Friday, March 4, 2011

You're calling me a nerd? Why, thank you!

I received a private message today from somebody I never met, unsure of how he even knew me or anything I’ve done, and it was so funny and laughable that I thought it warranted a blog post to explain my viewpoint on the subject. The subject matter of his message was not positive, rather it was an attempt to troll me for my interests in what are traditionally considered “nerdy” hobbies. His message was one sentence long, typed in unforgivably bad grammar with little attention paid to spelling and punctuation, and it simply called me out for being a nerd. References to my being a virgin, having no life and even a few choice expletives also tagged along for the ride. This actually made my day, believe it or not., and I’ve been laughing out loud because of it.

Defending myself or rebutting against this stupidity is a fool’s errand, so I thought I would examine the meaning behind his words and why this troll, albeit unintentionally, is paying me a complement by calling me a nerd. As a follower of several movie, video game, comic book and science fiction blogs and video channels, I see comments like these popping up all the time and it makes me wonder why these trolls think that calling people a nerd is an insult. The answer is simple, these trolls are from a generation in which some (not all mind you) consider nerdiness a bad thing, most likely between the 12 to 16 age demographic in which social pressure is at it’s highest. I remember those years well and I remember the stigma that nerds, dweebs, geeks and poindexters (remember that one?) had around the school. These were the kids who hung around in small groups, or were perfectly content to walk alone, reading comics and science-fiction novels, playing Magic cards or reading Anime novels. They were often bullied, made fun of and shunned by girls. These were also the kids who excelled in school and are probably making large salaries in cushy jobs now, while the jocks and bullies that picked on them are likely serving their fries whilst wearing a paper hat. Still, back in the day, most people didn’t want to be considered nerds or be seen associating with them, so to an extent I understand why it’s a negative thing to this demographic.

So why is calling me a nerd considered a complement? Simple, because it’s amazing how cool being a nerd becomes as you get older. Once you get past the pressure of conformity that high school imposes on you, your mentality and outlook on life changes and you suddenly realize that there is nothing wrong in indulging in these kinds of things. I have plenty of friends who are fans of video games, Star Trek and Star Wars, Anime and comic books, and these are some of the coolest and most intelligent people I know. I have also met some younger people online, through Youtube and a few of the forums I frequent, who share the same qualities. We all grew up with these hobbies and we now have the income and the time to properly enjoy them as adults. Video gamers are also hugely popular with people of all ages and backgrounds, so it’s no longer considered a solitary hobby that only lonely people engage in. In short, I’m a 30 year old nerd and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Contrary to what some might think, being a nerd has not impacted my life in any negative way; I have a job, plenty of friends and a loving girlfriend. Not bad for a dweeb, eh?

In light of the fact that these people probably don’t know any better, calling them trolls might be a little harsh; maybe ignorant or misguided is a better way to describe them. By specifically calling me a nerd, this guy has vindicated himself because he either wants to feel like he’s above my hobbies or it gives him some juvenile thrill. I venture that most of the things that this guys has accused me of, such as not getting laid or having no life, are exactly what he is guilty of himself. If not, why would he be taking the time to send these spurious, hate-filled messages when his time is better spent doing other things…like having a life? Riddle me that. So my response to this anonymous hater is to embrace nerds or at least be nicer to them. The nerd you pick on today could end up being your boss tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. You're actually a geek, not a nerd. To quote Milhouse, "Nerds are smart." Both are still insults (and should be). By calling yourself one, even if you think it's something to be proud of, is still acknowledging that there's something wrong with it. Just like self-identifying as a jock is bad, as you're acknowleding (if you don't realize it) that you conform to the stereotype of the jock.