Tuesday, December 30, 2008

People I Hate That You Love: Other Nerds


As a colossal nerd, this pains me greatly to discuss. I'm generally only comfortable with my dork endeavors whilst in my room with my door shut, bathed in the glow of an LCD screen. My nerdly artifacts relegated to their rightful places among my entertainment center and my D:/ drive. Games and movie trivia safely repressed next to the urge to buy a swing set.
Coy nerds used to be the industry standard. Realizing that someone you're talking to is also a nerd USED to be a rare and special moment. I imagined it's exactly like what a gay dude must feel when he confirms that someone else also trades in dick.
There has, however, been a recent shift in society. A surge of nerds (a NERD-SURGE if you will) have started openly discussing their shitty basement activities as if it was OK. It is not. Where is the fucking disgrace? Where is the fucking sense of EMBARRASSMENT? Here is a quick list of shit I am embarrassed of; starting with most to least embarrassing:
I own a ton of videogames.
I own Blu-Ray.
I know the correct way to spell Blu-Ray.
This fucking blog.
I do improv.
I'm terrible at basketball (but excellent at Rugby).

That's just off the top of my head! I could go on forever!
When I buy a game I swiftly bag it myself and tuck it deep DEEP into my sweet messenger bag or nestle it securely inside my coat. It's like a goddamn Scarlet Letter AS IT SHOULD BE. However, with the success of games being introduced into mainstream society and "nerd culture" being the "in" thing, millions of videogame nerds are coming out of the closet (of their parent's house). It's like watching butterflies emerge from their cocoon. Socially inept, unfuckable butterflies. People who can't hold a normal conversation without letting it spill that they have an Xbox Live account.
Look fellow nerds, we need to keep this shit on the DL in RL, LOL.

I can't believe I own this fucking game.
1) Keep it to yourself!
I believe video games should be handled like religion or child porn. By yourself, shamefully. What I can't fucking stand is waiting in line at a Best Buy and having someone notice you're holding a game and try to talk to you about it.
"Hey cool, Zelda, badass."
"Heh. Yea. It's for my kid brother."
NO IT'S NOT BITCH, IT'S FOR ME AND I WANT TO FUCKING DIE RIGHT NOW. Incidents like this are, unfortunately, becoming more and more common. Embarrassing anecdote ahead:
A couple months ago I decided to purchase a game called Super Smash Bros. Brawl. In it, characters like Mario and Link and Bowser beat each other up and it's incredibly fun and it makes you feel like a kid again. So fuck you. Whoops. Sorry, I got defensive for a moment. Anywhoo I decided to head to a local game store with a friend late at night hoping nobody would see us. We were like thieves in the mist. Porno thieves. For his benefit, my friend shall remain unnamed.
(It was Nate)
Upon entering, it was one of the most horrific sights of my adult life. A pigsty of the most unsettling kind. A half-circle of teenagers arranged in front of a small TV playing something. A lone girl bathing in the attention of lonely virgins, feeding off of their neediness, building her confidence so she can talk to an ACTUAL boy tomorrow at school. Shallow breathing hung in the air like dandelion seeds. Suddenly, something happened back at the sweaty nerd circle and they cheered and clapped. Behind the clapping and laughter I swear I could hear the sighs of a thousand disappointed parents.
(Nate Sherman)
My unnamed partner and I retreated to a corner, vowing never to come back to a Gamestop during the goddamn witching hour. We hid and pretended to be parents or something. We talked about 401-K's and Grape Nuts Cereal, anything that would disconnect us. Finally the line cleared up, I made my purchase while staring at the floor and immediately went home and applied deodorant to the area under my nose to get rid of the smell.
(Nate Sherman: 380 W. Buena Chicago, IL)

As a black male in the U.S. Nate has more to lose than I ever will.

2) Shame Makes Us Reach For The Top!
Shame is important because it forces all of us to consistently strive towards an unreachable goal and hide (not discard) shitty, undesirable aspects of ourselves; our own "Dark Passengers." For men, that goal is rock solid masculinity and leadership. Like a bouncer or a M.M.A. fighter. I feel like this current nerd backlash (NERDLASH if you will) can only harm us in the long run. No longer will we have anything unreachable."Hey, owning a Wii is cool." Game Over America. Shit is done. Nice clothes? Fuck it. Scintillating conversation? Naw, muhfucka got a Wii! This is the gentrification of OUR SOULS I'm talking about! Our own sons will be beating us up for lunch money Goddammit!
I'll leave you with a very vivid, very specific memory from my childhood. It involves the old Nintendo game Castlevania. In it, you are a 9-pixel tall man with a whip and you climb Dracula's Castle to kill him, naturally. There was no language or age barrier. (It is my firm belief you can give any man a whip and drop him into a vampire castle and he will know what the fuck is up.) It was a dreary day and I had stayed home from school because I was sick. Sunlight pushed against my heavy drapes (HEAVDRAPES if you will) and the musty smell of rain pushed at the edges of my physical senses but mentally I was in Translyvania. Whipping Dracula. Whipping the SHIT out of him. Holy Water? Axes? Fuck it. Whip. Whip. WAP! (Castlevania is not merely one of the hardest games ever, it is one of the fucking hardest THINGS in life, period. If you ever need to test someones love for you, tell them to beat Castlevania. Then sit back and enjoy being alone for eternity.)

Then, finally, success. Dracula's 8-bit death moan fills my ears and I throw my arms up in a way that only an 8 year old child ever would. I immediately raced to my dad's room to tell him. "Dad I did it! I beat it!" He looked at me square in the eyes for a moment, expecting me to say more; when he realized that was all I had he lowered his eyes back to his newspaper and secretly prayed that I would grow up already. The burning shame of that moment has stayed with me AND THAT IS HOW IT SHOULD FUCKING BE NERDS!
If you thought Nate's was bad. I'm the guy in the lower right.

(note: I realize the entire conceit of this post is hypocritical.)
(x2 note: I posit Nate will never read this shit)

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