Brooks v. Geiken: Close Friends or Mortal Enemies


If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being taught by Mr. Brooks or Mr. Geiken you may know of their intense rivalry. They are famous for their playground insults and witty one-liners towards each other. One might wonder what could cause these two, fully grown adults to act like manchildren. One might also just wish they’d start acting their age so they can focus on their learning experience. Others might just be glad to experience their unique, hilarious relationship.

In order to understand their rivalry you have to go back to the beginning. Brooks was a new teacher at Northeast and Geiken had been assigned to him as a mentor. However, the way Brooks paints it, he was really there to be of assistance to Geiken. He makes it sound as if he was the true mentor. Geiken, on the other hand, would have you believe that Brooks was the one who really needed assistance. In his mind, Brooks, was a little man who needed his hand held throughout his beginning days. When asked about his first impression on Geiken, Brooks claimed “He doesn’t do anything that’s interesting.” It seems as if Brooks sees himself as simply superior to his colleague. In fact, when asked about the rivalry he said that it isn’t much of a rivalry, because Geiken is “beneath him.” He also claimed to not “roll in the muck with losers,” and described Geiken as “jealous and obsessed.” Geiken had more of a physical description when asked about his first impression on Brooks. He said, that “he’s gangly with thinning hair”. He also referred to him as a “creepy guy who smells weird.”

There are many interesting and entertaining stories that have resulted from their unique relationship. One such story that stands out involves a confiscated bumper sticker. Geiken had confiscated a rather risque bumper sticker from a student and promptly decided that the best place for it was on Brooks’s car. He then drove around with the sticker on his car for a week without noticing it. The contents of said sticker have not been disclosed to the public, but both Brooks and Geiken have described it as sufficiently inappropriate. Another entertaining aspect is the longstanding tradition of Geiken presenting a picture of himself to Brooks with a personal message on it. One such message said, “You’re a loser and you’ll always be a loser.”

When asked about one thing that they wanted to say to the other person, Brooks told Geiken to “keep reaching for the stars little fella.” This was a recurring theme with Brooks. He continuously stated that Geiken was in fact, a small man stuck in the body of Shrek. He also compared him to the likes of Lenny, from the John Steinbeck novel, Of Mice and Men. Geiken, on the other hand, simply said “Stop coming by my room and distracting my students.”

Although their words do seem quite harsh, they assure everyone that they are, in all actuality, friends. In fact, Geiken said “It’s not real” and “It’s all in good fun.” Brooks also stresses that it isn’t a legitimate feud and that they are really friends. One student, however, took it quite seriously. Evidently this student was on “Team Geiken” and was so upset with Brooks for his comments about Geiken that they threatened to drop his class. Other than that hiccup, they both insist that their rivalry doesn’t affect or influence their ability to teach negatively. In fact, Brooks claimed that it could be argued, that their little feud actually helps keeps students interested in his class.

So it seems they aren’t mortal enemies. The childish insults and comments some people would simply consider mean, are just an act. After all this, what at first seems like a mutual hatred, is really a mask for a close friendship. Or is it?