The Secret Life of Teenage Geeks

By Piper Bayard

My son is a geek. . . . It’s ok. I’m not insulting him. He’s very comfortable with the fact that he is a geek. He knows that geeks, especially those of the engineering variety, have high potential for good lives if they survive high school, and, at 6’7” tall and 260 lbs, he’s having no trouble surviving high school.

I recently had the opportunity to observe a huddle of 16-yr-old boys in their natural habitat (my family room), and as I watched them suck down copious amounts of food while never missing a kill with their gaming controls, I learned things I never would have guessed about boys back when I was a 16-yr-old girl.

The first thing is that 16-yr-old boys – at least the geeky engineering kind – are not ready to date. They didn’t speak much about girls, but what they did say let me know that the trashy girls are creepy to them, and, while they enjoy looking at all the girls and talking with the nice girls, they don’t see themselves as really having a place in their lives for girlfriends at this time. However, if the Victoria’s Secret supermodels wanted to take them in hand and teach them a few things, they would certainly love to be led.

They also have some eclectic tastes in music and amusements. Things like Jump, Jump, Jump Like a Kangaroo. It’s just a fun song, and kind of cool. I don’t think I knew what a diggeridoo was until I was at least twenty-five.

Then there’s Nyan Cat, the pop tart with a cat’s head that flies and p**ps rainbows. And the answer to it, Fiesta Dog. A flying taco with a dog’s head that lopes across the sky leaving a sparkly trail of blue stripes.

And let’s not miss the background music to one of their games. This is a piece by Cage the Elephant called Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked. Just in case you’re wondering, Cage the Elephant is a seemingly drunk garage band that somehow wandered into a recording studio, and no one caught them in time to prevent them from making a CD. I actually like a couple of their songs, and the rest of the CD I use to threaten the kids into silence on long road trips.

So back to the party. Excited utterances filled the air that night as the young men were consumed by the games as completely as they were, themselves, consuming our food.

“Screw you, Skippy the Turtle, you camping b*****d.” Apparently, “camping” in a combat video game is fun when you’re doing it, and annoying when anyone else does it.

“I hate these hacking noobs. We’re out of here.” Yes. People actually hack in and cheat in these games.

“Dude. Use the Wunder Waffle.” The Wunder Waffle (a.k.a. Wunderwaffe) is a gun used in Call of Duty that can shoot 15 zombies at a time.

And as for the Yo Mama jokes, I’m pleased to say I only knew about them because one young man is particularly loud, and his voice drifted up to the second floor now and then. The boys were all smiles and polite words when I was hanging out in the kitchen within their sight.

And while I was in the kitchen, I was deeply rewarded as a parent to see what sort of young man my son is becoming, and what wonderful company he keeps. They cleaned up their trash, kept each other in line, and respected our property. Also, there were five of them and only four game controls, but I constantly heard things like, “Two more matches, and we play R’s game,” and, “Here. You take this for a while.” On top of that, and warming my heart, they were all unfailingly courteous with Little Sister.

I confess I used to believe that teens had exactly no redeeming qualities, but now, 18 Cokes, 12 Pepsis, 2 ½ large pizzas, 16 breadsticks, ½ a cake, 2 boxes of Oreos, 1 bag of corn chips, 1 bag of potato chips, 1 pint of dip, 27 sausages, 11 turnovers, ½ gallon of lemonade, 28 honey BBQ boneless wings, and ½ box of Oats ‘n Crème cookies later, I revel in the privilege of getting to know and hang out with such fine human beings.

Young people these days. They’re just not as bad as they’re cracked up to be.

Do you have experience with teens? What do you see of Teen World?

All the best to all of you for avoiding hacking noobs, and watch out for Skippy the Turtle.