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I’m a Nerd.

November 3, 2010

I’m pretty sure the world has figured out by now that I’m a big nerd. People have been calling me by this title for as long as I can remember, but I’ve never really taken much offense from it. I was never cruelly picked on by bullies as a child like you see in movies and T.V. shows. The only ones who gave me more than a hard time about my interests were my sisters. This didn’t really last long because as soon as they started reading Harry Potter (I was 11), their entire world was turned upside down. I never understood the appeal of the “too cool for school” attitude that all the kids around me seemed to have. Yeah, sure. I would watch The Real World with my sisters when it came on T.V. I would go see those silly teen movies in the theaters with my friends (what else was there to do in middle school). I played sports and took dance classes and was pretty athletic. But all these things weren’t particularly grand (except for dance – I will always love dance).

I think my nerdiness might have stemmed from the fact that when I was still young, my sisters got to a point where they didn’t play with me anymore. I didn’t mind this so much though. I would just go outside to the backyard and play by myself. I could dream up some fantastic scenarios involving the imaginary characters in my head and literally play in the yard for hours. There were no limits to what I might think up. The mysteries hidden in the secret brick that was loose on the side of my neighbor’s house. The great fortress (Murphy High School across the street) of the evil king that threatened to attack my home and family. The brave heroine who had to save her friends from some evil monster or tyrant. And of course I would sometimes imagine myself as a Sailor Scout, a character from Mortal Kombat, a Jedi, a power ranger, or other various pop culture characters from my childhood. Sometimes my sisters would come play with me, and we would run around the house as Jill Pole, and Susan and Lucy Pevensie. I have some great memories from that time.

So what now? When people first meet me, I don’t think that they get the impression that I’m a big fat nerd (correct me if I’m wrong). Recently I’ve been trying to find out if there is some sort of balance for my nerdiness and normalness at this point in my life. I’ve lived for 20 years now, so my experiences have definitely changed me from that little girl who used to play in the backyard, but I think my nerdiness level has increased. With this in mind, I looked around my room for some examples of some sort of leveling off.

Example 1 – My Choice of Posters

Welcome to the Northeast Corner of my room. Yes, that is in fact a map of Middle Earth at the bottom there. I love looking at it. I find it incredibly interesting that someone took the time to plan out all the details for a completely fictional land in order to sufficiently tell a story. I also really like maps. Notice the world map above. I could sit and look at that for hours. My ultimate goal is to get a giant wall map and hang it right beside my bed so I can just lie down and look at it whenever I want. Maps are cool. Fantasy maps are nerdy. There’s balance there. I also think the Middle Earth map’s nerdiness cancels out because I have two band posters next to it. The one on top is Sigur Rós, and the one on bottom that you can’t see very well is Wilco. I think Wilco can more that cover the cost of the nerdiness of my Middle Earth map. That corner of my room is definitely cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Example 2 – My Choice of Books

Ah, yes. My tiny dorm room bookshelf. My lack of sufficient space greatly hindered me from bringing my entire book collection to school with me, but I tried to take the ones most important to me. The first thing you may notice is that there are a great deal of fantasy novels on this bookshelf. If you look closer, however, you’ll see that they are series. Those only count as one in my eyes. Spread a little on top and bottom, I have the Wheel of Time series. It’s my favorite fantasy series. I enjoy picking them up from time to time, turning to a random page, and reading a chapter or two. I do the same with the Harry Potter books (sadly, my last few books in the series are currently lost). Then you have the Inheritance Trilogy. Honestly, I’m not too crazy about these books. Eragon was okay, but I found the writing style to be very annoying. I only have them here because I keep meaning to read them (because my sisters want me to). I’ve been working on getting through Eldest for about 3 years now, and I’m not even half way. Then you get to one of my new favorite series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Yeah, I know these books are probably on a preteen reading level, but they’re just so darn entertaining! Plus I can finish one in a day, so there’s not that suspense and longing that comes with reading the thicker books. Now we get to the cool stuff. If you look all the way over to the top left, you’ll see titles like On the Road, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, Jitterbug Perfume, Crime and Punishment, Breakfast of Champions, Still Life With Woodpecker, Le Petite Prince, The Great Gatsby, Slaughterhouse Five, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, and A Separate Reality. I would consider these all to be fantastic (and pretty cool) novels. I think they balance out my fantasy novel collection.

Example 3 – My Pictures

That may or may not be a signed picture of Michael Shanks, the actor who plays Dr. Daniel Jackson on the Sci Fi T.V. Series Stargate SG-1, that I may or may not have gotten at DragonCon*, a Sci Fi and Fantasy convention that I may or may not have attended in 2007. But look at all the great friends I have in the next frame! Cool points, right?

Example 4 – My Desk

On my desk in a tin lunchbox, you’ll find my collection of Magic: The Gathering cards. I know, I know. That’s the smallest Magic collection ever, but I never really did the whole card collecting thing. I’ve only ever built one deck on my own, and I haven’t played much since middle school anyway (my normal Magic partner goes to school in Boston now). But check out those awesome books to the left! They’re my books for my two history classes. You may notice that most of them say something about Vikings. Well, that’s because I’m taking a class called The Age of Vikings, and it’s pretty much the coolest class ever. My academic endeavors outweigh my Magic nerdiness. VIKINGS, for the win!

Also, I might want to mention that the tin lunchbox that my Magic cards are hidden in is actually a Harry Potter lunchbox…

Example 5 – My T-Shirt Selection

I guess these are what I would consider my “cool” t-shirts. They could potentially be considered hip. On the top row, there’s an old 1986 Jazz Fest t-shirt, an old 1984 Louisiana World Exposition t-shirt, and a battered Locus Fork Band t-shirt (a band my parents used to go see in Mobile). On the bottom, there’s my “Make Wetlands, Not War!” t-shirt from Dirty Coast, my Arabi t-shirt from Dirty Coast, and my Street Car shirt from American Apparel (my sister got that one for me). I guess I consider all these shirts cool because they’re all from New Orleans (except the Locus Fork Band one). Plus the one’s on top are all t-shirts that used to be my mom’s when she was younger (vintage!). They’re pretty cool hand-me-downs.

These are my nerdy shirts. The top is all Legend of Zelda t-shirts, and the bottom are all Star Wars t-shirts. The Wind Waker shirt, the Triforce shirt, the Empire Strikes Back shirt, and the Millennium Falcon shirt are probably my favorite shirts ever. I try to wear them as much as I can without seeming to geeky. The thing is, every time I wear one and someone comments, it’s usually to say, “Hey, cool shirt!” or something along those lines. And come on! Look at that Millennium Falcon shirt! There’s a tie-dyed Death Star! There are X-Wings and TIE Fighters shooting at each other! Sure it may be entirely too large for me, but that doesn’t stop me from wearing that bad boy as pajamas.

So those are some things that I immediately thought of, but there are probably more examples somewhere. And these examples (minus the Magic cards maybe) are physical things that people can see about my nerdiness. If they’re just looking at this stuff, and I don’t start talking, most people would probably think I was relatively normal. Once I open my mouth, however, and I start making obscure references to things (no one ever gets my references…), they’ll probably see that I’m a big-time nerd.

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