Friday, May 22, 2009

The Big N

It's time I stopped living the lie I've been telling myself and those I love. I know it's going to be hard, admitting to the world what I've been hiding - sucessfully or not - for all these years, but I truly feel that the only way to inner peace is through honesty, and honesty, as scary as it may be, will set us free. Whew. Deep breath.

Folks: I am a nerd.

I feel better already. Seriously, nerds get such a bad rep on TV and in the movies that it's hard to imagine a glamorous, social and well-dressed person (such as myself, naturally) giving themselves up as a nerd. It'd be like a NASCAR driver admitting that he was really into Tintin or something. Although, aside from the incredibly problematic depictions of every culture that doesn't happen to be Belgium, Tintin sort of rules. (I can't believe it took me so long to admit to nerdery. "Tintin rules"? I practically glow on the nerd radar.)

In any case, now that I'm loud, proud, etc., I need to address the totally false assumption that comic books and sci-fi are lame. Specifically, they're the exclusive lame domain of thick-glasses'd losers who have never seen naked people. True: some fans of SF and sequential art are not, as they say, stellar with the social skills. But to equate appreciation of an awesome show like Firefly with some fundamental loser-ness is a mite unfair.

Look, I'll bite: I'm dig conspiracy theory shows and flying car crap. I know who Michio Kaku is. I love Roberta Bondar. I have read more than one book about the end of the world. I like the CSI franchise for its hilariously bad writing and pretend science. I am invested in some pretty nerdy stuff...yet I myself do not fall into the nerd stereotype. Luck? Maybe. But let's examine the facts.

First: most people have a secret love that they don't easily cop to at cocktail parties. It's cool to be interested in new cell phones. It's less cool to be super jazzed about old episodes of Dr. Who. This is why people have a variety of interests: unlike the televised dorks, real nerds tend to be three-dimensional people. I am interested in all those things up there; I also am invested in topics like Canadian literature, bikes, and radically expensive furniture. Plus (and not to toot my own horn or anything) I'm not an uggo, and I like to talk to people. That helps.

The caveat to this is obviously high school, where it's important that everyone have a little box. Boys who were shy with girls, liked comic books/science/weird porn, and didn't dress "right," got that big N on their chests. Which is a shame, really. So much of high school is trying desperately to be thought of as cool. Sometimes, the easiest way to do that is to put as many miles as possible between those kids and yourself. It doesn't do you any favours, though: submerging your own healthy interest in comic books/science/weird porn in order to seem less like those "dweebs" is actually way lamer than the original interest. It's one of those twisty little lies that do us no favours, like claiming the hostess's Dr. Pepper goulash is delicious. Social, face-saving, soul-destroying lies.

But we're not in high school any more. Pretending to like Lost when you actually think it's a huge snore? Chump. Pretening Cosmo saves your life each month when you're really more of a Spacing gal? Weak. Playing down your real interests so people will think you're someone you're not? What? Why would anyone who's not trying to survive high school do that? Embrace it! If all you get are glazed and uncomprehending looks, then move on! But chances are, there will be someone who likes comic books/science/weird porn as much as you...maybe more. We can all nerd out together.

No comments:

Post a Comment