By Sarah Henning
April 7, 2005 | Duluth
No Geek Prom is an island. It takes hundreds of the city's
geekiest to make Saturday's event the glorious spaz fest that
Since geeks are defined partly in terms of their obsessive
nature, we went on patrol to find three geeks to represent.
Here are true tales of a Pez dispenser kept in a safety deposit
box, role-playing games that make "Dungeons and Dragons"
look innocuous and Friday nights spent watching "Wall
A gamer and computer geek, one of his favorite pastimes is
correcting museum guides.
NAME: Chris Marshall, aka Lumpy G (the "G" stands
STATISTICS: 37-year-old Duluthian who works as a "data
slinger" at Thralow Inc., the parent company of 19 specialty
Web sites based in Duluth
GEEK TYPE: Computer geek/gaming geek
MAIN CHARACTERISTICS: "Computer geeks generally have
pale skin, and are stooped from hunching over their computers.
I know a lot of computer geeks who have no social skills.
I'm socially awkward, but not as much as some geeks I know.
We wear T-shirts with logos like penguins (the symbol of the
Linux operating system) or anything that's anti-Microsoft.
There's also a tendency to talk in 1337 (leet) speak, which
is a keyboard shorthand."
MOMENT I REALIZED I WAS A GEEK: "I came out of the closet
as a geek in fifth grade, when I realized that all my friends
and I were literary habitues, the types who always raised
their hands and always had the right answer in class."
GEEKIEST THING I'VE EVER DONE: "I went to knock on the
door of an author I really liked. He was an old man already
living in Lawrence, Kansas, and I drove down there just to
see him. ... It's that obsessive thing, liking something so
much you take it to its ultimate, that makes a geek a geek.
(That author, ladies and gentleman: William S. Burroughs.)"
BIGGEST MISUNDERSTANDING ABOUT GEEKS: "It's people's
sheer jealousy at geeks' massive amounts of knowledge. Just
kidding. I think the biggest misunderstanding is that we're
This is a woman who has collected more than 400 Pez dispensers
and owns outfits for said dispensers. She started collecting
Pez after she saw a segment on "Oprah" that featured
two collectors who met and fell in love at a Pez convention.
NAME: Michelle Rowley, aka Purple (almost everything she wears
STATISTICS: 33-year-old mass communications graduate student
at the University of Wisconsin-Superior from Duluth
GEEK TYPE: Collector geek
MAIN CHARACTERISTICS: "I guess I'm probably obsessive
compulsive. People are like, 'Oh, it's just Pez.' But I have
some that I won't take out of the house. They're in an antique
china hutch I inherited from my grandma. And my Batman Pez
is in a safety deposit box."
MOMENT I REALIZED I WAS A GEEK: "I think I was in geek
denial. I was even a cheerleader for a time. I was the worst
cheerleader ever. I only lasted one season. ... I don't think
I've dated anyone who would not be labeled a geek. But that's
what I'm attracted to: Smart and spastically hyper."
GEEKIEST THING I'VE EVER DONE: "For the first Geek Prom,
I put together a geek resume, and it was all true. One of
my earliest memories is ... playing "Star Wars,"
I always had to be R2-D2 because I was the shortest. So I
bullied this girl until she left so I could be Princess Leia."
BIGGEST MISUNDERSTANDING ABOUT GEEKS: "That they're sad,
these lost souls. We have more fun because we don't put on
A self-described "four-eyed nerdy girl," Julie has
never been to a prom. Her favorite Friday night TV shows are
"Washington Week" and "Wall $treet Week."
NAME: Julie Duncan
STATISTICS: 43-year-old bookkeeper for St. Louis County from
GEEK TYPE: Knowledge geek
MAIN CHARACTERISTICS: "Spends Friday nights in the college
library, doesn't own any high heels, and, obviously, quick
GEEKIEST THING I'VE EVER DONE: "In grade school, we all
got to contribute words for spelling tests, and I would go
through the dictionary looking for the longest, hardest words
I could find ... after that, I got bullied."
BIGGEST MISUNDERSTANDING ABOUT GEEKS: "That they don't
have any friends."
MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AT GEEK PROM:
"I don't have to have a date. Plus there are so many
great, eccentric folks in Duluth. It should be great people
watching. And I probably won't be the worst dancer there."