My wife often makes comments (mostly positive ones) regarding how we are in the midst of raising the most nerdy of children possible, usually after my children do something quite fantastic, like getting excited over me finding a rupee while playing the original Legend of Zelda, and yelling out “RUPEE!” over and over again each time.
I have to admit responsibility over their excitement over things that would have, when I was a child, placed them into the unpopular crowd, labeled with such monikers as nerd, geek, or whatever. However. . . I won’t accept sole responsibility, as my wife definitely shares her fair share of excitement over similar things. But the most recent comment regarding our children’s nerdiness got me thinking.
The above definition for a nerd refers to the non-social aspects of nerdiness. . . being interested in something that cuts you off from the general public. Now, in a sense this may be somewhat accurate, at least historically speaking, as nerds were generally outcasts of sorts, forced to live outside of the popular crowd. . . but the definition here states that the hobby itself is non-social. Considering how many nerdy things revolve around being social, such as table top games, pen and paper games, and. . . well, games in general, since that’s a big recurring item in nerd culture, I don’t see how one can consider the hobbies themselves non-social. The hobbies (once again, historically speaking) may have caused the nerds to be shunned by the many, but I don’t think that the hobbies themselves kept them separate. Even things such as book reading, superheroes, movies, or whatever are generally exciting enough for the nerds to seek out others who are as interested in the same things just so they can converse at length about the mechanisms involved in propelling a interstellar star shp.
Heck, having nieces and nephews who are currently in the proper nerd age, and excited about things that would typically be considered nerdy, they spend all their time talking about their obsessions to whomever they can. . . not merely content to hide in a corner and enjoy their nerdiness alone, they want to share it with everyone.
Nerdiness is, in fact, not about the hobby at all, but about passion. A pure excitement or love of whatever the hell it is you love and being perfectly confident in yourself to show that love outwardly, and proudly. Nerdiness is passionately loving something so much that you want the world to know of your love for that thing. Of course, for it to be truly nerdy, it must fall outside of conventionally “cool” things. . . seeing as for some reason sports lovers do not get considered nerdy, although memorizing the ERA for every single pitcher in the American League seems mighty darn nerdy to me.
And this is where any true definition of nerdiness begins to get a bit hazy. . . When I was a kid, comic books and star wars and star trek were considered quite nerdy, as well as computers and video games and, well, anything else that I was interested in at the time. Today, these are all giant money makers. Comic books are the source for almost every recent box office breaker of recent history, star wars and star trek both have ever-growing franchises that the public at large can’t seem to get enough of, and computers/video games. . . well, check a pocket, you’ve probably got both on hand in the same device at all times.
These are the things that my wife is talking about when she talks about our kids being nerdy, but these are also the things that happen to be the most popular items out there right now.
In other words, these things that I have been teaching my children about, these things that were the same things I was deeply interested in as a child (not to mention as an adult) are the things that appear to be pretty darn far from nerdy nowadays.
But here’s the thing about being a nerd. . . it’s about finding something you love and sticking by it no matter what, even if it does a Phantom Menace on you. Whether you love comic books, Star Wars, the Green Bay Packers, or a great hamburger, you are defining yourself through your interests. And nerds stick with what they love and will defend it to the very end. That’s a trait I think we could afford to see more of today.
Have a good one!