Giving back to Geek Nation

Day two for Speak Out With Your Geek Out. I promise to get back to the usual crankiness next week!

I’m sure there are people cheerfully geeking about Star Trek. Or BSG. Or the amazing shoes Abby gets to wear on NCIS (and we shall take a pause here for a moment of SRS!SHOE!LUSTINGS!)

But for me, part of being a geek is giving back to Geek Nation. And more than that, making it so others can do so as well.

Each of us has gotten so much from being a geek. Maybe it helped you not feel so isolated. Or gave you a creative outlet for your art or writing. Or maybe (as in my case), it helped you find somebody special with whom you can share your geekiness. So why not give back?

At the 2008 Dragon*Con in Atlanta, a friend and I were crossing the street back to our hotel. About 20 yards just outside the main lobby doors, a young man had a young woman backed up against the wall and was yelling at her quite loudly as she cringed away from him. It was obvious to anybody going in or out of the lobby.

Did any of the three dozen or more con attendees who walked right by this couple stop before we got there? No. Did one of them go over to ask the young woman if she needed help? Not a one. As it was, we stopped and asked her, and the guy slunk away.

This got me to thinking (dangerous at best). Why didn’t anybody else stop? Why did it take that many people walking by before somebody stepped up to say “Hey, do you need some help? Are you OK?”

It would be easy to say that geeks either are too self-absorbed or they just don’t care. And my cynical nature tends that direction. But in talking to other geeks out there, I got a very different answer. There is a sense that we are afraid to get involved. That we worry about if we have the right to step in if we are not “official.”

So why not find a way for us to give back to that Geek Nation we so dearly love and embrace? In my case, I got involved with the Backup Project. My way of doing so was to offer up con badge ribbons that were printed with the word “Backup” in large letters. It was, in essence, a way for people to signify that they wanted to help and would do so.

To date, I have given out more than a thousand ribbons. Stories have come back to me about “Backup” people helping to break up fights, escorting women to their hotels, distracting That Guy from obnoxiously hitting on women. And each and every one makes me proud to be a geek. To know that my fellow geeks do give a damn.

My point is that if you consider yourself a geek, if you are loud and proud about it, give some love back to your fellow geeks. You don’t need one of my ribbons to do so. You just need to care.

We are Geek Nation. We are here. We are not going away. Let us be excellent to each other. Hell, Abby would be right proud of you!

Peace, Out

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5 Responses to Giving back to Geek Nation

  1. Danicia says:

    I love you so much for this.

  2. anotheranon says:

    I love this idea. So much.

    And if I went to more cons, I’d WANT to be part of the Backup Team.


    I have a history of not standing up enough for myself, and fear I wouldn’t be any use if anyone needed someone to step in. I don’t want to wear a “backup” badge if I’m too weak to follow through 😦

    Any tips on learning not to be such a wimp?

  3. Lisa Harrigan says:

    Any time you want to give me a Backup Ribbon I will proudly wear it. I’m always helping out when I can.
    And anotheranon, you don’t learn not to be such a wimp, you make the decision not to be such a wimp. Do learn to be who you want to be and go for it. Yes, you Learn to Be Someone Else. Wear a Backup Ribbon and see if you can do some good somewhere. Go find a hobby, or a job, or something you enjoy and Enjoy It! And that wimp will disappear. Honest.

  4. Pingback: We are Geek Nation, and we back up each other! | Not Your Teachable Moment

  5. Pingback: Taking Back Our Fandom | Not Your Teachable Moment

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