Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Nerd = Gay, A Post Script

A few items arose in the discussion of Nerd = Gay that seemed, collectively, to warrant a separate post.

First, while I certainly intended my tone to be light and whimsical, some of my themes were at least slightly serious and heavy, and I would hate anyone to get the feeling I was being whiny about some awful adolescence. Far from it, I was generally a very happy kid, and enjoyed the company of my (mostly nerdy) friends. I was, in fact, rarely picked upon. And not being among the very popular crowd, well that is most of us, after all, isn't it? The people who treated me with decency (or better) far outnumbered the meatheads, although the latter group can make a big impression. And, in fact, there were even some among the athletic, beautiful, and popular crowd who always treated this nerd boy with respect, kindness, and even generosity. I appreciated it then, and I still do.

Second, as my gay-nerd friend Heath discusses in an illuminating and entertaining confessional (note: a little "adult" in parts, but nothing too shocking by modern standards, IMO), there are many qualitative as well as quantitative differences between the gay and nerd experiences. I am absolutely sure it is true, and I really never meant to imply otherwise. I only stand by what I wrote in that the specific parallels that I cited do seem to me to be legitimate. In no sense did I mean to suggest that they were the whole story, or even the bulk of the story. I.e., I think what I wrote is fairly true and accurate, but it is certainly not a comprehensive description of the gay experience (or the nerd, for that matter), nor did I intend it as such. I suppose any confusion on this front may stem from the title "Nerd = Gay." It certainly seems to state an equivalence, doesn't it? The title was intended as tongue-in-cheek, and it seemed like, well, an awfully nerdy touch to put it in the form of an equation! (Heath responds, in kind, with a Venn diagram. Très magnifique, mon ami!)

Finally, to get back to the fun stuff, my friend Sharon suggested an addendum to define exactly what is nerdiness. Well, a comprehensive test matrix would be beyond the scope of this text, but I might leave you with a list of some of my own traits and experiences, as a member of the true nerd de la nerd. You can see this as a sort of "...you might be a nerd" list in the style of Jeff Foxworthy. However, each of these statements is factually true. I am NOT making any of this up.

Some non-random (stochastic at best) Nerdphemera vis a vis Ronald

I have, in fact, worn glasses held together with tape, paper clips, twist ties, and once, in sixth grade, a rubber band.

At age 20, I stood 5 feet eleven and one half inches, and weighed 120 pounds.

If there is a circumstance in life for which an appropriate quote cannot be drawn from either The Simpsons, Raising Arizona, or a classic rock lyric, I have not encountered it.

Late in high school, I did actually memorize all the elements of the periodic table, in order. (Yes, including all known lanthanides and actinides.) I forgot it fairly promptly. (This is as far as I can go now: H, He, Li, Be, B, C, N, O, Fl, Ne, Na, Mg... ouch!) I could not, however, sing Tom Lehrer's "The Elements," but my friend Heath could do a pretty good job, as I recall.

3.14159265359. That's all for me.

Once in college, I saw a girl wearing a sweatshirt with the following printed on it

ΣΚ

Upon observing this, I thought, "Summation of K... hmm, wait, what is K? Boltzmann's constant? No, that makes no sense. What are the limits of this sum? What the hell does this shirt mean?"
I still have my original paperback copy of The Lord of the Rings, purchased circa 1981-82, water damaged when my apartment flooded in 1988.


Also, my copy of Cosmos, purchased at around the same time.

Finally, returning to the Greek letter theme, I recently was amused when I encountered an onion ring that had formed a perfect lower case theta.


As always, peace out.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Aloke said...

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May 22, 2009 10:35 PM  

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