by Bob Suicide
The other day I came across a picture which had the caption: “OMG, I love macaroni so much. I’m such a nerd.” This irked me to the very core of my being. Your quaint quirks don’t make you a nerd. Going to see a comic-based movie doesn’t make you a nerd.
Jeff Foxworthy has his famous You Might Be A Redneck If… sketch, and with the rising mainstream popularity of geek culture, there comes a necessity to distinguish true nerds from recent converts, so I thought I’d come up with a similarly styled list of rules to help separate the fo’ realz from the wannabes.
Now, many other lists say that nerds must wear glasses (preferably with tape around the bridge), speak Klingon (binary, C++, or some other geeky language), and have all the social graces of an ostrich with its head in the sand, but these should not be the required defining hallmarks of a great, eclectic group of hardcore fans of all things geek: video games, science, science fiction, comics, etc.
We are more than the negative stereotypes that have often been levied against us. So without further ado, I present my homage to Foxworthy and true geekdom, You Might be a Nerd if…
1. You watch people play video games the way the mainstream populace watches sports.
I’ve written about this often in many of my blogs, so I won’t get into it too much, but this is a true mark of geekdom for me. There’s some deep love of the gameplay apparent in the simple act of watching it occur.
2. You have a “second favorite” astronomer.
I actually found myself saying this in a random conversation about Tesla coils the other day and had an internal realization. There’s something distinctly nerdy about having a list of favorite astronomers the way (to use the sports metaphor again) a person had a dream-team of their favorite sports players. (Am I using that metaphor correctly? :P)
Of course, it doesn’t have to be astronomers specifically. We all have our particular preference when it comes to scientific study: physics, biology, paleontology, etc. But, if you’ve got a list of inspiring experts in their field, you can be sure that is the hallmark of a geek.
And…In case you were wondering, the “second favorite” astronomer I was talking about was none other than Bad Astronomy blogger Phil Plait. And, my first is the wonderful Carl Sagan and there should be an honorable mention for the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
3. You have an app for that.
Whether the group needs directions, tip calculation, or launch codes for a rocket, you’ve got the app that makes it all possible. You may have built it or just pressed the “download” button with panache, but everyone knows you’re the go-to tech person. Far more reliable that the App Store’s top-ten list, you know what applications are useful and what mobile games are addictingly fun.
Part of this also implies that you’re the IT department for any friend or family member you come into contact with. You can give them recommendations on which apps and games to download…but you’ll also have to show them how to download it as well.
4. You know the three laws.
Isaac Asimov’s three laws that govern robotics originally started as a work of fiction, but it’s application now extends to modern robotics. What does knowledge of the three laws represent? Its importance is twofold; it indicates a love of sci-fi and an understanding of ongoing technological advances. Most of us geeks have an appreciation for the blending of our current technology and the creative ideas of “the unknown future.” We have favorite science fiction authors such as Ian Banks and Ian M. Banks ;D , but we also have a deep desire to make that fiction a reality through organizations such as SETI.
5. You had replicas of your favorite comic hero before their movie came out.
I hate to use that age-old hipster motto of “before it was cool,” but in this case there’s something to be said for the division between a fan who is so devoted he scours Etsy for a commissioned Green Lantern ring or Infinity Gauntlet replica before Warner Bros. and Paramount made them easy to acquire. The loving attention to detail that cosplayers and replica collectors have, should be lauded considering the difficulty that they surmount before these things become popular and readily available for mass consumption. Like the devoted fan who created an almost screen-accurate C-3P0 costume back in 1977 before references were as prevalent as they were today. That’s nerdy! And, that’s love.
So, yes there are some negative stereotypes that may or may not be true of us nerds. But, they shouldn’t be what define us or our culture. We should be defined by our love and our interests, and by our knowledge and our devotion. The point being? You might be a geek if you’re really cool.
Confessions of a Shy Gamer
Red or Blue, Wonder Woman’s Boots Were Made For Walking
The Geek’s Guide to Getting Down Vol. 1 (A Brief Introduction)
The Geek’s Guide to Getting Down Vol. 2: Fragging and Other Group Activities
The Geek’s Guide to Getting Down Vol. 3: Co-Op Mode
The Geek’s Guide to Getting Down Vol. 4: The Blue Pill Or The Red Pill
The Geek’s Guide to Getting Down Vol. 5: Experiencing Pon Farr? Bring deodorant.