I am a Nerd. Geek will also suffice. Have been since 1986, the day my Father brought home the Macintosh Plus computer. I was mesmerized by that thing....the mouse...the icons....the folders - of course I had no idea at the time, but using that computer would set me down the path of nerddom for the rest of my life. So, as a practicing nerd for 22 years now, I feel uniquely qualified to talk about something that I've noticed recently and that upsets me even more than the idea of Han shooting first. It seems as though nerds have apparently become cool.
This truly is the golden age for my kind - one need look no further than a just plain awesome Iron Man movie to know that this is as good as it's going to get for us. In addition to live-action superhero movies that are actually good, we also have our own geek goddess on prime time TV in the form of Tina Fey of "30 Rock" fame, who makes statements such as "I will cut you open like a Ton-Ton!" and "BLERG!". For that matter we even have our own TV show that is actually very funny - "The Big Bang Theory". A recent Twitter post from Chicago Sun-Times columnist and all-around nerd Andy Ihnatko read "If the Big Bang Theory is our Sex in the City, which drink is our Cosmo?" A fierce debate between the Mt. Dew and Diet Mt. Dew partisans followed. We're no longer ostracized from the rest of society - so help me, I can only think of one instance in the last several years that my nerdiness has been made fun of, and that's only when people I know meet my wife for the first time and are surprised (ok, astonished) that she's really, really hot.
So in seeing my people finally arrive as it were, you'd think I'd be one happy Trekker. Sadly, I can't help but feel like there's something wrong. Yes we're still nerds and yes we're still up on the latest and greatest tech, but as the cool kids begin to rely more and more on the Intarwebs, we're now being accepted for who we are because we're needed. Gone are the days when I would be asked if I could help them set up their e-mail while they laughed behind my back at my “Every time you can haz God kills a LOLcat” t-shirt. Now I get questions from the proverbial ex-prom queens and star high school Quarterbacks such as ""Which should I use: Twitter or Plurk?"" or "When the 3G iPhone comes out, am I going to be able to unlock it and use it on Verizon?". This doesn’t make me feel useful – it makes me feel like just another drone. I cringe every time I see some awesome-looking-twenty-something checking their Facebook page - I thought the cool kids had actual friends, not virtual ones (by the way, you don't find many geeks on Facebook. We hate it with a passion - mainly because it's become mainstream).
So what is the problem exactly? I guess it all boils down to the fact that I'm still angry. When I was getting shoved up against lockers in middle school, I knew one day things would be different. I also knew that if I ever got the chance I would make their bank accounts disappear, but that's another story entirely. The very idea that the cool kid who taunted me in 9th grade Algebra class about never having had a girlfriend now probably asks for and receives help from his IT department on the weekend with hooking up his new Blu-Ray player into his home theater system makes me >>:0<<. To my fellow geeks, I would remind you of the 48th Rule of Acquisition..."The bigger the smile, the shaper the knife". We may be in an extended period of détante with the cool kids but we're not like them and never will be - and I, for one, am proud of that fact.