The students in our youth group are going through homecoming season. That means a lot of pictures, a lot of dressing up and hopefully as little drama as possible. The schools have a “Spirit Week” leading up to homecoming in which the students dress up for different themes each day. One theme that I’ve seen at a number of different schools is “Nerd Day”.
For some of us “Nerd Day” is every day.
From the pictures on Facebook, “Nerd Day” consists of nothing more than wearing taped glasses, suspenders and other nerdy stereotypes. Those are just window dressing, though, and don’t really make up a “Nerd Day”. Below are some components of an actual “Nerd Day”.
The most common characteristic for a nerd is an obsessive nature. This obsessive nature can be applied to any number of nerdclinations: Star Wars, Twilight, Harry Potter, fantasy football. The nerdclination doesn’t matter, what matters is the ability to obsess over that nerdclination. With something as ubiquitous as Star Wars, most people have a general understanding of the struggle between the Rebellion and the Empire. Nerds take their knowledge beyond the general and invest an inordinate amount of time and energy; we learn every nuance and bit of trivial information. Obsession is the hallmark trait of nerds and it can’t be a real “Nerd Day” without it.
I started growing out of my most awkward and nerdiest stage by the end of junior high. Up until then, though, interactions with the other gender were either nonexistent or bathed in nervous sweat. Nerds don’t do well interacting with the other gender; we’re awkward enough as it is but throwing romance and hormones on top of that makes it almost impossible. Nerds either have to grow beyond that awkwardness or find someone just as awkward. To really experience a “Nerd Day”, one would have to avoid all contact with the other gender and stammer his or her way through any forced interactions.
Bullying has gotten far more serious nowadays. I got teased and bullied when I was younger but it stayed at school. Taylor, the bane of my 6th grade life, couldn’t text me, Facebook me or cyber-bully me. He had domain at school but, once I was home, I was free to read comics, watch Exosquad and play Star Trek: The Customizable Card Game with my other nerd friends. Obviously, I don’t condone bullying of any kind, but if someone really wanted to experience what it was like to be a nerd, there would have to be some amount of teasing involved. As nerds, though, we really do invite the teasing. In junior high my friends and I would pretend to be X-Men and have fights during recess when everyone else was playing tetherball. It may have been fun, but shouting “optic blast”, raising my fingers to my temples like Cyclops and going “pew pew” was definitely worthy of a little teasing.
There’s more to being a nerd than simply dressing the part. Taped glasses and pocket protectors help but they don’t provide the full experience. True nerdiness runs deep, like the Death Star trench or the mines of Moria.
What else would you add to a true “Nerd Day”?