Local newspaper columnist, Todd Dorman, of the Cedar Rapids Gazette wrote recently about his family’s trip from Iowa to Florida, passing through the Civil War hotbeds of Atlanta, Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain.  Being a self described “history geek”, Todd lamented that his family’s trip through such places hadn’t produced the kind of time that he would have liked to have spent at such places given their importance to our country’s history, but instead, like most vacations was spent driving as far as possible in a limited amount of time.  This brings me to two questions:

1.     What is the difference between a geek, nerd and dweeb?  Self admittedly I’m somewhat of a “history geek” myself, but how did I become this way and am I fairly, or unfairly, lumped in with the nerds and dweebs?  Are there different levels of “geekdom”, a “scoring or ranking system” of some kind that I should know about?  Is this any different than being a “fan” of something?  I can be a fan of a particular sports team, but when does “being a fan” cross the line into “geekiness”?  I know a nerd when I see a nerd.  I know nerds.  I’m friends with nerds.  Nerds have bailed me out of many sticky situations with my computer (the I.T. department is rife with nerds).  Here’s how you spot a nerd, plan a grill out this summer and invite some suspected nerds over.  The ones who show up wearing shorts, socks, and sandals and still have their pocket protector in their shirt pocket (you never know when a guy is going to need eight ball point pens)…those are your nerds.  Sweet people.  My kind of people.  Geeks, well there’s a whole other criteria for that, you see…they blend in.  As mentioned before…I’m a geek, and for a variety of reasons…which I won’t disclose here, but I don’t wear socks and sandals at the same time.

2.     This brings me to my second question…why don’t the geeks & nerds of today band together for a kick ass road trip?  History geeks, NASA nerds,  etc, you know who you are!  Find around three or four guys like yourself and plan a road trip to some Civil War sites, or to Cape Canaveral or Canton Ohio for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Just you and a handful of other like-minded men who can share in the driving, planning and expense of the trip.  You could plan your stops around BBQ joints that have been featured on the FOOD Channel, and little roadside diners that have fresh homemade pie everyday, and when you saw a place that looked cool…you’d STOP and get out and investigate.  No more “we can’t stop there because we gotta be at Disney World tomorrow” or “okay…the kids want to eat at McDonald’s…again” but rather, with your “geek brothers” you’d hear “GUYS!!  There was a billboard back there that advertised a “discount fireworks barn and FRESH PIE EMPORIUM!!!  WE GOTTA STOP AT THAT!!”  Or…”we’ve had BBQ & seafood and at least twelve different kinds of fresh pie in the last three days for every meal.  This has been the BEST VACATION EVER!!”  Why haven’t we done this?  It probably has something to do with our family, spouse, amount of time and money available, but what if?  Ask your geek friends.  Ask your wife. She might just say…”Fine Richard, you can go…just don’t forget your cholesterol medicine and pocket protector.”

Yes, a “geek”…a geek indeed.