You guys did not make this easy.
There were waaay more than 20 insightful, funny, heart-wrenching, and deserving entries, so we've resorted to choosing essays that represent different kinds of geek dads. And some of the choosing was a little bit random, frankly, because ranking one above another just didn't seem right.
So if you don't see your entry below, it's not that we didn't read it--we did, all of them. Thank you all so much for taking the time to tell us a story about the awesomesauce father in your life. They deserve more than just a gift certificate from us.
Without further ado, here are 20 submissions we think you'll enjoy. Below that is the voting form where you can choose up to 3 of your favorites, and we'll post our 5 winners of $100 gift certificates tonight--so please vote before 4pm EDT today! Also, we'll just say this up front: everyone who has a story below is winning something.
1. Allegra H. from Oregon on her father:
"I blame my father. It's his fault, really. All of it. He handed me Neuromancer and Dune, took me to see Starship Troopers and, regretting that, took me to The Matrix. His roots go deep- he played D&D in the late 70s and was Gollum in a teen play. The rest of my family just doesn't share our interests. Now I'm older, and wiser, and hand him American Gods, and stream Color of Magic, and we geek out together. It's his fault I am the geekling that I am, and I love him for it. Love you, dad."
2. 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."
3. Keri S. from Ohio on her father:
"I have the geekiest and greatest dad in the world. His wardrobe is comprised of countless "No, I will not fix your computer" t-shirts which he wears while shooting smoke rings with his smoke ring gun. In the fall of 2003, my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He has since made a full recovery and has been cancer-free for 6 years! When he was diagnosed, I was worried my biggest geek-fluence was no longer going to be with me; but in a resurgence of geekdom we performed the ULTIMATE geek dance at my wedding 5 years later...here's the link."
4. Travis T. from Delaware on his father:
"/\/\'/ d4D 5|-|0ULD \/\/1|\| 7|-|3 933|
[TRANSLATION: My dad should win the geekdad giveaway for one simple reason, while writing this up i had to call him and try to make this essay more geek. He then suggested that I do the entire letter in L337 speak.]
5. 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."
6. 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."
7. Erin from Colorado on her father:
"My dad is... interesting. He's an IT guy, so he's constantly playing with routers and fiddling with the guts of the family computers. That is, when he's not at work. Though he may be thoroughly geek, the true geek in him has become dormant through work. Halo and Call of Duty remain in solitude, unsees for months. Dungeons and Dragons maps lay incomplete, monster manuals and fiend folios collecting dust. I want to bring back the FUN geek in my dad, the one who's been hiding behing little green lights and yellow cables. I want this gift to remind him how much fun geekdom is. Dread Gazebo forever!"
8. Michelle from Australia, a "long-suffering wife of geek," on her husband:
"Laser-beam activated water bowl for my cat. Computer-controlled watering system for the plants and all that. 500TB and a tape drive in the shed. Complex equations all done in his head. Server rack in the garage, fans keep me up all night. But my children's geeky father is a bit of all right!"
9. Katie B. from Florida on her father:
"I'm a geek thanks to my dad. When I was barely old enough to read, he got me a Vic-20 and spent hours helping me play Adventureland. I was probably 7 when he sat me down and said "This is DOS. You'll need to understand it." Once, he made me a geodesic dome playhouse out of drinking straws and masking tape. We spent all day sitting in it, building elaborate Lego sets until it collapsed. The endless showings of Krull should qualify him for sainthood! Every little girl should be so lucky."
10. Martin from London on his father:
"My dad used to make me the craziest presents when I was a kid. One year I got an amazing black-lacquered DEVICE. It had a stepper motor with a piece of Lego attached to it so I could click on any of my Lego creations and give them a whirl. It also had a sound modulation dial, flashing switches and cool LED memory games. Best of all he kept the back exposed and showed me how each bit worked. Dad inspired the geek in me and to this day we both still share crazy tech moments."
11. Zachary from California on his father:
"My Dad is the ultimate Star Wars Geek. He's not only a HUGE star wars fan but he likes to volunteer. He's helped the Make a Wish Foundation, several childrens hospitals, Women/childrens shelters. When we were younger took us camping and made sure it was a memorable one. We even won best young fan in the San Diego comic con masquerade one year. I think it's on youtube."
12. Andrea from North Carolina on her husband:
"My husband is a great dad sitting side by side with his kids as he teaches them how to open up their computer, upgrade memory, and even install their own operating systems. Sharing nights of Dr. Who and Stargate is how we spend family night. Fun nights consist of Nerf fights and getting elbow deep into a computer as they repair them together. Our kids were thrilled when dad gave them his authentic looking Tom Baker Dr. Who scarf. We all speak geek in this house."
13. Sarah from Ontario on her father:
"My dad is a geek, and raised me to be a proud geek too. My geekucation began with watching Star Trek: The Next Generation with him when I was just a toddler and later, helping him install a new hardware in his gigantic computer tower, such as a new processor (OMG 128mhz!), and reading The Belgariad to me. Then there's the evenings spent debating politics, discussing the latest in green innovations and the nuances of C++, and DMing AD&D games for me and my friends. He's awesome :)"
14. Andrea from Arizona on her father:
"When I was 5, my Pop taught me how to take apart a Commodore 64, showed me how it worked, and how to program in DOS. He did this while wearing my fuzzy pink slippers on his toes so i'd be amused and 'be smarter than my brother'. He's the one person I know that can yell at a external HD and make it magically come back from death. He's now at that age that his eyebrows are long and flutter when he's mad. They are only extensions of his brain. My Pop = awesome in a old, angry, Italian male."
15. Chris S. from Wisconsin on his father:
"My dad is a geek who taught me things I still use today. He taught me about chemistry by freezing and blowing things up. He taught me about gravity by letting me climb up on the roof of the house. He taught me about physics and electricity by letting me turn mom's vacum into a home-made rocket launcher. and... He showed me it was ok to be a geek when he gave me my first pocket protector."
16. 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!"
17. Jeff D. from Texas on his father:
"My dad is such a geektastic dad I never had a chance to be anything other. He worked for Rockwell who made the Intellivison chips for the Atari 2600, so when I was a kid he modded our Adventure cartridge to have an eProm quick release adapter on the top and we would change games by adding the eProms that he brought home, He made additional adapters to handle the 16 and 32 bit games that came later. I was the hit of the block for having Berzerk a year before release. I <3 my Geek Dad."
18. Nicole M. from California on her father:
19. Max from Missouri on his father:
"My Dad is so Awesome and Geeky that I was 1 day old in the Hospital and he had me in a Jedi outfit for my 1st picture, complete with Lightsaber - and he made it all! He has a toy room and he lets me play in it. He made me a Mario Kart Halloween costume last year out of cardboard. He always plays Legos with me too. He bought us both Titanium Sporks to use from Thinkgeek! He is teaching me how to play his old Nintendo and Atari. I am also named after a character from Robotech :)"
20. 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!"
Pretty incredible, right? Now here's the hard part: Please pick your favorite 3 entries before 4pm EDT this evening. We'll announce the top picks around 5pm tonight.