The Geek Handbook, by New Yorker Mikki Halpin, is essential to understanding the geek in your life.

A geek herself, with many geeks in her life, Mikki has developed the handbook through many years of personal study. It is very amusing, and frighteningly accurate at times.

Chapter One – Getting Started:

This chapter includes the user manual for the book; a brief disclaimer noting that the phrase “your geek” does not actually mean you own them, but simply refers to the geek in your life; a brief check to find out if you have a geek; and a rundown of the various types of geeks to be found.

Chapter Two – The Basics:

Understanding your geek; communicating with your geek; a brief geek history; and how to train your geek to perform complicated tasks. Not as patronising as it sounds. Geeks need a lot of time on their own (usually with their computer), and often (not always) have self-esteem problems. Anyone who “has” a geek needs to learn to work with this.

Chapter Three – Maintenance:

Nutrition for your geek, common geek bugs and fixes; your geek and soda; how to tell if your geek is nocturnal (aren’t they all?); and my personal favourite – encouraging your geek to exercise with Klingon martial arts!

Chapter Four – Living in a Geek World:

Geeks and money, children, the future….Geek values. “Geeks believe in infinite networks populated by trap doors and Easter eggs. Success is a matter of brainpower.”

While The Geek Handbook is comedy, and is meant to be so, it does provide useful insights. Example. Chatting (online, of course) to one of my favourite geeks (not my geek, mine is only a semi-geek. Quasi-geek. The diet coke of geek) and said geek brought up a topic that I did not want to deal with. How to change the subject? What does the Geek Handbook say? A-HA. Geeks can’t resist the challenge of de-bugging something or making you understand when you don’t fully grok a subject. The next ICQ line ran:

Taliesin's Muse (12:15 AM) :
BJ, can you explain how my modem works?

Bingo. 1.5 hours of discussion on modems, converting from base 10 to base 2, and ASCII characters. Scary topic completely avoided, new stuff learned, a good time had by all: experiment 100% success. Thankyou, Geek Handbook.

Acknowledgements: “The Geek Handbook” by Michelle Halpin, published by Pocket Books, 2000. Available from Think Geek.

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