Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's Geek Pride Day: Do you know where your towel is?

Today is a day of great significance to my people! It's Geek Pride Day, and I'm letting my geek flag fly. (Actually, it's more of a towel than a flag).

According to Wikipedia (note: I am not endorsing the use of Wikipedia in your research), Geek Pride Day started in 2006 to proclaim the right of every person to be a nerd or a geek. It is celebrated on May 25 in honor of the anniversary of Star Wars' premiere on May 25, 1977.

Coincidentally, it is also the date of another geek observance: Towel Day, in honor of the late author Douglas Adams. I still have a towel I bought specifically for the first Towel Day, held two weeks after the author's death in 2001. If you are wondering about the significance of the towel, it is my duty as a library assistant to direct you to Adams' book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, call number PR6051.D3352 H5 2004, located on the third floor of the Hill Freeman Library.

I remember very clearly reading this book for the first time. I was a freshman in high school. I was sitting at the top of a hill with my mother and a bunch of other moms, overlooking the field on which my brother and his teammates were having football practice. At 14, I was at pretty much prime-embarrassment age, and didn't want to call attention to myself in front of the adults. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stifle my giggles as I read. Or my chuckles and snorts. To my mortification, I occasionally laughed out loud, and when I read the line, "Ford, you're turning into a penguin. Stop it.", I laughed so hard I literally rolled down the hill. Douglas Adams robbed me of any dignity I had, and I am grateful for it.

Fans of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels also celebrate The Glorious 25th of May, a historical event observed in the books. Following the announcement of Pratchett's Alzheimer's diagnosis, fans have used this day to raise awareness of the disease and raise funds for Alzheimer's research. You can learn more about this initiative here.

Yes, I am a geek, but in a way, aren't we all? I'm sure every one of us has a geeky side, no matter how one may try to hide it. Maybe you don't dress up for comic book conventions or collect action figures, but you probably have your obsession. Maybe you're a devout sports fan and you follow every game, and you spout statistics at a moment's notice. Maybe your interest in history leads you to collect bits of trivia about the Ottoman Empire. Maybe you've gone to Civil War reenactments. You might be a sports geek, or a history geek, or a math geek or a science geek or a music geek. There's something that sparks your interest. So celebrate Geek Pride Day by respecting and enjoying your obsessions, whatever they may be.

And do check out the Hitchhiker's Guide. There's even a "guide to the guide" on eBrary. Check that out too. And thanks for all the fish.

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