"'When your mama was the geek, my dreamlets,'"

In the early 20th Century the word 'geek' started to be used to describe a performer in a carnival sideshow, presented to the audience as a wild man, who would perform sensational acts such as fighting each other, slinging around their own excrement and biting off the heads of live animals. They were often transients and addicts who would go to extreme lengths for money and as such were often regarded with disdain and ostracised by other carnival workers, which may contribute to the modern usage of the term.