Scott Hanselman

Meme Time: Growing Up Geek

October 04, 2008 Comment on this post [22] Posted in Musings
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Hanseldork? Ok, it's meme time. Now, you may be surprised to hear that under my cool exterior, I was a nerd in school. No, no, you say! It's not so! Surely you were the most popular kid, Scott? You weren't beaten brutally each day for having glasses that weighed more than your huge head? Nonsense!

Alas, it's true. It's probably true for you as well, Dear Reader. Or, that's what I like to tell myself. ;)

I've written before about how I got into computers, some of the OS's I've run, that I love gadgets, and how my fifth grade teacher took me from an "at risk youth" to a huge dork. I've even done a podcast with my Dad about what it's like to raise a nerd. Of course, the Nerds will Inherit the Earth, right?

Did you grow up a geek?

Let's see what you looked like as a young burgeoning nerd or nerdette.

I'm tagging Phil Haack, Rob Conery, Leon Bambrick, Greg Hughes, and Brad Wilson.

Of course, if you're not tagged, I want to see pics of you as a kid-nerd regardless. Go dig in that shoebox you know you still have. Call your Mom, look at the photo album, and link to this post or leave a link in the comments.

Let's see some nerdy childhood pictures folks!

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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October 04, 2008 11:53
Two years ago, I assembled a list of elder fotos of myself, too:

(German texts)
October 04, 2008 13:57
Sweet photo! Of course, that get-up is all the rage in London. They're all over the trend-spotting blogs. Check this dude. You were just born in the wrong time.
October 04, 2008 14:25
Excellent one!
I followed you here .

October 04, 2008 17:19
That pic is just dorky-cute, Scott. :)
October 04, 2008 20:19
Yes, we have depressingly similar experience across OSs and dorky elementary school photos. But I have to say, you were way ahead of your time sporting the Lacoste there. That means you were at least 2x cooler than me (at least in hindsight). Nice.
October 04, 2008 20:26
I truly knew I was a geek in 6th grade when, faced with doing yet another 60 problems of "cross products," I wrote a program on my Apple IIe, keyed in my homework and printed out the results on my Epson dot matrix printer. It turned in the printouts... didn't even tear the perfs off.

To my teacher's credit, she said, "If you understand the concept well enough to write a program to do it for you, you must understand it pretty well."


Of course, many beatings ensued ;)
October 04, 2008 21:45
October 04, 2008 22:25
Ok, but you lose 1 geek point for wearing a Lacoste shirt instead of a no-name Kmart.
October 05, 2008 0:59
I have to disagree with the previous commenters re: your Lacoste shirt... Lacoste didn't become popular and hip for another 20-ish years - therefore you in fact were a total nerd and in no way hip or cool. :)
October 05, 2008 17:30
I prefer to think the old biblical saying should have read 'the geek will inherit the earth'
October 05, 2008 23:13
That isn't geek. I had the same pair of glasses.

That was THE style at the time. Sure, if you wore those today it would be 'geek', but again, that was the style back then.

Let's see...your parents bought those because they would hold up better for an active boy who would lose them, step on them, etc... ?

Yep...that was just how it was back then :)
October 06, 2008 3:44
Shoot Scott at least your folks sprung for the Izod! I had to run around in the cheap stuff. Mom had me in upside down Knock off Nikes for years...

You look good! What the hell has happened? You look like crap now! Ha! Love your cousin. Jack
October 06, 2008 6:14
October 06, 2008 6:18
"How did I got into computers? way! The glasses tells a HEX of a word.
October 06, 2008 10:12
I guess being geeky keeps the girls off so one has more time to invest. It is wierd nowadays, anyone knowing a little about computers is called a geek. I simply don't get it.
October 06, 2008 11:59
Not sure what you guys are saying about "Izod" and Lacoste. That was either a "granimals" shirt, or it was bought at Goodwill. ;P
October 06, 2008 14:31
Young Filini - I'm the one on the left. No glasses (they came with puberty and a certain type of movies), but the bow tie is quite geeky :)
October 06, 2008 23:48
Ahh, I remember the late 70’s. I had the pocket protector and I programmed my brothers Alter 8800 though the toggle switches in the front panels in my parents basement. Now that was real programming.
October 07, 2008 7:47
Sorry, Scott; I was the cool kid :)
October 08, 2008 16:55
Scott, I'm embarassed as a geek to see you lacked the very 'hip and trendy' nerd hair part. But at the same time you did lead the pack with the trendy Lacoste shirt 14 years before it came into style. My geek wear typically came from KMart, Sears, or Goodwill so I rocked pretrend clothes like Gap jeans, back when Gap was sold at K-Way...

To me the true test of geekdome was whether you had a chemistry set that contained potassium nitrate and sulfur. Using these 2 compounds and some garden variety table sugar you could whip up some pretty sweet smoke bombs using a beaker and the low flame of the kitchen stove. If you were a really brave geek you could have crushed a like charcoal in a mortar and mixed the 3 to make a low quality gunpowder. Of course these days you'd be hard pressed to find these compounds in a chem set because they pose a risk to national security.

Now if I could only find the photo my mother took of me the day she decided to perm my hair and put me in a yellow dress to see what I'd look like as a little girl... that photo would add all new meaning to this blog post.
October 10, 2008 0:19
For those of you too young to remember, Izod shirts were very popular in the early to mid- 80's. See "The Official Preppy Handbook".

Scott was very hip if this pic was taken in 1985, as possibly indicated in the upper right corner.

October 12, 2008 23:55
Yep, I was one of those young dorks too.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.