“Hello, my name is Scott. I’m 42 and I’m a geek.”
It sounds like the beginning of an AA meeting, but with one difference; I don’t want to be anonymous. I wear my geekiness on the sleeve of everyone of my Better Call Saul or Shaun of the Dead t-shirts. I proudly post pics of my attendance at They Might Be Giants concerts, comic book conventions, or The Mads Are Backshows.
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about who inspired me to be the geek I am today. While commuting to work I asked myself, “Who would be on my geek Mount Rushmore…my Mount Geekmore?” I have to tell you, it was not an easy question to answer. Before I even began to think about my answers, I had to set some boundaries.
First, I decided that my Mount Geekmore would only consist of real people, living or dead. While He-Man, Spider-Man, Pac-Man, and Optimus Prime were important to my childhood, I figured if I expanded this endeavor to real and fictional characters, there would be 27,000 heads on my monument.
That having been decided, I began to think of real people that I believe had an impact on the world of geekiness, in general. After poring over these choices for hours, I decided that I needed to narrow down my selections even further. I realized that that I needed to decide who the four people were who have had an impact on different aspects of my life as a geek, not the entire world population of geeks. After some more brainstorming, I finally came up with the four gentlemen that would be carved into my monument to nerdiness. Remember, these are the four people who had the biggest impact on my geekiness; I realize that your selections will differ. We’ll get back to that after I’ve presented my selections.
For now, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…my Mount Geekmore.
Spot One, Technology: Bill Gates
This was a tough one. So many people have invented so many things that are important to my nerdiness. Hell, I could’ve backed this up to Thomas Edison and the invention of the light bulb or Johannes Gutenberg and the invention of the printing press. If I wanted to bring it closer to home, I could’ve selected Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, the first video game system I owned. This really was a tough choice.
In the end, however, I had to select a man who was responsible for the creation of the tools I’ve used throughout college and my entire 20-plus years of writing and editing. It helps that he has donated billions of dollars to charity. Sure, I’m sure this selection will upset the Apple-ites out there, but I have to give Mr. Gates the, pardon the pun, nod in this case and put his head on Mount Geekmore.
Others Receiving Consideration
Benjamin Franklin (inventor of some amazing things like bifocals and swim fins), Thomas Edison, Johannes Gutenberg, Alexander Graham Bell (who invented the telephone), Nolan Bushnell, and Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (Jobs was kind of a douche, but I can’t deny the duo’s impact on geekiness the world over.)
Spot Two, Literature: Stephen King
Like the first spot, this spot was also difficult to choose. Obviously, Stan Lee missed out on this spot by a hair. I loved comic books as a kid, but I kind of fell out of love with them when it just became too difficult to keep up. I still truly love and admire Stan Lee and the characters and worlds he’s created. If there were five heads on Mount Geekmore, he would be on there.
However, I only wanted four heads, and after thinking about some of the books and movies I’ve loved throughout the years, I had to go with Stephen King. Some people will argue that Stephen King doesn’t exactly write “nerd fiction” like Stan Lee, J.K. Rowling, or George R.R. Martin, but King is the author that really turned me into an “adult” reader. I was lucky enough to read Misery just as I was getting into reading…having graduated from choose-your-own-adventure books and Dear Mr. Henshaw. Discovering the amazing worlds and characters King could create and the tension and terror he could create in even everyday situations had me checking his books out of the local library. After Misery, I dove into Cujo, Christine, and even some of his earlier books like The Running Man and The Long Walk. Sure, I’ve read many other authors, but very few have been as consistent as Mr. King. I appreciate the long hours he’s helped me pass that would’ve been far more boring without killer dogs, possessed cars, and dome-covered cities. Not only have I enjoyed his books, but movies such as The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and Thinner (a guilty pleasure) have also provided hours of entertainment. I can’t think of an author that’s provided me with as many hours of entertainment as the man who literally wrote the book on writing fiction…thank you, Mr. King.
Others Receiving Consideration
Stan Lee (the creator or co-creator of pretty much every major Marvel superhero), Ken Kesey (author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, my favorite high school novel), Edward Packard (widely known as the creator of Choose Your Own Adventure books), Dean Koontz (incredible sci-fi writer), David Baldacci (equally incredible action writer), and Michael Connelly (just as incredible crime/detective novel writer)
Spot Three, Music: “Weird Al” Yankovic
This was probably the easiest pick of the four. I’ve been a fan of Weird Al since fifth grade. Until then, I wasn’t really a fan of any particular musician. I just thought of music as something I heard at the skating rink, bowling alley, or in the car with my parents. However, I remember the exact day I learned about Weird Al, at my friend Josh’s birthday party in fifth grade. He got a tape cassette (some of you might have to Google what that is) called Even Worse. The cover looked like Michael Jackson’s Bad album, except the guy on the cover was white. When my buddy Josh popped it in, I was introduced to the world of parodies and I’ve been listening ever since. Not only did Weird Al become my favorite performer, but he introduced me to other bands, like Barenaked Ladies and Crash Test Dummies, that I also enjoy. I got to meet Weird Al at a couple concerts and I told him the exact thing I’ll tell all of you to defend his position on Mount Geekmore; through good times and bad, Weird Al was there. He was the soundtrack of my, very geeky, life.
Others Receiving Consideration
John Williams (the composer of pretty much every amazing film score you’ve ever heard), Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (writers and composers of amazing songs and scores, including some of the best Disney music ever)
Spot Four, TV and Movies: Walt Disney
It’s funny, Stan Lee could’ve landed here, as well. Now I feel bad that he didn’t make it.
Anyway, this was also a relatively difficult decision because there are so many actors, writers, and directors that I’ve enjoyed over the years. The problem is, many of the folks I considered for this spot were actors or directors in one or two shows or movies that I enjoyed. I’m a huge fan of Christopher Lloyd and his performances in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Taxi, and the Back to the Future trilogy, but in the grand scheme of things, I can name 30 actors like that. I tried to dedicate this spot to someone who had a more overarching effect on my life.
That’s where Mr. Disney came in. Sure, there were cartoons before Walt Disney, but a great deal of animation and cartoons as we know them can largely be attributed to Mr. Disney and his studio. Some of the greatest animated movies have been created by his studios, including my personal favorite, Beauty and the Beast (the theme of my wedding, by the way).
As a Florida resident, I can feel the impact of Mr. Disney even more, as his theme parks are less than an hour drive from my home. If you’d like to see the impact of Walt Disney’s impact on the world, just take a trip to Disney World.
I’m not even going to mention the insane mega-beast Disney’s company has become, gobbling up companies and properties like Pixar, Marvel, ESPN, and Star Wars. I tend to not look at the Disney that exists today; I try to remember that, “It was all started by a mouse.” Walt’s mouse, and all that he’s created as a result of that mouse, have really had a huge place in my nerdy life.
Others Receiving Consideration
Stan Lee (yes, again), Steven Spielberg (an obvious choice), George Lucas (again, obvious), Harrison Ford (the guy’s been in two of the greatest franchises ever), Ian McKellen (again, he’s been in two humongous franchises and lots of other great movies like The DaVinci Code and Apt Pupil), Kevin Smith (underappreciated director…Clerks is a classic), Olivia Wilde (she’s my geek crush, and she played the Baroness in The Ballad of GI Joe; if you haven’t seen that video, you’re missing out)
So, Who’s on YOUR Mount Geekmore?
Well, those are the four people who are on my Mount Geekmore. They are four men whose work I admire, and who have shaped me as a geek throughout my 42 years. I really appreciate what they’ve done for the geek world.
So, who’s on your Mount Geekmore? I realize that no two people will have the same two answers, but it’s a great question to ask your friends to generate conversation. While no two people will have the same Mount Geekmore, we should all realize that we’re all geeks and we all feel passionately about our fandom, whether it’s Microsoft or Apple; Marvel or DC (or independent comics); Star Wars or Star Trek, or PlayStation, Nintendo,or Xbox; we shouldn’t fight…we should all enjoy what we enjoy and not cause grief to others who enjoy different things. Take pleasure in the fact that you’re a geek; it’s a great time for geeks and nerds to be alive! There’s so much to enjoy in this world…books, movies, television, video games, and places to see…get out there and experience as much as you can and see what will make it on your Mount Geekmore!
Special thanks to Michael Calero for bringing my Mount Geekmore to life! You can take a look at more of his work (and commission your OWN Mount Geekmore) right HERE.