Embracing Geekdom: The Crossword Puzzle

My mother loves to solve crossword puzzles. Puzzles of varying length and difficulty. And bless her, she usually does them late at night. If she gets stuck and unable to find an answer, she’s gotten into the habit of calling me.

Doesn’t she have a dictionary? Plenty of them. Doesn’t she have a computer? Absolutely. She also has a high–speed internet connection because when she had dial up and I visited, I could polish my toenails between web pages loading.

Mom could use any of these means to get her answer but she is what I believe to be a puzzle purist. She feels there is someone who knows the answer without resorting to artificial (read “computer-assisted”) means. So she will pick up the phone.

Recently she called me for such a reason. When I picked up the call, she asked without greeting me, “What is Spock’s father’s name?”

I wanted to reply by asking why she thought I would know.  But Mom has a person to call for almost every type of puzzle predicament. A friend she goes to church with is the consummate holder of the cup of religious and movie knowledge.  My cousin is the guru of who’s doing who in the celebrity world.But my mother calls me to answer a Star Trek question. And she’s not the only one that asks me these questions. Non-geek friends and co-workers have posed similar questions to me.

So how did I get to be the go-to-girl for sci-fi trivia? At what point did my love of comics, space-travel television shows, and gaming become obvious to the world at large?

Could it have been the time my manager came to my cube with a stack of paperwork and I waved my hand and told him I wasn’t the droid he was looking for? (He turned and left, by the way.)

Was I fooling myself that people thought I was being a feminist when I sang the lyric, “No man can be my equal”?

Conceivably, it may have been the time I walked into the office dressed as Lt. Uhura. Yes, it was Halloween. And yes, I still have the costume. There’s a distinct possibility it might make an appearance this Halloween.

An eon ago, a guy I sort of liked told me I was odd.  At the time, it triggered a flashback of things kids I grew up with teased me about. My thick glasses. The bagel with cream cheese in my lunchbox. Our ancient house people thought was haunted. The fact I seemed unable to contract any childhood disease. Okay, that one gave me pause, too.

Years later, I agree with that guy. I am odd. Sometimes, I wear a flash drive as a necklace. My hair has been in Princess Leia honeybuns during dinner at a restaurant. There is a glowing letter “G” for geek on my forehead. And I’m okay with that.

So when Mom called me with her late-night question, I smiled like Scarlett O’Hara with a hip flask. Then I sat up in bed and adjusted my medical officer blue nightshirt as I gave her the answer.



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