Sunday, August 5, 2012

Nerds Rule The World

I have a confession to make - I am not cool.

This will come as absolutely no surprise to the folks who have known me for most of my life.  Hell, that will come as absolutely no surprise to the folks who have met me for more than a day.  I'm a complete dork, a nerd, an unhip cat who used to tape Babylon 5 and can talk for hours about the vagaries of either vampires or time travel.

But here's the thing - I'm fine with that.

Since I was never a member of the "cool kids club," I never had to worry about being in style or saying the wrong thing.  I was free to say whatever held my interest and be passionate about it.  When you're "cool,' you have to concern yourself with whether your love of Middle Earth will make the rest of your group turn and run screaming in the opposite direction, but it's liberating to not be held by such constraints.

Nowadays, it seems like the "cool" thing to be a nerd.  Most of those who try and pretend were never really nerds.  It's just now that being a geek is the "new cool," so a lot of people have tried to fall in line by either fawning over The Big Bang Theory or proclaiming what an awesome guy Mark Zuckerberg has always been(they mostly got this from watching The Social Network).  I remember the days when it was heretical for anyone who considered themselves cool to be within 100 miles of Comic-Con in San Diego.  However, it's suddenly become the in thing to do.  Not me - I've always been around the dorky crap.
(yes...that's me...holding a stormtrooper rifle...a Jawa nearby...)
One more benefit to being a nerd - we rule the world.

Look at Bill Gates, Dick Cheney, Leon Panetta, Warren Buffett, or any other number of opinion makers and leaders of industry.  All of them are total dorks.  While their buddies were off doing keg stands and scoring with cheerleaders(or football team), they were out plotting how to take over the world.  And in the end, they succeeded.

This applies to writers as well.  When I see Stephen King, Harry Turtledove, Stephanie Meyer, or Neil Gaiman, I don't see party animals concerned with hanging in the right crowd.  Instead, I see thoughtful, imaginative nerds who took that dorkiness and put it on paper for the rest of the world to enjoy.  It takes a certain level of geek to envision Ender Wiggin's fight against the Buggers or to map out the battlefields Colonel Andrew Keane fought on to repel the Tugars.

I would venture to say that most successful writers are nerds.  People of all stripes like to read cool stories, but most don't want to write them, even if they were capable(which most are not).  We nerds retreat into the wellspring of our imaginations and have the balls to talk about what comes out.
(What it takes to write a great story...)
The freedom given to a nerd to talk about stuff most folks find crazy is what produces those great stories the rest of the world enjoys while sitting on a beach or taking a plane ride across the country.  A nerd can be free from the handcuffs of cool to come up with that which enthralls the masses.  We might not always be successful in coming up with the best tale, but we're happy to sort through the garbage in order to find a single gem.  My bet is that most people are grateful that we do so, even if they choose not to partake in the trip to Geeksville themselves.

So unleash your inner nerd.  When you stop worrying about trying to fit in and are willing to be passionate about something everyone else rolls their eyes at, you will be amazed at what you are capable of producing.

And you cool should stop pretending you understand nerds - you're not fooling anyone.  Just enjoy the madness.


  1. I don't believe one can be nerdified. Rather, one must be born to it from deep in the DNA. There is no initiation or litmus test one must endure or pass to join the ranks of geekdom. We just are. And we stand proud!

    Love the post!

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I've seen too many people claim to be nerds when they don't really understand what it means.