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The lost nerd treasures of Suffolk

As I walked along the sidewalk beside North Main Street on Sunday, eyes glued to the small screen on the mobile phone in my hand, I realized something about myself that has always been patently clear to nearly everyone else: I’m a geek.

If you’re old enough to remember that word being used in connection with carnivals and circuses, let me clarify for you that I’m speaking of modern-day geeks — nerds, if you will. Folks in our newsroom — along with my wife — can attest that I’m a bit strange sometimes, but I hope they don’t think I’m ready to go on the carnival circuit as a featured attraction quite yet.

Still, as I walked around the downtown area, eyes fixed on the compass that appeared on my phone’s screen, I felt like such a geek that I half expected people to start throwing coins at me. (“Hey, Ma! Look at the geek! Let’s throw a penny at him and make a wish!”)

As I said, most of the folks who know me already were aware of … let’s call it my attraction to technical things. When a new gadget hits the market, my wife has to chain me to the couch and take away my wireless modem to make sure that our bank account avoids a direct hit. And when she finally breaks down and allows me to make that purchase, she prepares herself to be a gadget widow for the next week or so as I explore all the fun I can have with my new electronic toy.

In the finest spirit of gadgetry, Sunday found us downtown, following a GPS signal whose job it was to lead us to hidden treasure.

You might be surprised to learn that there’s treasure hidden in downtown Suffolk, but it’s true. I’m working on a story for the next edition of Suffolk Living magazine — set to hit newsstands on June 1 — about geocaching, a hobby in which nerds like me grab a GPS or GPS-enabled phone and go out into the world to find things that people who are even nerdier than they are have hidden for them to find.

It’s right up my alley, my kind of thing, and I’m expecting that it will make for another interesting story in our new magazine — even for those who don’t consider themselves geeks or nerds or even “attracted to technical things.”

I’ve still a bit of research to do for my article, and there are still dozens of “caches” hidden around Suffolk that I have yet to discover. So if you see a short, round, bald guy walking around town and staring at his cell phone — with a pretty redhead following along and trying not to roll her eyes — give us a shout and wish us luck. We’re on the hunt for treasure.