I Became A Geology Nerd Without Realizing It (And There’s No Escape Now)

I’ve lived my life in perfect ignorance. Sure, I knew I’d taken a special liking to literature that talked about rocks and volcanoes, however, I’ve never given it a second thought. That is, until one fateful day when a friend sent me an internet post titled “Top Ten Signs You Might Be A Geologist” with the short message “this you” that lacked any kind of punctuation suggesting it might be just a teasing question.

I knew by then that I’d taken a liking to geology, given I’d written an entire geology section to an upcoming guide to Hawai’i by Global Treks & Adventures and spilled around more geology puns than I’d ever admit I knew. (I still consider myself lucky that Jen, basically my boss at GT&A, didn’t fire me the moment she received my first geology pun-filled email, at the end of which I wrote “If you think those are awful… my sediments, exactly… (Please don’t fire me.)” and to which she replied: “Hahahahahahahaha I’m promoting you.”)

I wanted to refute my friend’s claim. I’m not a geologist; can’t be. I didn’t study geology apart from that one college class and lab where I had my big realization that I enjoyed the subject and that I—gasp—was good at something science-related. However, the very first point the writer of the article made, ‘You have ever had to respond “yes” to the question, “What have you got in here, rocks?”‘ hit me right in the gut. I’d been correctly accused of lugging rocks around in the past. But that by itself doesn’t mean anything, does it? Everybody likes to pick up a rock here and there…

Embed of a picture. Two people have a conversation. Person A holds person B’s suitcase and says: “Wow, man! This is pretty heavy! What’s in here, rocks?” Person B replies, quite agitated: “Yes. I am a geologist.”

One match could be a coincidence. It must have been. I continued on reading. “Your rock garden is located inside your house,” said the article. I looked towards the shelf that, besides a money tree and a cactus, holds a selection of rocks and minerals. I could almost see it looking back at me, smirking.

That also doesn’t mean anything. Anyone would display the greenest, most beautiful green chert from the Franciscan Complex they’ve ever found! Oh… okay, I might be starting to see a problem here… but knowing what Franciscan Complex is doesn’t mean anything. Does it? For example, my conversations with people in real life and on social media are completely normal and mundane. I don’t talk about rocks and don’t drop awful puns all the time.

Embed of a tweet. Celeste Labdez: “I’m feeling a bit achy from my booster shot. Cheer me up with a science joke!” Pavlína Marková: “I had a good joke about shale but it’s kinda schist now. Trying to make it more gneiss before I share.”

Oh… okay, moving on. (But before we do really move on, let me explain the genius at work in that tweet; shale metamorphizes into schist, which then metamorphizes into gneiss. Genius, innit?) Back to the article from my friend, which says… “Your photos include people only for scale…

Like a true scientist, I hear Kyle’s voice in my head. He said this, he did. The memory is still very, very clear. We were in Waipi’o Valley and I’d just asked Kristen: “Could you please stand right there? I need a person for scale.” I still have that photo on my phone, together with a note on how tall Kristen is.

Another point the post brought up, and one that might be a little damaging, was the amount of beer geologists supposedly consume. It’s more of a joke than reality at this point, and I myself don’t really drink… but that can’t stop the reality that I can open beer bottles with basically anything, including other beer bottles, from existing. But this might also be because I’m Czech, and beer is a thing as common as oxygen there.

And the #1 sign you might be a geologist: You have ever uttered the phrase “have you tried licking it” with no sexual connotations involved.” The post went for the jugular, really. Theoretically, I haven’t uttered that exact phrase… I told my friend to “just lick it,” which is a bit different… Ah, whom am I kidding?

Add the fact that I got distracted by rocks during a race on Mount Diablo, am in the process of using geology puns to name all my Strava activities for the month, and call things that happened a few million years ago “recent” and the diagnosis is clear: I’m a geology nerd.

Embed of a coastline photo with visible rock layers. Text over photo reads 4 million years old “new formation”

I should have known earlier to be honest, given the following all fits, even though my geology studies encompassed only one class and one lab, as previously stated.

Embedded screenshot that reads: How to spot a geology student: wears Northface, Patagonia, L. L. Bean, or some combination of the above. If not that, they’re wearing work out gear. Wears Tevas, Chacos, or hiking boots every day, even though your campus definitely has paved sidewalks. Has a gigantic water bottle clipped onto their overly rugged backpack. Likes terrible puns. Has been to every national park in a 300 mile radius. Bites rocks. Tries to get you to bite rocks, too.

I realized that the friends who stuck around to witness it are the real deal. I wouldn’t have stuck around myself for so long had I known. Then again, one of them said, “If you ever need someone to go look at rocks with you, let me know,” so maybe they stuck around because we all combined have only one brain cell and we share it.

This post might be a warning to you, dear friends, that in the future, you might find random rants about rocks that nobody asked for, just like in my post from Glacier National Park where I went off about how old the rocks are and how they deposited at the bottom of an ancient sea. It’s happened before and it might happen again, and you know what? I’m not sorry. (Yet.)

As for Jen and her response to my emails which never ceased to include a horrendous amount of geology puns; her last email to me, at the end of the internship, read: “You’re so awesome!!!! I’m going to miss your puns!!!!!”

My last sign-off (to both Jen, my editor, and now you, dear friends)?

“Anyway, I’m going to pack my marble-ous puns and wish you both a great day!
May the Quartz be with you,
Pavlína

PS: I have a new favourite catchphrase: Live, Laugh, Lava!”

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