Embracing My Inner Geek, 30 Years Later


The girls and I were out for a morning run recently, sharing stories about silly high school antics, like the time 30 years ago in marching band when my girlfriend Michelle, a “letter girl,” dropped the big, wooden letter “A” on her toe and broke it (her toe, not the letter). “Oh,” I exclaimed breathlessly, “we were such geeks!”

Sylvia cheerfully replied, “You’re still a geek,” making Anna and me giggle. Runners are so refreshingly honest, especially in the early morning darkness! That’s alright. At the ripe age of (you do the math), I am a-okay with whatever it is that I was back in the 80’s…and I’m even ok with where I am now, too (which I’m pretty sure would be still be characterized as some type of geek).

It wasn’t until we’d been married several years that Darren mentioned in passing that I was a band geek in school. That’s odd. I’d never even heard that phrase before. Huh. Well, that was a lot of years ago, though, and since then I’ve heard the phrase many times over. And I’ve learned something. The simple fact that I’d never heard “band geek” in high school and even the first few years following, may be evidence that I was, perhaps, said geek. Sigh.

But now, looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Whatever you call it, we were loving life. We kicked off each marching band season with summer evening band camp on the football field (oh, before you ask: clarinet). In our off time, we invented “Beatles Rock Band” before video games were the rage, just by putting Sgt. Pepper’s on the record player, using tennis rackets as guitars, and singing in front of the dresser mirror in my bedroom. Our Halloween costume sleepovers were the best, as were the gatherings of the B-of-A (I wish I could tell you what that stands for, but as a professional adult, it’s not in my best interest. I can say it was harmless and oh so silly.).

My “geek” world flipped as the years passed, and not long ago I found myself actually working to convince a friend that I am, indeed, a band geek at heart! Broken Toe Michelle and I were talking (yes, we’re still buddies!) and the topic turned to our kids’ high school and the marching band. I asked Michelle “how are my favorite geeks doing?” and a protective (and insulted) band mom overheard and came at me like a protective lioness. “Wait, really, these are my people, I’m one of them!” I exclaimed.

Bottom line is, it’s not bad to be a geek! Wikipedia defines Geek as originally meaning someone who is “non-mainstream,” but currently meaning a person who is an “expert or enthusiast…obsessed with a hobby or intellectual pursuit…” Well alright then, I like that! Band might not be my thing anymore, but I will continue to proudly geek-out on running and yoga and hiking and writing and whatever else brings me joy and a feeling of peace, community and friendship.

I count myself lucky to have so many geek-friends on this ride with me!


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