Your Inner Geek


Daniel Fosselman, Clarion Reporter

Bring out your lightsabers, character sheets, and game controllers because we’re getting into the nerdy going-ons of RB. Today’s feature geek is Geoff Geltner(d), a RB math teacher whom if you’ve already met, this choice of interview was not a surprise in the slightest. Geltner absolutely considers himself a nerd. He’s a math teacher, for goodness sake. He loves mathematics and that makes him nerdy, and that’s a good thing. But there’s certainly more to it than simply being a math teacher.

“My wife is a huge Star Trek fan, I am a giant live music fan. So ninety-five percent of what I listen to is live music, and a lot of my friends find that very weird, and I’m OK with that.” Geltner said. “I have a particular band that I consider myself extremely passionate about that I found in high school, and at one point even kind of followed around the country.”

Geltner has seen this band (he did not share the band’s name with me) 42 times, as well as seeing them in 17 different states and at one point 5 shows in 6 days. He’s even amassed a collection of over 700 gigabytes of just their music. He loves listening to all of their live shows because each of their shows is different.

“Some people think it’s obsessed, I just love how their music makes me feel, and going to shows with a couple of friends, as long as it’s something that’s not harmful, I don’t apologize for it.”

When he was asked about nerds and geeks and how society’s perception has changed of them, Geltner noted that first, he was hoping he would be asked this, and that since 30 years ago being a nerd appeared culturally awkward. Being a nerd meant being part of the smartest people in class, and that those people would only end up doing your taxes, and not socially popular once they were adults.

“Nowadays, the nerds are the ones that are extremely wealthy and are changing society and culture. If you look at the founder of almost any of these big companies these days, such as Steve Jobs, he was a nerd. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, he is a self-proclaimed nerd. Look at all of the people that started Uber, and Instagram, all those guys were people that loved school and technology and didn’t necessarily fit in when they were in middle school or high school. Now they’re billionares. They get to walk around in jeans and t-shirts and everyone wants their time, so I’d say they’re quite popular now.”

Being a nerd now doesn’t immediately make you a social outcast. People are much more open about who they are and what they like, no longer afraid that they’re “weird.” The internet is another large part of the “nerd revolution” because you can connect to many many more people that have the same passions and interests that you like. An example that Geltner gave, you may be the only person in your town that likes model trains, and now you can go on places like Reddit, which is a massive messageboard website and you will encounter others just like you. These things give us a sense of a community or almost its own culture.

Another thing Geltner mentioned was that he was a big fan of video games during the classic/retro era in which large pixels dominated the screens of homes around the world, but is no longer a fan of video games currently. It was only natural that he moved away from things like video games in order to become a math teacher. That doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy them sometimes, though. For example, he is having his six-year-old son play The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past with him. In one instance he described, the player encounters an enemy that moves between floors to the opposite one whenever the player switches. Therefore, in order to defeat the enemy, the player must fire a projectile on the lower floor and move to the upper floor quickly so the enemy gets hit by the projectile. This one instance teaches things like hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills.

And so I implore anyone reading who does not already consider themselves to be a geek or a nerd to ponder on themselves and their interests, and you may be surprised at what you find. If you have any kind of hobby that you really love and enjoy, something that you are all about, then you may just discover your inner geek.