is always a wistful lament to participate in the activity of Dungeon & Dragons.
At first glace, it appears the mature Geek has completely let his mate subsume the entire living environment. Closer inspection reveals a usually small, out-of-the-way hole the Geek has been allowed to furnish to his tastes. In this room, where the door is always kept closed, the Geek will store his manga, videogame consoles, and sword collections. This environment is only accessible to the Geek and trusted confidants.
A mature Geek’s constant subterfuge creates a tension close to paranoid schizophrenia. Any person that might endanger the Geek’s cover and expose their true identity to the larger world is met with violent chastising. The Geek goes to great lengths to hide its Geekiness. Code words and catchphrases have been developed among the tribe to communicate in hostile environments. Example: “I want to roll the bones” indicates a desire to use the dice associated with certain role playing games.
In the beginning of this survey I posed the following questions: Where are the successful Geeks? Where are the married, home-owning, financially secure representations? Through my years of observation I have confirmed their existence in the wild, though their chameleon-like nature has given them a near-mythical status.
In conclusion, the report finds that for self-preservation, many Geeks approaching middle age have taken on adaptations to disguise themselves in the larger and more hostile climes outside of the university. These misunderstood Geeks have not been destroyed as originally speculated, but instead thrive hidden in plain sight. Their lives are a precarious balance. It saddens me to see such a noble creature living in fear and shame, as if its existence alone was cause for ridicule and scorn. These brave men and women have made successes out of their lives despite hiding their true coloring. My only hope is that in time, they will be able to live openly and proudly proclaim, “Hand me the dice!”
Amanda Yesilbas is a respectable professional, with respectable friends, and no dubious hobbies, and she is sticking to that story.