How do you know when you’re a history geek? Well, check out Elizabeth May’s brilliant post from Monday for starters. You’re probably also on the geek side of normal if you can answer yes to any of the following questions:
1. Can you speak/read/understand/make jokes in an extinct language?
2. Have you ever insisted that your family accompany you on a 300-mile roundtrip journey just to visit a field that may or may not have been the site of a long-forgotten battle?
3. When they have a history question, do your friends call you rather than check Wikipedia?
4. Do you know more about the family tree of a historical figure than you do about your own?
5. Have you ever got a sense of deja vu only to realize it’s because history repeats itself?
6. Do your local reference librarians know you by name?
7. Have you ever had to tear up a check because you wrote the wrong century in the date line?
8. Have you ever gone a week without bathing or washing your hair, cooked on a coal-fired stove, slept on a straw-filled mattress, worn a hair shirt, walked a mile in leather-soled shoes or even tried to read by the light of a single tallow candle just to see “what it would have been like”?
9. By the same token, are you thankful every day for modern conveniences like indoor plumbing and toothpaste?
10. Have you ever dug up a carpark just to see what lies beneath the asphalt? (bonus points if you know what I’m referencing.)
Most of my friends have got used to me blurting out historical factoids and talking about 16th Century characters as if they’ve been cavorting on a reality TV program called The Real Housewives of the Tudor Court. Many of my new acquaintances accept my geekiness for what it is–because most of them are writers in some way shape or form and we all have our own brand of crazy. Even my editor–after a phone call in which I went off on tangents about everything from the Levellers to Thomas More to the end of Apartheid in South Africa–said, “Geekery in general is something I have a soft spot for. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t spend my life working with writers!”
I’ve found my people. Are you with me?