In my last year of college, I lived in a tiny apartment complex with most of my best friends. My friend who had scabies was my next door neighbor, and the front door of his apartment was no more than six feet from mine. Luckily for us all, his scabies were a distant memory. Because that friend and I were the only people who woke up early on the weekends, I could count on the fact that he’d be available to hang out with at 8:00 a.m. I walked into his apartment and there he with legs propped up on his desk in his tightie whities, drinking a (probably) warm Dr. Pepper, playing EverQuest. As I began asking inane question after inane question about the game (“What’s your character’s name? How many dwarves have you killed this morning? Which one is your girlfriend?”), his annoyance with me grew to a boiling point. “You know, you’re probably nerdier than I am. Playing fantasy football is way gayer. You and [other friends] talk about it all the time and in public, no less. I might play this in my own house but that stuff permeates into your social life. And Golden Tee golf… that’s worse,” he said rolling his eyes.
This is the moment when I realized that I was really nerdy, too – just in different ways. I can’t tell you how many times my friends and I were at a party discussing fantasy sports while everyone else was inside having fun. I remember specifically sitting with my friend, Dickmar, outside a party trying to see who could name Major League Baseball relief pitchers for more teams. Everyone else was inside talking to girls and meeting people, and I was naming the order of the bullpen rotation for the 2001 Toronto Blue Jays. Fantasy sports took up so much of our time and was actually the cause of real arguments and fights. When I reflect back, it might be one of the dorkiest things in which I’ve ever partaken. I still do by the way.
Once, Dickmar and I were at a bar playing Golden Tee when two attractive girls came up and started talking to us. Basically, Dickmar and I switched off talking to them while the other took his turn rearing back and pounding the ball with all his might. The girls invited us to the bar to take a shot with them. We told them we just started and had 11 holes left. Sorry. Dickmar and I weren’t exactly swashbuckling ladies men, so these girls talking to us was a pretty isolated incident. Meeting girls, period, was amazing and having them come to us was astounding. Sadly for us, we blew it, and I’m sure we played another round even after that. They probably just wanted us to buy them a shot anyways – or at least I told myself that to prevent tears from forming.
This leads to where I am now. I’m happily married and comfortable in my own lameness. As I reflect upon my life, I realize that I was always in denial about the things I enjoyed doing but was ashamed to admit. I’m going to admit my dorky pleasures right here and now.
I have over 500 comic books and at least 100 graphic novels. 90% of what I watch is comic book cartoons. When people get into conversations about the last good book they read, I always interject with, “Have you read The Walking Dead or Invincible? Robert Kirkman is one of the best writers I’ve read in a long time. His ability to go into the depths of men’s psyches, where other writers are afraid or not allowed to, amazes me.”
“Well, uh, yeah, he DOES add words to pictures.”
I was on my high school diving team. Yes, I wore a speedo and I did sloppy, subpar flips – I was never flexible enough to hold the pike position. I got 4th in my district and was extremely unsuccessful at the next level, regionals (in fact, I failed a dive and the meet official gave me a thumbs down to indicate I failed a dive like a Roman emperor giving the execute signal – that thumbs down would become the symbol of my diving career and the subject of much fun between my friends and I). My two friends and I who dove all separately felt ashamed about it in college, and while I wouldn’t ever bring it up in conversations, I would begrudgely admit it. Now, I proudly admit: I was a DIVER, and my speedo was extra small, too! My nungs – the part of one’s ass that hangs out when one wears Daisy Dukes, for example – hung out with pride.
I don’t know how to end this. Nerd is a term for high school kids, and it’s silly for a 30 year old to address it. Regardless, I’m doing things that I love, and I’m happy to do them. I’m sure there are other, countless nerdy things I do to this day that I don’t even know about, but I’m just curious: what’s the nerdiest thing about you? I don’t like ending blogs in questions because I desperately need the positive feedback to be my tiny, blogging ego and answering this question would detract from that. I will take one for the team – this time.