I remember writing this post while I was getting ready to leave the country, which was no easy task. Like most of the top 5 posts of the year, this post received a lot of hits because of the images. People love searching for “taped nerd glasses”. Even though I didn’t find any nerds in Honduras, I was able to have some great conversations even with my Spanish, as broken as it is.
I’m leaving for Honduras today to go on a mission trip with my church. We’ll be building a church and running VBS for some kids in the village. I’m excited for the trip but I’ve forgotten a lot of the Spanish I once knew. I’m worried about my ability to effectively communicate with my words. I’m also worried about my ability to effectively communicate my nerdiness.
Is nerdiness universal? Like love and doctors, does nerdiness have no borders?
In the United States it’s pretty clear that I’m a nerd. I love Star Wars, play video games and squeal like a little girl when I see the trailer for Captain America. But over these next 10 days in Honduras, will that part of my identity get lost?
I don’t know, but here are some things that might be universally nerdy.
At summer camp last week, our students dressed up as nerds for dinner one night. Almost all of them had a pair of thick, black, plastic glasses with tape around the nose. This might be one identifying factor of nerds that crosses all borders. For some reason nerds are always breaking their glasses. And, instead of getting a new pair, they simply take masking tape and put the glasses back together. I have two problems with this stereotype. Firstly, why don’t the nerds just go get a new pair of glasses? It’s not that hard to go to the optometrist and order a new pair of glasses. Are all the nerds too busy playing Dungeons and Dragons and building shrines to the head cheerleader? What is so important that it keeps nerds from getting a new pair of glasses? And secondly, why do nerds always grab masking tape? If I was forced to tape my glasses back together, I would use invisible tape instead of masking tape. Masking tape doesn’t mask anything; it accentuates the nerdiness. Invisible tape, while not cloaking device invisible, is a lot better than masking tape.
I don’t even know if pocket protectors are available for purchase anymore. I just checked Amazon, they are. I’ve never actually seen a real person with a pocket protector and I’ve hung out with a lot of nerds. If someone did walk into a room with a pocket protector, whether in the United States or Honduras, that person would get labeled a nerd. I’ve never worn a pocket protector but there were times I wish I had. I once needed a pocket protector for my pants instead of my shirt. A pen got clicked while in my pocket and, after a little while, I had a large black spot on my pants. Even though I had decided that pocket protectors were foolish, standing there with my stain, it I was I who was truly foolish.
I visited a hospital in Guatemala and the doctors were wearing lab coats. I’ve never been to a scientific lab in a foreign country, but I’m going to bet that they wear lab coats. A lab coat may not be as overtly nerdy as a World of Warcraft t-shirt, but it is just as nerdy. Doctors and scientists are practical nerds, but nerds none the less. So anyone wearing a lab coat, regardless of continent, can be labeled a nerd. Those nerds probably don’t live at home and eat Cheetos all day, but they’re still definitely nerds.
I hope nerdiness has no borders. It would be great to find a kid in a village and have a pretend lightsaber duel or Pokemon battle. There’s a good chance, though, that the things I consider nerdy in California aren’t that nerdy in Honduras. Even if nerdiness has borders, I know that Jesus has none. So even if I can’t share my love for Battlestar Galactica, I’ll be able to share my love for Jesus.
Which might have a larger impact anyways.
What else is universally nerdy?