July 5, 2008

Doctor Drags Me Out of Geek Closet

By Brian McIver

FORGET the Wimbledon finals, the first day of T in the Park or even the opening weekend of Indiana Jones, because this is the biggest night of my year.

It's the big season finale of Doctor Who and I am as excited as George Bush at a tractor pull.

That's because I have a confession to make - my name is Brian and I am a closet geek.

I love comic books, science fiction (both kinds - Star Trek and Wars), my TV schedules are full of Heroes, Buffy and Angel, my bookshelf is weighed down with Stephen King novels, and I get excited about any kind of nerdy popular science, from StephenHawking to Tomorrow's World.

Surprised, my friends to hear this may be (Yoda rules) as I have not lived in my mum's spare room for almost 10 years, I spend hundreds of pounds a year watching my favourite football team, and am happily married to a woman I did not meet over theinternet.

I am just one of an entire generation of secret sci-fi nerds, forced into hiding because of social stereotypes like the Starfleet uniform-wearing convention weirdos, and the ultimate enemy of the closet nerd, Comic Book Guy in The Simpsons.

But while we can hide quite efficiently among you all, with the subtlety of a Klingon cloaking device, there are certain moments when my kind show our true colours to the public.

My wife discovered my secret nine years ago when we went to see Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and I spent the entire movie whimpering with delight, and almost wept when the first lightsaber was brandished in anger.

But, without inspecting our Sky+ planner or the history function of our Apple Macs, most normal people would never detect our presence.

We don't have Star Trek ringtones or Captain Kirk or Buffy posters on our walls, and I don't always quote Star Wars even when I Have a Bad Feeling About This.

So at the risk of incurring the Wrath of my fellow fans, here are the five best ways to spot a hidden nerd:

1. If the words "string theory" (a quantum physics phrase relating to parallel dimensions) elicit the same excitement as the words "string bikini".

2. If the subject has never quite mastered Fonzie-like finger clicking, but can do the Vulcan "live long and prosper" salute with ease.

3. If someone describes a hill walking trip as a kind of trek, the geek's pupils will dilate momentarily, before normalising as he realises it's to the mountains, not the stars.

3. If you have a baby with a geek and he suggests the following as possible middle names: Wolverine, Jean-Luc, Lando, Angel, Indiana or The Hutt. Or even worse, if they insist that your future child must have a first name that alternatively matches theirsurname, comic hero style, like Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, Clark Kent or Sue Storm.

4. If, when watching any of the recent Spider-Man films, your suspected geek starts commenting on the accuracy of the current shade of red of Kirsten Dunst's hair, as opposed to the figure hugging, low cut top, then you have a problem.

5. Ask the subject what his favourite Star Trek film is. It's areasonable question, as box office receipts suggest normal people watch them as well, and the most common answer among critics is Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan.

If he answers by pronouncing it Wrath of Khhhaaaannnnn! in an almighty wail, Captain Kirk style, he is anerd.

I do it. We can't help ourselves. And we think it's cool. And not weird. Honest.

You see, there's a reason we keep this kind of stuff to ourselves...

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