From: The Karate Kid (1984)
Who said it?: Mr. Miyagi
The story behind the quote: The Karate Kid is actually one of the quintessential geek movies since it seems to be written like a piece of wish-fulfillment of a geek. A new kid named Daniel (played by Ralph Macchio) moves into a new town and is picked on by a bunch of bullies. He then finds out that the groundskeeper of the building he lives in, Mr. Miyagi (portrayed by Pat Morita), actually knows karate. Daniel manages to convince Mr. Miyagi to teach him karate to defend himself. If you were a nerd back in school, you do know the feeling of being bullied and dream of actually being strong enough to defend yourself. So, this movie sort of touches on this dream. More than that, however, the film itself has a lot of memorable scenes like the crane kick and the karate tournament.
This movie is also remembered because of the unconventional way Mr. Miyagi would train Daniel. Mr. Miyagi had Daniel do a lot of chores, such as painting a fence, sanding the floor and, of course, the memorable “Wax on. Wax off” scene where he tells Daniel that he has to wax and shine a bunch of cars. While all of what Daniel may have seemed to be useless, Mr. Miyagi actually shows him (and the audience) that it all had a purpose.
Geek wisdom: There are actually two bits of wisdom we can get from this quote. One, practicing something really pays off. The more you do something, the better you become at it. Daniel probably had to do the same circular motions more than a million times on that one day! Because of this, he was able to perform the right and proper motions on instinct. Great martial artists do amazing things, such as breaking boards or performing triple kicks. They probably weren’t able to do these things their first go at it, but they kept on trying until they actually could do it consistently.
The second thing we can learn from this is that, while something may seem useless when we learn something, it can prove to be very useful later on. Take the “Wax on. Wax off” part. Daniel (and the viewer) had no idea that there was an actual reason why the motions had to be circular. By the end, we all knew that Mr. Miyagi knew what he was doing. This happens when we study in school. We have subject that we don’t care about and we question why we have to learn it. Still, its best to learn it because we don’t know if it may wind up being useful in the future.
From: Office Space
Who said it?: Michael Bolton
The story behind the quote: Office Space is a cult classic movie from Mike Judge, the creator of Beavis and Butt-head. The story generally focuses of a group of frustrated office workers who work for Initech, a software company, with their manager, Bill Lumberg. One of them gets accidentally hypnotized to enter a state of complete relaxation. So much so that he openly displays his lack of motivation while in the office. Oddly enough, this gets him promoted to a managerial position while his friends, despite trying their best to keep their jobs, are set to be downsized. This is a very rough summary and I know I’m not doing justice to this film describing it. Suffice to say, it deserves its cult classic status. There are a lot of scenes in this movie that are hilarious and memorable.
In one particular scene, one of the disgruntled office workers, the tragically named Michael Bolton, is talking with his friends Peter Gibbons (they guy who eventually get promoted) and Samir Nagheenanajar (a guy with a name no one can pronounce) while printing a document. The printer delivers a PC Load Letter error, at which Michael exclaims that he has no idea what the error is supposed to mean.
Geek wisdom: A lot of times, people can speak and use words that are hard to understand, like the error message given by the printer. This can be either accidental or intentional. If you’ve ever read a EULA, licensing agreement or a legal document, you know how frustrating this can be. Life is already complicated as it is. Let’s not add to it.
Genre: Cartoons, Television
Who said it?: Lion-O
The story behind the quote: If you really think about it, the concept behind the Thundercats cartoon is weird: A bunch of anthropomorphic alien cats fighting a sorcerer-slash-mummy for the peace and order on Third Earth. Still, it was a great show in the 1980s. The remake currently being shown on the Cartoon Network still retains the basic idea but adds more history and backstory, making it a much more interesting show, especially for those who watch the original.
The quote comes from Lion-O, the leader of the Thundercats. He wields the Sword of Omens, possibly the most powerful weapon in the show. The power of the sword comes from the Eye of Thundera, a gem or jewel built right into the hilt. The Sword of Omens has various abilities, such as casting a signal in the air to call the other Thundercats, absorb magical blasts thrown by Mum-Ra, the aforementioned mummy and, by giving the command “Sword of Omens, give me sight beyond sight,” the user will be able to look at far away places, detect hidden enemies, and even find allies that are missing.
Geek wisdom: While there are a lot of pieces of technology that can give us “sight beyond sight” like binoculars and satellite views, we can actually do the Sword can’t: we can predict the future. Well, not really “predict” per say. Rather, people can think of possible scenarios of what will happen based on information.
While it can be fun to be spontaneous once in a while, its always a great idea to plan for the future. Whether it be short-term like planning what to do during the weekend, or something more long-term, such as saving up for retirement, planning is always the prudent thing to do.
From: Star Wars
Who said it?: Darth Vader
The story behind the quote: Ahh, Star Wars. One of the most impressive movies of all time. Released in 1977, the film boasted special effects that was previously unseen before. More than that, however, it was the imaginative universe which included worlds, aliens and technology that could only be found in a galaxy far, far away. This film also introduced the Force. As described by Obi-Wan, the Force “…surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” While the Force can be used for good and helping people, there is a dark side to it which can be used for evil.
In one of the first scenes of the film, the Empire has just completed the construction of the Death Star, a massive space station capable of destroying a planet in a single blast. Darth Vader comments that, while the station is powerful, it pales in comparison to the power of the Force. One of the lieutenants scoff at this claim saying that it is a very antiquated concept. Vader, however, will have none of it and proceeds to choke the lieutenant using the Force while stating the quote above.
Geek wisdom: Let’s talk about faith. Faith does not have to be about religion. You can have faith in your family and friends that they’ll be there for you, faith in your general community that, deep down, they’re all good people or even faith in yourself.
Having faith is important: we all need something to believe in. It may be in God (or Gods), in other people,with yourself or even an intangible Force that is all around us. We all need to have faith in something to keep us going in order to push through the tough times in life.
Who said it?: Spider-man
The story behind the quote: One of the most popular, yet misunderstood, powers of Peter Parker/Spider-man is his Spider Sense, mostly because the hero himself doesn’t know how it works as well. In general, this ability gives him the ability to feel danger. One of the problems of this is that it doesn’t really tell him what the danger is. It could be as simple as a punch coming at him while he’s fighting a bad guy but it also could manifest if his secret identity is also in danger of being exposed. However, even with this small drawback, it has been really useful in saving his butt in a lot of instances.
Spider-man has been able to use this in conjunction with the Spider Tracers he’s invented. Initially, the tracers would have to be tracked by a small device he carried. However, in later stories, he managed to adapt the tracers to work with his Spider Sense. So, while it’s still a mystery on how it works exactly, the Web Head does have some sort of handle on it.
Geek wisdom: Actually, if you really think about it, we all have this ability (even if we haven’t been bitten by a radioactive spider). It’s called a gut feeling. We’ve all felt at one time or another to go against conventional logic and just go with our instincts and what feels right. Realistically, sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t. However, the point is it does pay off from time to time!
Against all logic and reason, your gut feeling is correct sometimes. The point here is that while logic is good and all, sometimes we gotta go with our instincts.
From: Red vs. Blue
Genre: Web Series
Who said it?: Pvt. Dexter Grif
The story behind the quote: Red Vs. Blue is, to quote their public service announcement videos, a “popular web series” that chronicles the life of two sides (red and blue, obviously) in Blood Gulch. It’s a unique twist to a web series since, instead of using actors or animation, the good people of Rooster Teeth uses the Xbox’s Halo game to make their story come to life. While most people would think it would be a violent, hard-action series, it’s not. None of the characters are particularly great at actually fighting (even though they are soldiers) and all of them are a bit crazy.
The quote comes from Episode 2 of the first season. Sarge of the Red team calls his troop, consisting of Simmons and Grif, and announcing that they will be getting a new rookie soon. But for now, he has Lopez, another “person” bring in their new weapon; a jeep that Sarge affectionately calls the Warthog. Grif then question Sarge about why he calls it that since it doesn’t look like a pig. Grif continues by saying that he actually thinks it looks more like a puma. Although Sarge and Simmons make fun of Grif (even saying that they don’t know what a puma is), the Blue team, Church and Tucker actually comment that the jeep does look like a puma.
Geek wisdom: Sometimes, its good to go into things with a different point of view. While it may seem ridiculous to others, especially to those who are already comfortable with whatever that thing is, its actually when we question things and give our own thoughts wherein we can actually learn.
As much as possible, we should make our own opinions about things around us. Whether is be about politics, religion, or… well, anything, we should try to develop our own thoughts regarding them and others should respect whatever it would be. However, this also goes both ways; if other people disagree with your opinions, please be respectful as well.
From: CPro Wrestling (NES, Famicom)
Genre: Video Games
Who said it?: Narrator
The story behind the quote: The quote comes from a classic video game on the NES simply entitled Pro Wrestling. While very limited in the number of moves, Pro Wrestling was actually unique in the sense that each of the different wrestlers had their own specialty moves that only they could use. For example, Fighter Hayabusa had a move called the Back Brain Kick that was unique to him while The Amazon had the Piranha Bite and the Outlaw Choke.
Anyway, the quote will pop up after you (obviously) beat any of your opponents on your road to fight the champion, The Great Puma. It became very popular very early on because of it’s hilariously incorrect grammar. It’s also known to be one of the first known instances of Engrish (named for the fact that Japanese usually substitute the letter R when trying to say the letter L).
Geek wisdom: While it is inadvertently funny, you can still extract some wisdom from it. Basically, you do have to celebrate each of your victories. Even the small ones. While its great to be focused on the task at hand (becoming the champion in the game), make sure that you also be proud of all of the small good things in life that you encounter along the way.
From: Portal 2
Genre: Video Games
Who said it?: Cave Johnson
The story behind the quote: Portal 2 is the sequel to the highly successful first Portal game. This game delves more into the history of Aperture Science, the company that developed the Portal gun and the facility where the game takes place. The interesting thing about this quote is that it actually comes from a recording of a person, Cave Johnson, who was the President and CEO of the company that would eventually become Aperture Science (who does what they must because they can).
As you, controlling Chell, proceeds through that old test chambers, we slowly get to see the facilities slowly become more and more decrepit and even Cave Johnson’s health is in decline. Still, through the voice recordings, we get to know that Cave Johnson is still defiant and believes that he and his company will rise above all of the hardship and return to glory once again.
If you come to think about it, although he did die and probably never saw it happen, Aperture Science appears to have actually returned to their glory days since the testing facilities that GLaDOS (the homicidal computer that you “killed” in the first game) and, to some extent, Wheatley, control are very advanced.
Geek wisdom: Sometimes its best to not just take it. There are times when it would actually be beneficial to get angry and fight back! A lot of great people in history have done so: Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington, and even Ghandi have shown that there is a time to fight back for what you believe in.
Now, I don’t want you to protest and I don’t want you to riot over every little thing. Make sure to pick your battles and, when it’s applicable and right, go to your window and yell out “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
Speaking of which…
*That scene was from a movie called Network. Wow, two quotes for the price of one!
From: G. I. Joe
Genre: Television, Cartoons
Who said it?: A lot of Joes
The story behind the quote: GI Joe is a classic cartoon series in the 80’s. While they were mostly known for large scale fight scenes where no one really dies, badass ninjas, and high tech weapons and vehicles (and a really great toyline), they were also known for their PSAs that end each episode. Besides fighting for freedom where ever there’s trouble, GI Joe members would apparently do a lot of community service and hanging around where kids would be (which is kinda creepy if you think about it) and dispensing helpful advice to them.
Each of the PSAs will usually start with a kid about to do something that would put them in danger (ex. giving a stranger their address, or taking medicine without knowing what dose to actually use). One of the Joes would then (magically) show up and tell them what they should do (ex. DON’T DO IT!). Sometimes, they would mix it up a bit, such as giving advice on how to stop a nosebleed or just never giving up.
Below are just a small sample of the 35 PSAs that they released during the original run.
These eventually became very popular and the phase “and knowing is half the battle” became ingrained in all of the kids that were watching the series.
Geek wisdom: While we may actually forget the actual advise given in each of them, we still remember the quote and, in truth, that’s all you need to know. We should try to learn as much as we can. Be it with school, work stuff, or even trivial stuff (like geek wisdom!), the more we know, the better we’ll be in the long run.
From: Batman, specifically, The Dark Knight
Who said it?: The Joker
The story behind the quote: Wow, this is like my 3rd quote from the Batman series! Well, anyway… the quote comes from the film The Dark Knight from 2008. It was delivered by The Joker (portrayed by Heath Ledger in his final acting role before his tragic death). Most of you guys probably know where it comes from but for those 2 people who are reading this yet still haven’t watched it… you really should go watch it first before you read any further. You owe it to yourself.
Viewed the entire thing now? Good. So one of the leaders of the crime families in Gotham had put a hit on the Joker for threatening them. A group come in claiming to have killed the Clown Prince of Crime to collect the bounty. It turns out to be a ruse so that the Joker can get close to the boss and usurp his position. The Joker proceeds to tell a story regarding how he became to look like he does (the viewer isn’t sure if it’s true since he then tells another possible one later in the film). The story, in summary, goes that his father went in a drunken rage cut his mouth in a smile shape since the father thought that his son (the Joker) was too serious.
Geek wisdom: Even though its given by a clearly deranged madman, the Joker has a point. It’s okay to take life seriously. However, we do have to make sure that we take some time now and again to enjoy ourselves. Life doesn’t have to be so serious 24/7. Take a break from all of the stress that life brings and simply relax. Believe me, it’ll help you remain sane.