I use my bookshelf as my personal trophy box, full of items that remind me of great books I’ve read, cool Ultimate tournaments I went to in college or awesome video games that I used to play with friends. But on a second look, I begin to doubt how cool the bookcase really is. The Wheel of Time and Lord of the Rings series take up most of the book space, while copies of World of Warcraft and Star Wars bobbleheads function as bookends on other levels. Maybe I’m not so cool after all.
But I read a column in this month’s Wired magazine that outlined several reasons why it’s cool to be a nerd now. Apparently something happened in the late ’80s where Dungeons and Dragons went mainstream and led to the acceptance of Lord of the Rings. Suddenly it’s okay to openly support geeky culture, although the true geeks might be ashamed of it. I’ve never really felt like a nerd or a geek, so to speak, because I’ve always had friends who thought this stuff was cool too. Maybe playing baseball and/or ultimate frisbee my whole life evened me out to a perfect mix of one part nerd, one part wannabe athlete, two parts whatever else. The 14-year-old version of me had a hard time impressing girls because I played MUDs and wore open-toed flip-flops with socks, but even that stuff actually started working by the time I was 16 (for the most part).
So I guess I’m not too ashamed of my roots. They actually helped me find friends when I moved away from home and gave me street cred when talking to some of my sources on my job. I may not know a lot about business finances or engineering projects, Mr. Source, but how about I wow you with obscure Wookiee facts?
So now I’m looking for a new nerdy passion. I’ve considered taking classes to learn to draw and/or animate, but I think that would be way too much trouble (I’ll simply suck at drawing forever). Whenever I finally buy a Canon, I might turn into a photography recluse, but that’s still a way off. While I hunt for my next geeky pasttime, perhaps some of nerdy friends can share some ideas? Please make them inexpensive. Remember, I’m a journalist here.
Oh yeah, don’t suggest paintball. It’s already on the to-do list.