Party Geek - Revised

As the holidays draw ever closer, and friends and families are getting together to celebrate, I'm reminded of that oh so universal truth in the world, that is most easily started as thus, "Don't invite a geek to your party. Ever!"

This is a huge mistake. Now don't misunderstand me here, my people are fun and exciting in our own way. When we all get together in groups it's great. I can talk for an hour about my Cisco topology with other network geeks, or play Apple fan boy bash with the best of them. Around other geeks, who know the joys of the D&D 3.5 rule set, or why Super Mutants have taken over the DC wastelands I totally fit it. All I'm saying is, generally we don't mingle well outside our own social structures. Keep the tigers with the tigers and the geeks with the geeks.

When taken outside of the familiar and placed into a world of the unknown, where sports take center stage over technology, we tend to feel a bit lost. Yesterday I stood in awe as three grown men reminisced about a certain baseball pitcher and a game where no one even got a hit. Can you image nine innings of that?! These blokes seemed downright enthralled, and talked about the man as fondly as their own kin.

Most geeks are introverts, and in this situation would just stand there, looking lost. Not me, I'm always lost, but that doesn't stop me from joining in. As the majority of my friends are sports guys, over the years I've picked up some sportish lingo that really helps. I still have no clue what anyone is talking about, but I do try. Though I have been known to bomb, usually in an epic way. I'm reminded of a recent flop.

“Hey did you watch Nascar last night?” The well adjusted clerk asks.
“Naw... who was playing?” I respond. My wife lets out a groan and I realize this isn’t correct.
“I mean... Are you a gear head?” I try and bluff him.
“Never mind... you want paper or plastic?”

At parties I’m a geek in hiding. That is no small feat. It’s like try to hide an elephant up your sleeve. Mostly my friends are not geeks, so over the years I've tried to fit in. Here's my short primer for any geeks who may find themselves in similar party predicaments.

For the geeks, here are a few party pointers I’ve picked up.
  • Don't Panic!

  • During introductions, use your real name, not your web handle.

  • Noboy gets our humor. Save xkcd for a more receptive group.

  • Don't pull out the flat panel to check if it's cabled properly. Wait till you're asked.

  • Don’t talk to your smartphone

  • When peoples eyes start to glass over, it time to move on to the next victim...err..guest

Regardless of how well you hide your true nature someone will ask if, "everything is okay?"

  • Always have some excuse for your behavior
    1. I didn't get any sleep
    2. I need more Mt. Dew
    3. I forgot to save my level 50 barbarian last night before the computer crashed.

  • When someone says:
    “So what have you been up to?”

    Talk about movies, horses or taxicabs.Talk about hammers, canoes or coffee. Just don’t explain how you hooked up your new PCI Express video card last night and ran a polygon test, this never gets the awe and reverence you would expect.

  • “What did you think of the game?”

    This means you have once again missed out on a sporting event. I find the best choice is to let them do the talking. Try something like "Can you believe that score?" or "What were they thinking?" I find these questions work great for 90% of sporting events. You can fain thirst and head back to the punch bowl during the response.

  • Just remember have fun, and try not to be yourself.


Tony said...

Hmm. I tend to prefer being myself, and if anyone has a problem with that, it ain't my problem.

...I don't go to parties much.

(I'll leave out my replies to those usual small talk question. I am slightly concerned that should I ever be locked into a room with a bunch of normal people, in our contemporary culture of fear of everything they might end up calling for a SWAT raid in thirty minutes flat. But that's okay. Thirty minutes in a room full of normal people would probably sap my will to live anyway.)

Anonymous said...

Useful stock answer for sports: Them: "Did you catch X?" You: "Nah, I missed it - how was it?" If they're asking they have something in mind. Just let them talk it out.