Mom, don’t read this. 🙂
Last night I went to the book reading for She’s Such a Geek. I bought two copies, one for me, one for Mom. Both Mom and I tested out of math in college (although she tested out of the harder class). Mom went on to the sciences. I went on to technology by way of massive liberal arts degrees, so I’m always the stranger in the strange land.
Caveat: I have not read it. I can’t vouch for how good the book is, but what I like is both that I get to buy these kinds of presents for my mom – not generic pink roses, not fake white pearls – but ones that celebrate her brain and the choices she made that were for the most part harder than for women seeking to be doctors today. Dad’s sorta more the classic nerd, we’d sit up watching Dr. Who on the weekends or I’d steal his ancient science fiction books that cost like 55c when he was in high school. But Mom was the one who embraced the Internet most and now is the one who steals the Terry Pratchetts back from Dad.
Anyway, I don’t mean to embarrass the parents but mostly to comment on what I think is healthy change, both for the gender roles switching (HEY, WHY CAN’T GIRLS BE GEEKS?) and the celebration of attention to detail. There are nerds of all types – people who love the details, the intricacies, the collectors’ items, the textures of going deep inside a topic. Wonks, nerds, geeks, “grinds” — in the dilettante age of the Internet where a company rises and falls in months, we need to take time to celebrate these folks who think deep, go deep, and stay deep in the intellectual waters. They make deals with those devils in the details and still have some soul left.
At the reading, a local geek girl read about how much she loved math, and all my high school calculus flashed before my eyes (I actually liked calculus and trig better than algebra). In reading her essay, she talked about her hands and arms shaking from adrenalin after the thrill of doing a math exam. She had fun with it, and she wanted the world to know. It was cool to watch. All the tiny details, the flexes of mental muscle in precise ways – we have to celebrate that quality because so much of the world nowadays is gloss and drang.
Drink deep everyone! Live it vivid! (And celebrate the moms!)