Steve Urkel and Me. [Bad grammar intentional]

If you google “geek nerd dork differentiation,” you get a forum post with this graphic as an explanation. I’m not sure I entirely agree, but it’s a good visualization.

This post stems from a dinner table conversation (and a LONG AGO conversation with Dan) in which I was trying to explain the distinction of these three personality traits to my mother, a person who decidedly fits into none of the above. I came up with:

DORK: awkard, socially inept, glasses from blindness not from programming or gaming into the early hours of the morning, silly, goofy, like a dunce cap except a little less embarrassing

NERD: all-around know it all or smarty-pants, generally intelligent, enjoys things like learning and school

GEEK: obsessive, extensive, specialized knowledge, the ability to talk about it for hours on end, not necessarily reserved to interests of the tech or sci-fi variety (e.g. beer geeks)

Urban Dictionary defines them in the following ways:




Now, there is a general subset of the population who have characteristics like these – there is also a subset that has none. The chasm is insurmountable. And if you have a little bit of dork in you, you also have some nerd and some geek. The question, then, is which are your predominant traits and the amounts to which each of these pervades your general behavior and social interaction. The more of any or all of these three you exude on a regular basis, the less likely you are to lead a “normal” social life with “normalized” human interaction.

How to know if you qualify as a part of this elite set:

If you have ever quoted Star Wars.

If you have ever quoted Star Trek.

If you have ever quoted Battlestar Galactica.

If you have ever quoted, seen, or are aware of the existence of Firefly.

If you read and, particularly, look forward to new releases from XKCD, Oatmeal, Doghouse Diaries, etc.

If you have ever quoted or tried to speak in a made-up language of the Lord of the Rings.

If you think Galaxy Quest is funny. At all. Seriously.

Probably, if you’ve gotten this far.

You have at least five tweets griping about some aspect of some programming or mark-up language.

You are a TERRIBLE dinner guest.

You care about Android operating system releases.

You know about varieties of things that some people think only exist as a single, general broad category (e.g. hops).

Your grammar is impeccable.

You actually think The Big Lebowski is funny, not just because someone told you it was. And you do what the Dude tells you to.

You’ve been to a convention. Ever. For anything.

You bring a computer to a bar, do some work with Facebook’s proprietary (and heinously annoying) mark-up language, and proceed to write this blog post.

[Shame face.]

Feel free to add to my list!


7 thoughts on “Steve Urkel and Me. [Bad grammar intentional]

  1. To quote Galaxy Quest…those poor people.

    The quote refers to Gilligan’s Island, but I prefer to apply it to all those who don’t think the film was funny.


  2. “Socially” and “inept” do not fit together. An aptitude can only exist in regards a tool.
    There is no good obsession. As soon as one realizes one is “sitting across” something, that is, thinking immovably, one is on notice to vacate the premises. Idolatry is a better term.
    Do I find any use for “intelligence”? This reminds me that I was troubled earlier today by the feeling that if I do not have something special to offer, the great pains I take to hold myself in readiness for social service is presumption. But it is a tested axiom that I have never met anybody less intelligent than me nor anybody more intelligent than me. What distinguishes people is candor. For that matter, when two candid people encounter each other, it is hard for the two of them to know where one leaves off and the other starts up.

  3. I don’t know how I feel about this post because I know that your source for making that list was “things that describe Dan.”

    My favorite:

    “A geek will fix your computer. A nerd could fix your computer, but would rather talk to you about it for an hour.”
    — Merlin Mann

  4. I wonder if, now that Ghadafi’s forces are asserting their (undoubted) professionalism and power advantage, and the uprising begun to show its final outlines (large cities resisting Ghadafi because he does not have the infantry to seize them, the rest of the country weighing the risk of ending up in Ghadafi’s torture chambers–rather a Warsaw-Ghetto scenario, isn’t it?), we could judge this incident to have been successfully contained by the Israel lobby?
    My question would be, what could possibly go wrong for Israel from here? Walk with me. From Morocco to Bahrain, if not to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, popular forces will see that “the West” has approved the use of government military force against them. And this is not the Boston Massacre where the military is far from home, under-equipped, its capital city distracted by matters of weight closer to hand (France, etc.): this, again, is more like the Warsaw Ghetto. So the enabler regimes around Israel will be bolstered. Perhaps even the Shiites of Lebanon, whom Noam Chomsky says took 53% of the popular vote in the recent election, will crawl back into their caves and let March 14 have their guns and allow the STL to take their leaders. Israel will have successfully transferred its robust demographic management technology to the neighboring territories. Will this victory cause the squawk about a Palestinian state to die away? Will in fact a new spring for Israeli democracy burst forth, confident that it will never lead to Palestinian enfranchisement? Will the oil markets rest content in the reestablished status quo ante bellum?
    If I am right to say that Israel not only sits on but consists of a contradiction, which has been exacerbated by times of national tension, will easing of tension ameliorate the contradiction, or will it, like a latent genetic trait expressed in a time of stress, refuse to dismantle itself and retire to its assigned slot in its chromosome but instead run riot? PTSD could be considered in that light. Once a brain has discovered the delights of flashbacks, emotional numbing, and hyper-arousal, what does it take to resume the peaceful life? It takes a revisiting of the original trauma, right? Will Israel ever choose to make that journey? Or is that precisely the contradiction that holds the Jewish state in being–historical blindness–the idea that there is no history, and thus nothing to get wrong and all in a bunch about? “I have had no trauma–I choose to replay past events, to be emotionally numb, and to be constantly in this state of hyper-arousal.”
    It could be said that I am trying to make the most of a bad thing–this crushing of the Arab spirit by tanks paid for with Western dollars and overlooked by Western F-18’s. But like the falling of the Berlin Wall allowed Israel to shine in its truer glory–operations in Lebanon, Cast Lead, the flotilla incident (where that teenager accidentally got shot in the head three times)–, the end of the threat of Arab populism will see–here is my prediction–Israel setting up the camps for the final solution. No irony intended. That’s the point–the lack of a sense of irony. If there is no history, there is no irony, no sense of anomaly.
    The common element in the various perjoratives you’ve studied here today is candor–all these labels refer to someone who mentions an inconvenient truth. The question is, can truth be successfully suppressed for long? As the Bible asks, “How long, how long?” I would agree with the answer that runs, “Not long.”
    Given Israel’s small size and few numbers, it is in the role of Ghadafi’s forces, lacking the infantry to control cities. It cannot retake this Warsaw Ghetto. It must either level it or let it go. Check the Dow at this hour.

  5. This assuredly qualifies me as ultimate nerd. My radical respelling of the name of the Libyan tyrant, inspired by a Wikipedia article, turns out to be wrong, because I did not in fact look closely at the Arabic spelling in the Wiki article. I saw what should have been there assuming that this world was created for my amusement.
    On the other hand, the revisiting of that site and reading of what is actually there is rewarded, the actual treasure being on the azimuth I walked and just another fifty feet onward. His name should be pronounced Kathafi, with both the K and the th said as hard as your Anglo-Saxon soul can render them. That “th” makes him rather a lispish sort of man, which may account for his love of violence.
    No psychiatric diagnosis is plausible if it entirely effaces human volition. And “pejorative” has no “r” in it.

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