Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tripping the Nerd Fantastic

Every August the city of Indianapolis hosts a small gathering of gaming enthusiasts in what has affectionately called "The Best Four Days in Gaming."  This so called Gen Con brings about 50,000 people together to play board games (Settlers of Catan), role playing games (Dungeons & Dragons), card games (Magic: the Gathering), miniature games (Battletech), and reindeer games (no Rudolphs allowed). They also have Live Action Role Playing, seminars about gaming, movies about gaming, a dance, plenty of gamer funk, and Wil Wheaton. It's nerd Christmas in geek Shangri-La -- and I've been attending for about eight years.

I guess that makes me a nerd, or a geek, or a dweeb, or a whatever (except everyone knows that's Gonzo the Great). I'm fine with that, except I really didn't know that I resided in nerd-dom until someone challenged my belonging.  The conversation happened at the last Gen Con when I sat down to play a game with three friends and a guy we didn't know.

GUY: (small talk about tv shows we watch)... and I love Community, but unfortunately it's going to suck now that Dan Harmon left.

ME: (being awesome) I don't ever get to see Community since I don't have cable and can only watch TV on the internet.  I'm surprised that such a niche-type show is so hard to find online.  My favorite sitcom is the Big Bang Theory...

GUY: (Interrupting douchebag)  No self-respecting nerd would ever like that show.  The characters are stereotypes of everything we stand for, and the physics they are supposedly <finger quote> experts <finger quote> in is so subpar and generally, flat out wrong.  Why are you even here?

ME: You're mean.

That night I went home, cried a little bit acted manly, and thought more about nerd culture.  I like RPGs, video games, and superhero movies, doesn't that make me a nerd?  And if so, have I always been a nerd?  I remember getting all excited about playing Star Wars in my Han Solo underoos with my sister and cousins at my grandparents house in Abilene, Kansas.  Or staying up all night at Justin's house when we uncovered his old Atari 2600.  Or pouring hour upon hour devouring Choose your Own Adventure books, even when I had to hide my reading under the covers with a flashlight.

Nerdity has quietly swept into my psyche without me even knowing it, even as I broke swimming records and attended social functions.  Creeping like a ninja with a pocket protector, I've been stabbed in the back by a +5 vorpal sword of geek.  Shame on you, mean gaming guy (who smelled of Cheetos and broken dreams) for doubting my nerd allegiance.  And shame on me for not realizing it sooner.

But really, aren't we all nerds.  Yeah, I'm talking to you, guy who spent all night camped out in front of the Apple store for a new iPhone 5.  And you, mom who wasted two hours just to get off of level 167 of Candy Crush.  And even you, dude who obsesses over the choice to take DeMarco Murray or Montee Ball in the 7th round of your 5th fantasy football league.  The sooner we all admit it, the sooner we can stop the nerd rage and all live in harmonious splendor.  Well, until Star Wars, Episode VII.

1 comment:

  1. When anyone questions my Nerd allegiance, I just refer them to the "I'll Still Be A Geek After Nobody Thinks its Chic" by Marion Call. Basically, nobody defines me but me! Here's the link.