We did not expect to require tissues while completing this geek dad mini-essay contest.
So here's a compilation of voter comments that say it better than we could. Please excuse us while we blow our noses. (You'll find winner information below the comments which should be and indeed are required reading.)
Eponaraven: "They were all such beautiful submissions, I really wanted them all to win ..."
Nicky: "Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! These are the cutest! <3 Happy Father's Day to all of you geek dads!"
David: "I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old, both boys. I hope to someday live up to the examples of these incredible geek dads."
Nick: "This is an awesome contest! I am a geek dad myself, and some of these stories brought tears to my eyes. My daughter is only two years old, but she already loves robots and dragons. I know how amazing it feels to see your child embrace technology and fantasy, and to just imagine their potential. Parents have a lot of competition these days, and raising a kid in this world of harsh realities is a daunting task. Seeing these stories gives me hope. Hope that one day my daughter will look back fondly on her dad with the big Zelda tattoo and goofy ideas, and have no regrets. If one day my daughter writes something about me that is as heartfelt and appreciative as any of these stories, I will be the luckiest geek in the world. Thank you for doing this, and thank you to everyone who submitted their stories. You've made geek dads everywhere hold their heads up a little higher."
Josh: "I truly love seeing how the geek gets spread from generation to generation. They're all wonderful stories, and I only hope my own kids can tell a similar tale when the time comes."
Mooncity: "A true Dad, in every sense of the word, is one who supports his child's goals, hopes, ambitions and dreams, geek-related or not. If only we could all be so lucky!"
Ken: "I think it's awesome how many of these submissions come from the geeky daughters of Geek Dads!"
Enlupkes: "I just want to say that while reading these entries, I was forced to think about my dad, which is still pretty painful for me. He was an old school geek who wore striped suspenders with witty buttons pinned all over them and he had a pocket protector. He loved pens and collected them for no apparent reason, even if they were just a generic cheapo pen. He died when I was 8 years old and I am 25 now and still miss him so much. I have a son now who is 19 months old and I can only hope that I will be as good of a geekdad to him as my dad was to me. As it is I am sitting on the floor typing this because my son kicked me out of the chair so that he could see the computer screen better, so I hope that means I am on the right track."
Kane: "what is katie b.'s email address? I want to marry her." [Ed. We don't give that kinda info out, but if Katie B. emails replybot at thinkgeek dot com and would like to get in touch with Kane, we'd be happy to help.]
Motopro9: "Nicole M from California: You and your dad sound like you have an awesome bond, especially in the geek world...hope you both continue to experience learning from each other."
G.Ysunza: "Wonderful stories. I'm calling my geeky Dad RIGHT NOW, damn all the international calling fees! May the geeks rule the Earth."
Well said, guys, as usual.
And now, the voters' top 5 geek dad stories, and winners of a $100 gift certificate each:
Rebecca from Texas on her husband:
"When my son was born, he only had a geek mom. For 6 years, I was the only geek in his life. Then, we met his Dad. From the start, his Dad was a great geek role model! He taught him about DNA using a molecular model kit; he introduced him to a Linux distribution for kids; and he got him started playing D & D. In March 2010, my son's geek Dad legally adopted him. This is his first Father's Day as a "legal Dad." My son's geek Dad has earned the title. Our life would be nearly as geeky without him."
Shannon from Rhode Island on her... mother:
"My widowed Mom is fun, geeky & the best "Dad" a kid could have! My 1st movie was Empire Strikes Back. She cheered in the theater! I later fell asleep under Glow in the Dark stars she stuck on my ceiling. My 1st concert was Weird Al! She cooked spaghetti "aliens" & hot dog "octopi" for dinner. We didn't just play with Playdoh, we made it! Python quotes were mandatory. My 5th birthday was ET themed with Reece's Pieces cake! That night we assembled a Visible Man, made him attack Care Bears & she hogged "our new Atari! These days we love having Munchkin battles or watching Firefly marathons together!"
Sara M. from Maryland on her father:
"I was adopted by my geek dad, and I'm not sure I'd be the geeky girl I am today if he hadn't! I grew up on puns, plane-spotting, and Piers Anthony. My dad is an astrophysicist, which means he is paid to be geeky - he builds scientific balloons and flies them in Antarctica (so jealous!). He's always supported me in my own geeky endeavors, and understands my love of sci-fi, stargazing, and Stargate SG-1. He's a true GeekDad, with his heart on his sleeve and a grounding strap on his wrist."
Ellen from Ohio on her father:
"My dad is an unlikely geek. The kind of geek you don't see coming. He's built like a Mafia hitman (we joke he dresses like Tony Soprano), but he's always ready with a story that tells like a M*A*S*H episode or a terrible pun. He worked for IBM in the 80s and 90s and is call #1 when I need anything with moving parts fixed. Several years ago, during a truly awful Saturnalia, he sent me the DVDs for Joss Whedon's Firefly. The note read: "This looked like something you'd love. Hope it cheers you up." Boy was he right. He gave me the best present possible when I needed it. Help me give back!"
Bengt F. from Washington state on his father:
"Dad, when I look back, I have to realize how you've always been involved with my life. And not just in typical "dad" ways; remember when you helped turn out apartment into a a series of levers and pulleys? And how you completely supported me when I wanted to attach an electric motor to our couch, so we could ride it around? Remember how you used to bring home washing machines and dryers for me to take apart on the living room floor? I love you, Dad."
The other 15 dads (whose stories are listed here) will receive a $20 gift certificate because they deserve honors, too. And our random voter and winner of a $20 gift certificate is Quietstorm13. Winners, we'll be in touch via email shortly.
To the rest of you geek dads (and moms!) out there, keep up the good work. You have a special job training the young padawans of geek generation v2.0, and we'd prefer you didn't go to the Dark Side. Even if they have cookies.
A very happy, very geeky Father's Day to you all!