I’ve been a geek all my life.

I’d like to clarify that I’m referring to the current definition of ‘geek’, as in “a socially awkward oddball who thinks too much”; not “a sideshow performer who bites the head off live chickens” (which was what the word meant when I was young).

I have never bitten, and with any luck will never bite, the head off a live animal of any sort.  Chocolate animals?  Oh hell yes!  Cooked animals?  Maybe… though I’d likely use a knife or cleaver or some other suitable implement instead of my teeth…


There I go again.  Over-thinking.  Over-clarifying.

Even as a child, I couldn’t grasp why people didn’t simply say what they meant.  When the teacher asked, “Does anyone know the answer?”, I never understood why she apparently stopped being able to see my wildly-waving hand after I’d answered the first few questions correctly.

When the other girls assured me, “Of course we’re still friends!” and then never spoke to me again, I just… didn’t get it.  There’s something to be said for being completely oblivious to social cues.  I thought I had lots of friends, and it was sheer coincidence that I never got invited to anything.

The rest of the world doesn’t understand that geeks take words at face value.  A classic geek joke goes like this:  A software engineer was found dead of starvation in his shower.  Preliminary investigation suggests that he was following the instructions on the shampoo bottle:  “Lather, rinse, repeat.”

This joke is funny and sad on two levels:  1) You have to be a bit of geek to get it; and 2) If you are a bit of a geek, there’s probably some small part of you that’s thinking, “You know, that makes perfect sense…”

Another diabolical geek trap is the phrase casually bandied about by normal human beings:  “Suggestions are welcome”.

Hint for the geeks in the audience:  No.  No, they’re not.  One suggestion is welcome.  Maybe two, tops.  If it’s your personal responsibility to resolve the issues, you might be allowed three suggestions.  Presenting twenty pages of closely-spaced bullet points will only end in annoyance for you when you realize that your listeners’ eyes glazed over after the first two points and their minds are now fully occupied by desperate escape plans.

Another hint for geeks:  If your listener is gripping a letter opener with whitening knuckles, it’s time for you to leave.  Lingering to make sure they grasped the subtle nuances of item will only result in bloodshed; and that gets awkward for everybody.  For one thing, stab wounds hurt.  For another, if your listener decides to commit hara-kiri instead of attacking you, it’s very difficult to explain to the police.  (Don’t ask how I know these things.)

Anyway, after 50-odd… okay; very odd years, I honestly thought I had this stuff all figured out.  (Note:  All geeks think this.  They’re always wrong.)

But then I went for physiotherapy a few years ago.  The physiotherapist said, “Keep your legs straight and touch your toes.”  So I did.  It hurt like a bitch.  But she hadn’t said, “… and tell me if it hurts”, so I didn’t mention it.  I threw away a lot of money on physiotherapy before I grasped that little detail.

But I’ve got it all figured out now.  Really, I do…

* * *

P.S. Book 13, “Once Burned, Twice Spy” is now available for pre-order at all retailers (click here for links)… except, for some unknown reason, the Amazon international sites. is up, but none of the other countries are showing the listing.  Grrr!  I’ve submitted a trouble ticket to Amazon and hope to have the problem resolved shortly.  To everyone who received the pre-order announcement and can’t buy from the Amazon of their choice:  I’m sorry about this.  I’ll send an updated announcement as soon as the pre-orders are up in all countries.

34 thoughts on “Geek-Speak

  1. I never have any suggestions to make, so my chances of over-explaining are already at zero, but I hear your pain!

    But the odd time I’ve been responsible for communicating something to people via the written word, I’ve been confounded and highly irritated that NOBODY READS STUFF. Well, don’t ask me to write stuff, then 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was hilarious. Although I wouldn’t classify myself as a geek, trust me when I say my physio definitely monies when something hurts, I would venture to say my engineer husband tends to the geek side. So I’ve witnessed some close up and personal geek demonstrations.
    Sorry to hear that Amazon is giving you grief. Technology can induce a serious case of eye twitching.


    • Yes, and since my eye was already twitching before this issue with Amazon, I’m now in danger of developing a whole-body twitch. It’s not a good look for me. Just sayin’… 😉


  3. It feels wonderful to finally get things worked out, does it not? I mean, when we–at long, long last–have figured it all out…*sigh*…then we can take the rest of our life off, so to speak, from all the angst and second-guessing and even self-recriminations.

    Gad, what a relief!

    Or so I’ve heard. Let me know how all that works out for you, okay? 🙂

    And I’m all pre-ordered and have my calendar marked for the anxiously-awaited arrival of Book THIRTEEN!! (And I’m still trying to get Book 1 out the door!) You THO rock, thithta!


    • Thankth! And don’t worry, Book 1 will go out the door when it’s ready. Some things are best not rushed. 🙂

      And about the whole ‘figured it out’ thing? Yeah, I’ll let you know about that. I just caught myself handing out an unsolicited 20-page document the other day…

      Liked by 1 person

        • Twenty is a bit of an exaggeration. I was asked to take over the webmaster’s job for one of the non-profits I’ve joined, and I found myself diving into their executive meeting with pages of questions about their goals for the website, and pages of ideas about how to make it all happen. Turns out they weren’t expecting that much of a takeover. (And this is how I know about the letter-opener scenario…)

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yep, understood. I’ve had to ask myself, “Just how much help do these people really want?” a time or two as well. And more than once after a quiet bit of introspection, the answer was, “None, or at least not from me.” Yep, understood.


            • I think they do actually want me to do it, and now that they’ve had a chance to adjust they’ve been quite receptive and eager to see it happen; but they just weren’t quite expecting my nuclear-holocaust approach. As my mom used to tell me when I was kid, “Try not to be so fierce.” I keep forgetting that I scare normal people…

              Liked by 1 person

  4. It Find it fascinating, the regional differences in slang terms(like your post about the “fanny pack, lol). I’m about the same age but from more than a little south of the border from you. Growing up here, someone who bit off heads and such would have been called a freak. A geek would have been someone who was obsesssive about something, like technology or movies, and pretty much spoke only to their chosen topic. And the mostly loveable, hopelessly socially inept person was a nerd. Being in one group didn’t necessarily preclude you from being part of another group. I, for example, was a nerd who became a geek so I could talk about at least one topic with some intelligence so as to hopefully avoid ridicule, lol. Only worked with one or two people who were the same “flavor” of geek, but I was then a party of more than one so it was a victory in my mind. 😁.
    I’ve just finished re-reading 1-12, preordered #13, and am “geeking out” until its release!! Thank you!!


    • It’s so cool that you’ve re-read the whole series! *does happy dance* 😀

      We have a similar distinction between geeks and nerds, and I guess ‘freak’ would have been used to describe circus performers back in the day here, too. “Geeking out” is a great expression! I try not to geek out too often or too long about my various passions… unless I’m with geeks of a similar flavour. Then, look out! 😉


  5. I once got into a lot of trouble in class when the teacher said, “Does anyone know the answer?” She called on me and I replied, “A number of people in class know the answer.” The conversation degraded from there and I was invited to speak with the principle. Me and school never got along.


  6. I too am a bit of a geek which is why I love to read as it keeps me out of trouble. Book 13 is on order and I am rereading (again) and have got to book 11 . I love Hellhound but would run a mile if I ever saw him .
    Keep up the good work.


    • Thanks, Donna! I’m pumped that you’re re-reading the series – that makes my day! And I’d probably hurry away to some critical appointment I’d only just recalled if I saw Hellhound in person, too. Just in case…


  7. I try to keep my geek side hidden because I have learned how to respond to situations in a totally “normal” manner. However, I am doing things your way inside my head and because of THAT I sometimes laugh inappropriately. Yes, the geek part oozes out around the edges because it is overfull and is not totally containable. The struggle is constant and while I know what society expects from me, it is still difficult to keep up the front. I have had some success at this as is shown by my ability to stay out of prison or other restrictive institutions. So far. Mostly.


    • Now I’m laughing! (Is that appropriate or inappropriate?) And I’m embarrassed to admit that I just got caught out on the “suggestions welcome” thing last week. Again. When will I learn?

      And hey, “mostly” is pretty damn good. Even Babe Ruth only batted .342! (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)


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