published Friday, January 27th, 2012

Leber: Has anyone seen my 'I heart Geeks' T-shirt?

I have recently had a spaceship named after me. Not a real spaceship, mind you, but a computer spaceship on a "Star Trek" game my boyfriend likes playing in his limited spare time.

Somewhere, floating about the Internet, doing things I don't understand, is the USS Holly. The appropriate Twitter hashtag, I believe, is #girls whoarelovedbygeeks.

Yes, despite his reluctance to be labeled as such, my Joe is, indeed, quite the geek. Lest you be tempted to argue for his side, permit me to elaborate: "Star Wars," "Lord of the Rings," "Doctor Who," "Star Trek." The defense rests.

I do not share his affinity for fantasy and science fiction, those genres that are considered canonical to geekdom. Lucky for both of us, however, I seem to be drawn to people who do.

Yes. My name is Holly, and I'm a geek lover.

(Pause for you all to chorus back a greeting, support-group meeting style.)

My geek love goes beyond my romantic attachment and has for a long time. Some of my still-dear friends from college spent their time playing Dungeons and Dragons, collecting comic books and engaging in all things animé. My work spouse and several cherished members of my office family are geeks.

I can't trace the root of my affinity. I come from a line of less traditional geeks, people who "geek out" -- verb -- about things. Think of us along the same lines as the Care Bear Cousins. In my case, I might be qualified as a movie, theater or grammar geek, but not as a geek in the expected sense of the word.

"You're going to have to get her out of here," a comic-book shopkeeper told some friends of mine a few months back. "She's about to lose it."

And I'd thought I was playing it so cool. I even managed to chime in a few insights about why Betty was much better suited for Archie than Veronica. I remembered that stuff from something like 20 years back. The guy saw right through me.

At first shake, my predilection toward people who consider "live long and prosper" to be as viable a wish as "best of luck" is not wholly obvious.

Here's the thing about geeks: As a general rule, they're really goodhearted people. Yes, I know some who can be irritating or annoying or who have a hint of social ineptitude at times (this might put them just a shade in the nerd category), but I don't recall ever meeting a malicious geek.

To the contrary, the geeks in my life have always been sweet, smart, funny, sometimes infuriating, but ultimately lovely people to whom I find myself most endeared.

Incidentally, the traditional definition of the word is a sideshow performer who bites the heads off of live chickens. Fortunately, I don't know anyone who has done that.

I was, however, once asked out on a date by a boy who ate paper.

But that's a whole other story.

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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