Moment of Nerd Realization: And the Winners Are…
?Real quick, before I get into the Honorable Mentions — I am really, really pleased to see how many nerd girls read TR (or at least want free t-shirts). I’ve always wanted TR to be for all types of nerds, of all interests, guys and gals, so when I see at least a 25% of TR’s readers are girls, I end up obnoxiously pleased with myself. I must be doing something right. Thank you ladies, and I’ll try to keep it worth your while despite the occasional desperate plea for sex from the nerd boys.
Now for the contest proper. Again, so many entries were unbelievably awesome and deserving of TR shirts. Even trying to narrow down the Honorable Mentions was agony because of all the great entries I couldn’t mention — as always, take some time and read the whole page if you have the time. It’s fascinating stuff. I’d also like to take a moment to recognize everyone who almost missed out on sex, actually missed out on sex, or actively avoided sex because of a nerdy pursuit. You guys are awesome. Here are a few of the other notable entries:
? Rubyrose for “When I was in debate club and I had joined just because it was “Kirk vs. Picard”, I was for Picard and I fucking wiped the floor with that other douche”
? DoctorSmashy for “I knew I was a nerd the second I saw a superhero statue and got an erection.”
? Kayla, for “Who wants to buy this, I’ve rubbed it on me bum.”
? korg20000BC for “In year 6 the teacher asked us to write our ambitions and what we wanted to achieve by the end of the year. Other kids were writing about how they wanted to be a doctor or fireman. I realised that something was different when I wrote that I wanted to write a Basic D&D module.”
? Tmurda for “If the opposing team continues to score about one goal every five minutes, and we continue score one every twenty, then what does my goals per minute average have to be for the remaining two minutes if I want my dad to think I’m normal?”
? Zidel333 for bringing Robert Jordan’s nonsense into youth basketball
? hacker for doing it IN POINT FORM
? Jerry for getting a leadership award somehow for playing Dungeons & Dragons
? Patracolos for taking calculus four times just to prove a point
? Tannerama for going the ramen route not for comics, but for a magazine about comics
? Baltimoron, for defending his Z-Men shirt
? Cavity_Dog for playing Guess Who with Baron Harkonnen in seventh grade
? Jack Dooley, for his honesty
? Law Dog, for being a jock with a secret love of AD&D
? LJSLarsson for taking a hit for Darkwing Duck
? Beretta Paige for “Needless to say I got in trouble for coming to school half-naked. It was still a most awesome day. I spent all of recesses chasing kids around and generally making a menace of myself.”
? Kiala for “The morning I had to explain to a police officer that my wallet had been stolen the night before by a stripper and the only thing of real value in it was my laminated MST3K I.D. card.
He put it in the police report”
? Sylvia for winning a library read-a-thon at the age of 2
? AJTHEFirstman for “So, naturally, I broke up with her. I told her I really wanted to focus on Pokemon and she was getting in the way of my life.”
? RachelB for “I learned mixed-martial arts just so I could participate in a “Star Wars” fanfic.”
? Michaela for being a “nerd nympho” who will beat you to death with a videogame controller
? Zade for being thorough
? Dane_Gal, for bumming us all out
? magneticwave for “I always knew, but it was especially obvious to me when I turned down a date from someone I was interested in because the guy in question misquoted Firefly while asking.”
And a special Honorable Mention for keepoffthegrass:
” paid a company $500 to dress up like Batman (keaton-style) to hang out at the cocktail hr of my wedding.
His only instructions…drink and mingle. If he was asked why he was there he had to reply “I know him, we’re friends.” Having Batman casually enter a conversation with a beer in hand bringing up “that time with catwoman” was epic.
I imagine keepoffthegrass knew he was a nerd well before that, but that’s still totally fucking awesome. The winners are after the jump.
I mentioned on the TR twitter that I was having a nightmare of a time choosing two winners from four incredible entries. Well, I came up with a solution — since there’s not going to be a TR contest this weekend (I’ll be off Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving), I decided I might as well award shirts to all four. Yes, I am your kind and benevolent nerd god, except when I’m cruel and vindictive and post FFFs. Here’s the reader’s choice:
The pinnacle moment, the moment I realized when I would forever be an unabashed nerd, without any hope for any sort of reversal, occurred during a desperate time when I wrote for the high school newspaper, and when I announced my “nerdom”, I did so in front of the entire damn school.
From a young age I’d felt that I was… Different. While other girls my age were on the brink of discovering makeup and boys, I was discovering Pokemon cards, anime, and the Twilight Zone. While they wrote love notes to boys, I worked at a furious pace on fanfiction. I was awful at sports, once getting hit in the face with a hockey goalie NET.
While they had pictures up of N*SYNC and Backstreet boys lining their walls, I had the Beatles, Lupin 3rd, and even a Red Dwarf poster on my ceiling. Whenever I have a rough day, I look up at Arnold Rimmer and know tomorrow will be a better one.
This built up, and over time, I became even more nerdy–The anime collection got bigger, I branched out into SciFi, I slowly became the residential tech geek for my family, and also the family spell checker, sometimes taking calls for someone looking for the correct way to spell “potatoes”.
The same year I made editor-in-chief for my school paper I was science club president. This has little to do with the fact, though, and it was around the same time I assumed the role as school paper kaiser I was given the assignment to write whatever I wanted. Fun, right? More like terrifying.
So I started to write what I know. I talked about different anime series, different Sci-Fi series, cons I’d gone to. Then it struck me.
Damn it. I was a nerd. And I hadn’t realized it until that very moment. I’d been living with a lie that there was a possibility of normalcy–There wasn’t. I could dance the Hare Hare Yukai. There was no hope for me.
I still ran with it, writing the article and having it in at the latest possible deadline. As usual high school tropes should have followed, I should have earned a world of ass-kicking. Or at least being shoved in a trash can (the lockers were much too small). Instead the result was… The polar opposite. More people came up to me to confess their own nerdom. Cheerleaders who were Trekkies, “Thug-Life” looking kids who also played Yu-Gi-Oh. It was surreal.
I’d come to realize I was a nerd, and I was all right with that. Today I drive a car that proudly displays my nerdom, with Invader Zim, the Punisher, and FLCL stickers. I draw fan art. I had to make an assignment for a college flash animation class, and made it of anger angered Captain Kirk screaming “KHANNNNN!”. My teacher is a nerd, and appreciated it.
I’ve come to accept that I’m not life everyone else, and I won’t be. I’m a nerd.
And damnit I’m proud.
Well put, Lucy, I’m proud of you too. I like your temporary denial that knowing how to do the Hare Hare Yukai dance made you a nerd; it’s exactly like me trying to claim I wasn’t a nerd while having an anime character tattooed on my shoulder. The next winner gets the “Threaten Rob” special prize:
Back when I was a young’un, I didn’t know that watching Star Trek TNG and listening to classical music wasn’t normal. Or wearing anything other than a baseball cap. It seems that the hick public school in the middle of a cornfield (I’m not joking) that I went to had an overdeveloped sense of conformity, and I definitely didn’t adhere to their rules.
I was in 3rd grade and we moved there in October. I knew I was a nerd a few weeks later when I wore a beret to school and was teased mercilessly. Incidentally, 3rd grade was the year I got glasses too. Over the years, they always found new things about me to make fun of, whether it be the frequency of which I had to blow my nose, or the music I listened to (it seems country is the only cool music in the world).
I even buckled under at one point and tried to fit in (thankfully, it didn’t last long), but it didn’t matter. I had few friends, and only two long-term. It got bad enough that my parents eventually enrolled me in a private school. Now, I’m 23 and have recently been released from a mental hospital. According to the doctors, I’m a pre-schizophrenic and now have to be on anti-psychotics. I’d be a liar if I blamed it all on my public school experience, but those years from grades 3-8 made me a large part of who I am today. It certainly made me a lot more stubborn and individualistic, which are two qualities that I value a lot, but it didn’t instill me with a lot of fond childhood memories.
And dammit Rob, if that doesn’t make me worthy of a t-shirt, I should stop taking my medicine, break into your house and steal one of yours, whether it’s an official TR shirt or just something out of your dirty laundry. This is completely within the realm of possibility of someone who is CERTIFIABLY FUCKING CRAZY.
As per Hmmm…’s request, I will give him a shirt from my dirty laundry; I’m pretty sure I actually have a TR one with pit stains on it. Oh, there was only one “Threaten Rob” special prize, so don’t bother yelling that you’re coming by TR HQ with a drill, a nail file and an erection. You may skullfuck me, but you won’t get a shirt. Next is a entrant who wins because he actually knows the exact moment he realized he was a nerd:
The exact moment, and I mean exact moment, that I realized I was a nerd was 5:00pm Mountain Time, Wednesday, June 21, 1984.
I was in the summer between eighth and ninth grade and had taken my girlfriend to see Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, which had been playing at the local mall theater for a few weeks. Although I liked science fiction in general, up until this point I had considered myself only a casual fan of Star Trek Meaning, I watched it in syndication as a younger kid and knew all the major characters. That was about it. I remember seeing the first Trek movie in the theater and falling asleep halfway through and as for the seminal Star Trek II, I didn’t bother watching it until it was on HBO. So at this point in life, I walked into the theater to see Star Trek III considering it just another movie to watch (and possibly a place to make out with my girlfriend) during the summer. No more, no less.
So the movie was plodding along up until the scene where Kirk and his crew turned on the Enterprise’s self-destruct sequence before abandoning the ship to the Klingons. At the scene where the Klingons got to the Enterprise’s bridge and at the exact moment the self-destruct timer reached zero, by pure coincidence the hourly charm on my calculator watch beeped 5:00pm and then the Enterprise exploded. There was just something a little too visceral about my watch beeping at that exact moment, and I sat riveted to the screen for the entire rest of the movie, despite my girlfriend’s best efforts to pull me back down into the dark seats for more clumsy adolescent kisses. “Stop a minute,” I protested. “Oh my god…the Enterprise actually blew up! The Enterprise! Did you see that? And did you hear my calculator watch go off at that exact second?!”
“You sound like a big nerd.” She said in more than moderate annoyance.
“Yeah, I guess so. But that was the Enterprise! Kirk destroyed his own ship! That ship was famous. Is this gonna be the last movie? How can there be a Star Trek without an Enterprise?” I went on and on.
We eventually broke up about three months later, but I was hardly broken up about it because by then I was spending all my free time memorizing over the spec sheets for assorted Federation and Klingon vessels as described in my newfound hobby: FASA’s Star Trek Role Playing Game.
Looking back at that afternoon in the theater, all the warning signs of my ostensible nerdery were in place: The crooked smeared glasses, the semi-greasy hair, the calculator watch, the affectionate girlfriend I was ignoring and, most importantly, the intense emotional reaction to a major event in a science-fiction movie. All it took was the little confession for me to realize that, yes, I was a nerd, and I didn’t care one damn bit.
I’m totally impressed. You’d get the short just for remembering the actual moment, let alone your tale of Trek nerdery. And last but not least comes my favorite story of them all.
It’s funny that you ran that Pokemon wedding story recently, because it reminded me of my geek epiphany. I was in sixth grade at around the time that the original (American) Pokemon explosion was winding down. I was still downright obsessed though (ex.: took a survey of my class for the first movie over who they thought would prevail and why: Mew or Mewtwo, as if there was any possible resolution other than hand-holding and feeling-sharing but I was young and idealistic; sue me), but because it was still faintly tolerable among my peers, that wasn’t enough for immediate geek designation.
Around that time too, I had a huge crush on this popular girl. I was the shy, harmless, nice guy that every brought their problems to but was never really popular outside that. It so happened that one of the people who liked to lay it on me was that girls best friend. I don’t know how we got as close as we did but soon enough we were familiar enough for me to shamelessly and constantly profess my (middle school) love for her friend to her/the pain of not being noticed/etc.; looking back it was pretty pathetic.
Anyway, one day in the library, after one of our school’s book fairs, I was reading the shit out of the new pokemon guide book I got, and god bless her, when she saw how excited I was about it, she let rant for a good 40 minutes about all things Pokemon. I remember her asking me all the filler questions you ask when you don’t know about something but want to appear interested. I’ll never forget her leaning over and telling me that she thought exeggutor was kinda cute, and how she squirmed a little but still stayed when she saw some of her friends come in.
So after that convo, my feelings for her started to change and I began becoming attracted to her, while becoming less attracted to her friend. My moment of geek revelation was when I asked myself why they started to change. Turns out that Pokemon was a powerful enough force to alter my relationship with someone; the fastest way to my heart was not through the stomach, but Pikachu. And it was enough to make me bite the bullet and ask a girl out for the first time. We lasted about a year (an eternity at that age) and ended it amicably, as we remained friends.
What’s more, Pokemon matured me romantically/sexually. No longer were looks alone able to make me fall head-over-heals for someone. There had to some hint of shared interest, a willingness to share interests, or at least some baseline hints of compatibility. This is why I can never look down on people from geeky love stories.
If that’s not the perfect remedy to all the horrible Pok?mon fan fiction I’ve posted, I don’t know what is. Congratulations on all counts, SafetyDance101, as well as to the other winners.