Nerd. Geek. Spaz. Poindexter. Einstein. Braniac. Pencilneck. Dweeb. Heck, you know ‘em, hair parted on the side, WAY over on the side, glasses taped together at the nose piece, pocket protector, collared shirt buttoned all the way up, chattering away endlessly about Star Trek, or Star Wars, or how Spock could easily handle Darth Vader, and always way, way, way out of fashion. You know the type, right? Or DO you? Lately I’ve been wonderin’ if maybe, just maybe, those stereotypical traits aren’t the only clues to Nerdism and here’s what got me ponderin’ the possibility that I may have joined the ranks of the dangerously un-hip.

One day recently, I was building a Batman model down in my room. (This act alone should be considered a major clue). Now this room is literally stuffed wall to wall with “nerd” stuff. Most of it is Batman collectibles that I have been accumulating since Adam and Burt were wisecrackin’ across the family Zenith. Up until a year or so ago, this treasure trove of Batmania was consigned to card board boxes in a storage room and lugged around each time we moved. That is until my son decided that I should prominently display this load of Bat-stuff and miraculously my wife went along with the idea. So, now it is meticulously arranged, crammed, and shoved all over this tiny lil’ room. Thrown in for good measure, (almost like I was afraid there might be a square inch of shelf surface showing!) are my Universal Monster Collectibles, mostly Frankenstein, some of which I’ve had for decades and a lot of which I’ve actually acquired recently, (damn you, Ebay!).
Okay, back to the story; I get on up to go over to the wash room to clean out some brushes and I happen to glance up into the mirror and ……. AAAAAAAGH! It hits me like a ton of pocket protectors! There in the mirror, starin’ back at me, is a fella’ wearin’ not one but TWO pairs of eye magnifyin’ devices. One, a pair of readers (damn age!) and the other a set of those goofy lookin’ visor magnifiers that jewelers use to see really, really small stuff. This guy, the one starin’ back at me that CAN’T be me, is also wearin’ a Famous Monsters of Filmland T-shirt ………and likin’ it!! Returning to my lil’ room, the one with the aforementioned “stuff” all over it, I pause to take it all in. There is confirmation of my nerd “tendencies” all over the place. Action figures, toys, games, models, collectibles, comic books, graphic novels, posters, banners, it’s all here. Batman, Joker, Catwoman, Frankenstein, Dracula, Freddy & Jason, all present and accounted for. At this point, I have to ask myself; Are these the normal trappings of a middle aged family man?

Another example, the other day I was browsing around the mall, killin’ time waitin’ for my wife, or daughter, or both to do their shopping thing, and I strolled on into Sun Coast Video. You know, one of the few stores in the mall that I actually LIKE to go in. The others are KB Toys, Spencer Gifts, and EB Games. Hmmmmmmm, are we noticing any kind of nerdy trend here? So anyway, I’m over in the horror/sci-fi section checkin’ out the titles, seeing if I can take advantage of their 2 for $20 deal and I overhear the two employees getting’ pretty worked up about the show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. I’m startin’ to crack up as these two go at it, both presenting their various arguments for why the show attracts a certain type of viewer, and how Buffy is really a metaphor for life, and Angel is the perfect antithesis of the good-evil lexis. Crap like that, I’m chokin’ back the laughs. Of course I’m thinkin’ to myself, what a pair of dweebs! Straight out of a cartoon, man.

So, I make my pick and wander on over to the counter to pay. The fella, one of the one’s involved in the “Buffy” debate comes over and comments on my pick; “Oh, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, I’ve never seen it. Is it any good?” And before I even notice, I’m prattlin’ on about the movie, how it was a real trendsetter for the 70’s and reflected the social scene of that time and how Vincent Price was a master, and blah, blah, blah …BASICALLY HAVING THE SAME DISCUSSION THAT I WAS, ONLY MOMENTS AGO, CRITICIZING FOR BEING THE PINACLE OF PINHEADEDNESS!!! As I walked out of the store, it hit me. I liked having that discussion. I actually knew what I was talkin’ about, believed in what I was saying, and, this is the important part, was excited and passionate about it! Waddya know about that?

I guess there must be levels, you know? So maybe I’m not a “full-on nerd”, but judging by some criteria, let’s say it’s possible I have tendencies. The great part is, I don’t care! These days, with most of the mundane, mandatory, Monday through Friday crap I have to wade through, those moments with my “stuff” are some of the best. I get enthused and excited building models, or grabbin’ up a cool movie, or stumblin’ on a rare Batman collectible, or meetin’ other like minded folk on some bulletin board. It’s all good and it makes everything else just that much more tolerable. And I think that’s a feeling that all nerds, even the terminal ones, share. How ‘bout you?

HEY YOU! Got an opinion? Shoot me an email and let me know what you think.