I was a nerd, a geek, whatever you want to call it, in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s. In case you are unaware, this was WAY back before it was cool and—ugh—chic to be labeled as such. It was just a different time. The Internet was still in its infancy, with ultra-laggy, dial-up services like Prodigy and CompuServe connecting you to, well, other nerds who had figured out how to properly network their machines. Conventions were still held in impersonal, cramped hotel meeting facilities, instead of sprawling, impersonal convention centers. Anime was something that you bought bootleg copies of—on VHS, no less—for $30 a pop at independent stores that weren’t exactly specializing in it.
I could go on and on. That’s what we old people do.
My point is that, back then, geeks longed for something to which to belong, as that is what society—parents, teachers, popular culture—instilled in us. Plus, for most of us, it’s just plain human nature to feel wanted somewhere. To feel needed. To feel productive, even.
I’m not saying that today’s geeks are devoid of problems simply because our beloved comic book stories now earn zillions of box office dollars every month and conventions attract A-list celebrities and socialites who need to be reminded that Star Wars and Star Trek are two separate entities. We have plenty of issues, such as which former high school athlete is going to treat our Mercedes at the car wash he has been stuck working at since graduation, AM I RIGHT, FELLOW OLDER GEEKS?!
Sorry. I got carried away.
Modern day geeks have plenty to worry about: careers, families, Joss Whedon, how they will be further misrepresented on The Big Bang Theory, you name it. One thing that they don’t have to worry about anymore—at least in my own personal experience—is finding somewhere that will accept them for being themselves. The opportunities to seek out those little corners of the world to connect with new friends are boundless: high school and college clubs, game nights at comic book stores, and a far better Internet, which has thankfully evolved beyond dial-up. Sports games may APPEAR to take all of the popularity by attracting tens of thousands of people to some stadium for 3-4 hours. Fan conventions attract those numbers for 3-4 straight DAYS. And there is an infinitely higher opportunity to see William Shatner at one.
And dear readers, Geekadelphia was such a place, too.
I began writing for this site in May of 2012, with a post about a Magic: The Gathering tournament taking place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. To be brutally honest, I didn’t think that I was going to be given the go-ahead to join the staff. By 2012, Geekadelphia had found its footing and was mastered by a team of super writers and super geeks, neither group of which I felt myself a part of at that point in time. That is one of the traits of a true geek: we tend to feel inadequate, even in our own circles. You’ve seen every episode of every Star Trek series? Pfft. That guy over there MEMORIZED every episode. And I certainly didn’t feel like I was a true writer, either, as my writing experience up to that point had been long-winded personal blogs. In fact, that aspect of my writing hasn’t gone anywhere yet. See, well, this post for proof. I need to work on that.
But nevertheless, Geekadelphia gave me a chance. Because that’s another trait that is true of most geeks: we are accepting. We welcome. It doesn’t matter how well-versed the other person is—or isn’t—in whatever it is that we’re taking an interest in. It just isn’t in our nature (except online) to shun others, for we know exactly what it feels like.
For the next five years, I have written countless articles for Geekadelphia, largely focusing on geeky events happening in and around the city. My little contributions to the site helped everyone from local scientists to convention runners to even comedians get a little extra publicity. I loved writing these pieces, especially when the subjects would tag me on Facebook with “special thanks.” I loved our annual April Fool’s Day coverage of ridiculously fictional happenings, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art hosting a rage comics and emoji exhibit. I loved meeting fellow Geekadelphians, however briefly, in person: Eric, Mikey, Allie, Jo Anna. Apologies to anyone I forgot. And I loved reading the great articles and reviews written by my fellow Geekadelphia family.
Geekadelphia may be going silent for the time being, but we geeks sure as hell aren’t. We are here to stay, and we will let you know it through events, contributions to the arts and sciences, and, if you deserve it, endless online trolling.
Thank you, everyone, for over a half-decade of your attention. It means more than you will ever know.