over 2 million geeks served since 02.01.2003

innergeek and the geek test in the printed news


Featured on the front page of the "Living" section of The Tennesseean in an article by Nicole Garton, entitled "GEEKS RULE!"

click to read page 1 of -geeks rule-  click to read page 2 of -geeks rule-
click on the thumbnails to view the articles full size.


Featured in a newspaper article by Casandra Andrews in Alabama's Mobile Register. Unfortunately, I could not get in touch with her before the story went to print. There is just a reference to the elusive "Vetters." The text of the article is shown here with permission from the author.

"A new breed of nerd may be paving the way for the more awkward among us"

If you've ever been dumped at a "Star Trek" convention, hosted a LAN gaming party or kicked butt at Trivial Pursuit so many times that friends refuse to take out a board in your presence, chances are you might be a geek.

Stop rolling your eyes and sighing. You're in good company. There's Microsoft mogul Bill Gates, after all, and others, like actors Woody Allen and the ever-quirky John Cusack, who make being slightly odd seem cool.

For those unsure of their spot in the social pecking order, there's a quiz floating around online that has math club members and gamers alike clicking hundreds of tiny boxes in the hopes of rising to geek god status.

In recent weeks the site was logging several thousand hits a day, according to its webmaster. To take the quiz in its entirety, go to www.innergeek.us/geek.html. The query offers several hundred questions that cover everything from writing fan fiction to joining Mensa to the finer points of Linux.

At the end, those who complete the test can click on a "rank my geekiness" button to learn their score, which is, of course, carried out to the fifth decimal point. Those who score highest can join a Geek Hall of Fame.

Most of us aren't worthy.

The quiz was created by a webmaster who uses the name Vetters. The site keeper did not immediately respond to an e-mail query about the quiz.

Despite its mysterious origins, The Geek Test and its subsequent popularity seem to be proof positive of the emerging status of geeks in mainstream society.

"Back in the '80s, a geek was a term you didn't want to be associated with," said Jeffrey Welford, 22, who works at Game Stop at Colonial Mall Bel Air in Mobile. "Now, it's cool to be a computer geek because it means you know a lot about it."

Joel Scott, 28, who would only admit to being a part-time geek, agreed that being thought of as uncool has its advantages.

"When you hit the real world you were smart enough to make it," Scott said. "The people who called you a geek are looking at you now, and saying things like 'Man, he's got a Lexus.' Bill Gates. Look at him. He's an idol. God of all geeks."

Derrick Purifoy, a senior sales associate at RadioShack in Mobile, said staying abreast of technological advances is mandatory in today's high-tech world.

"I think it's cool to be a computer and electronics geek because you have to know about computers and electronics just to make it," he said.

Despite his convictions, Purifoy, who's been working at RadioShack for four years, described himself as a "borderline geek."

For decades, movies like "Revenge of the Nerds," "Real Genius," "The Breakfast Club" and even "American Pie" have introduced into popular culture awkward teens who take on the cool kids and emerge victorious.

A few summers ago, Drew Barrymore portrayed a nerdish newspaper copy editor who was assigned to go undercover and infiltrate the cool high school clique in the romantic comedy "Never Been Kissed."

Barrymore's character had to enlist the help of her popular brother to pull off the scam. In the end, she got her kiss and the cool kids looked like superficial losers covered in canned dog food.

Score one for the smart kids.

Proof that geeks are groovy isn't just at the movies. The signs are everywhere.

A keyword search on Google reveals hundreds of Web sites with names like Girlgeeks.org, Geeklife.com and Proudnerd.com. Serious-looking teens can be spotted almost daily hunched over chessboards in local coffee shops, clicking electronic score keepers after every move.

Shirts and shorts and lunch boxes emblazoned with big letters that say things like "Keep on Geekin'" litter Web sites. Then, there's the proliferation of webzines, hypertext fiction and conventions for gamers.

There's even a "Sexiest Geek Alive" contest held annually in Texas.

Beth Burgess, 23, of Mobile, theorizes that geek stock may be rising because of a bohemian backlash. "It might have to do with the nonconformists," she said. "For a long time there was this whole thing where we all had to be the same as everybody else. If you weren't, you weren't cool in your rebellion. Now everybody feels like they can be different."

Despite the groundswell of all things geek, not everyone is convinced that it's hip to be square.

Kramer Wells, 27, a second-year medical student at the University of South Alabama, took the geek test this week. A friend told him about it. Wells was shocked by his score. His friend wasn't.

Wells scored a 47.73176 percent, he said, which lumped him into the Super Geek category.

"This really surprises me," he said in an e-mail. "Although my score was supposedly in the top .07 percent of the population, I must be adamant and specific in denying any involvement whatsoever in 'Magick' or any role-playing games."

The Geek Test asks a myriad of questions about video and computer games. "I don't believe in wizards or dragons, I do not read adult comic books, and I have never worn shirts that say, "I AM A GEEK," "LINUX OR BUST," "Windoze is for luuuuusers," or anything else like that," Wells said. "I have a reputation to uphold, you know?"

To be clear, Wells said, he's never attended a Star Trek event, or worn a form-fitting shirt with a boomerang on the breast.

Not that there would be anything wrong with that.

"I am flattered by the suggestion that nerdy is chic," he said, "and that it's cool to be a dork, but I am not convinced. I know that there are going to be those that try and say, 'Well what about Bill Gates? He's a geek and he's the richest man in history.'"

Wells, who may be bordering on bitter, isn't buying that logic for a second.

"The question here is not over money or power or shrewd business decisions or anything else," he said. "It's quite simply 'Who can beat up who,' and 'Can you get the chicks?' Even in the adult world.

"If you don't believe me then just ask Screech from 'Saved by the Bell.' I'll bet he's all grown up now. And I'm sure that he would gladly trade places with Brett Favre or Antonio Banderas or Kid Rock any day. Why? Because there are no girls outside waiting to get on the tour bus at the World Star Trek Convention."

If you would like to interview me or include innergeek.us in your publication (printed or online), please contact Yvette Beaudoin (geekmaster@innergeek.us).