Times have changed

I know this has been said by many of you before, but last night this really hit home for me. The social status of computer geeks has really changed in my lifetime, especially for the younger generation.

For Halloween, my family decided to be superheroes of our own invention. I was the Caped Computer Crusader. My costume included a cape covered in computer parts, a keyboard belt, and an iPad in my chest. The iPad was running a short app I wrote that typed out its own source code in green text on black, including playing typing sounds.

Last night, the costume was a huge hit. When answering the door for trick-or-treaters, I was inevitably told I had the best costume they’d seen. Several kids sat wide-mouthed staring at my chest (not a phrase I figured I’d ever say). Kids loved it. Some adults thought it was awesome as well, while others clearly though I was odd.

I did not expect this reaction. Subconsciously, I was even slightly embarrassed to wear it when the time came. As a kid, I learned that flaunting how big of a geek I was would not lead to social acceptance and that is still somewhat ingrained in me. But the reality that I grew up with is not the reality of today. High school, middle school, and elementary school kids all seem to think that a guy with a Objective-C code printing on his chest is cool.

I know lots of others have written about this before. I understood the concept cognitively, but had not really internalized it until last night.