Public Nerd No. 1
I have a confession to make. I am uncool.
This started a while ago. First, I quit giving a crap about listening to popular music. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not current with pop music. The last thing MTV and I had in common was Eminem, and typing that made me feel about 82 years old.
Then I quit going to the movies as often. I was an avid movie-goer back in the day; tried to go at least a couple of times a month, even when I was making no money. Now, I can’t stomach the thought of paying 30 bucks for me and my special lady friend to sit through what will probably be a half-thought out, over-acted movie while drinking a Dr. Pepper the size of Danny Devito and devouring a bag of popcorn that could feed a village in the Congo for two weeks. Redbox or On-Demand is cheaper, less of a hassle and if I decide it sucks halfway through, I can just change the channel.
As you can probably guess, my appearance changed from disinterested to downright slovenly around that time. While I have to keep up appearances at work (collared shirt, khakis, the very occasional tie), I spend most of my downtime in a t-shirt and gym shorts, and that’s when I decide to wear pants of any sort. Like my father and grandfather before me, I dress like a transient hobo unless I’m entertaining a dignitary… and the Prime Minister of Turkey doesn’t often stop by for afternoon cocktails.
Ironically my hair, which resembled an unkempt opossum strapped to my head at various times during college, receives most of my attention now. I comb it and even put in gel on occasion. This would probably be more effective if my half-beard didn’t grow in all white-trashy like it does. I look like a well-kempt version of the Unabomber, except I don’t send bombs in the mail. The most I can muster is a scathing e-mail.
I spent so much of my life trying to be cool. I tried to dress cool, tried to say cool things to impress women, tried to own cool things. Such a waste of time. Every “cool” thing I ever attempted to do served to make me look like a raging jackass. I may as well have worn a “Members-Only” jacket and bleached my hair. If I were more of a failure at being cool, I’d be Steve Urkel (and my God, what an uncool reference that is).
I would give anything to be naturally cool.
My geekiness has moved to the forefront in the last few years. I’ve embraced my inner Star Wars nerd. In a way, it’s liberating. I don’t have to defend reading a couple of books a week, or pretend to ironically like soccer. I like the stuff I like now; it’s easier to know oneself when you aren’t burdened by giving a shit for terrible music.
Getting married helped the process. It would be cliché to say I’ve found someone who loves me for who I am. More likely, my wife would have to go through all sorts of paperwork to get rid of me at this point, so she’s a lot more willing to overlook my desire to watch old episodes of Seinfeld before I go to sleep. Plus, she’s nearly as big of a geek as I am; all the reality-tv references I’ve made in recent weeks and months can be directly attributed to her.
So geeks of the world, unite! Our time is at hand; at least, that’s what I’m hoping. I believe it was Paul Beauregard who first said, “It’s hard out here for a pimp.” It’s even harder out here for a geek, Mr. Beauregard. I can assure you.