Friday, April 17, 2009


As an intellectual and a visionary I have to balance my nerd karma, or at least justify the guilty nerd pleasures with activities that are acceptable to the rest of the world. For example my main hobby in life is painting and playing with toy soldiers. The games that I play are made by Games Workshop and range from small skirmish battles to epically large battlefields, all set in various lands of fantasy (there are two time periods that Games Workshops makes games in, one that is clearly pulled from "Lord of the Rings", the other is in the distant future.) I can spend hours painting the models and further hours playing with them, and yes, when no one wants to play with me I have even been known to play the games by myself. But wait, I say, do not feel bad for me, for I am not a total nerd loser.

You see my other main activity in life has been playing hockey. Throughout my time at K-State I played with the hockey club there, and during the season I would spend every other weekend on the road playing games. Not only that, but I was an assistant captain for our team a couple of years and then captain my final year with the team (I also won the MVP for our team one year.) So don't cry for me about being a nerd, I clearly can pull my weight in other areas of my life.

And really I think most people would be ok with me playing with toys and not feel pity or repulsed by it solely because I have another activity in life that I have excelled at that is definitely not a nerdy activity. But why is this? My act of sitting down to paint chunks of plastic and metal are not any different than anyone else's, however because at other times of my life I play a sport it is ok? It seems that our problems with 'nerdy' activities is not an actual bash at the activity itself but the lifestyle that a typical person with that activity holds.

Take video games for example, not too long ago if you were hardcore into video games you would be labeled a nerd. However now there is so many people playing games that we see that you can still be a normal functioning person in society while still finding enjoyment in pressing some buttons on a pad that makes something happen on the TV. Nerdiness must come from perceived lifestyle, not the actual activity involved.

So then why are nerdy activities looked down upon, or why is a nerdy lifestyle generally perceived to be unattractive? I think it has to do with not making a contribution to society. Leveling a night elf to 60 might take a lot of work, but in the real world (IRL for you internet cats) nothing really changes. Drawing comics does not result in great literature, and painting a unit of dwarfs does not actually make my house more protected from intruders. But if I can prove that I can contribute to society through other actions, like leading a hockey team, then my non-contributional free time activities can be overlooked. However, I think that is the wrong way to look at the activities, I feel that I am more successful at work because of the creativity that I used when thinking up scenarios and campaigns. But I think that society does not count building your brain as a useful activity, actually one may say 'nerdy'.

So I urge you to take some time, read some comic books, argue about Captain Picard versus Han Solo in a fist fight, and break out your leggings for the Renaissance Festival. Just remember to contribute to the society while you are at it, lest you be labeled a nerd.

Also avoid Dungeons & Dragons, you don't want to be a dork do you?
(I didn't play D&D growing up, but this video brings back memories of playing Warhammer with my friends in High School.)


Heff said...

You know what they say, "Be kind to nerds. Odds are, you'll end up working for one."

Candy's daily Dandy said...

HA! LOL at Heff!

You know how I know you're a nerd? You paint and play with toy soldiers.

Classic 40yr old Virgin reference.
If you haven't seen it, you need to.
Also for total nerd domination satisfaction and nerd hero-fication, might I recommend "Role Models" with Paul Rudd.

Dude, nice to see you on my blog. Thanks for popin in!

Callie said...

Well, there is something to be said for those types of people who isolate themselves from everyone, playing video games (or drawing comics or playing with toys, etc), who do nothing else to enrich their lives. They are living in a fantasy world. The fact that you do things besides what society has deemed "nerdy" lets people realize that you are, indeed, a well rounded human being, and not off planing the destruction of humankind via dwarf domination.

James said...

I paint and play wargames too. Not out and out fantasy, mainly historical. But my nerdiness is balanced by the fact I have to earn a living, be a husband and father 92% of the time when I am awake.
My Nerd Time is my reward for good behaviour.

Ookami Snow said...

Heff - Unfortunately the Business kids become the managers in the workplace, and they seem to be far from nerds... or competent. No offense if anyone is a business major...

Candy - Ah but I also can score more goals than "jocks" so well call it even :)

Callie - Yes, isolation is a big factor in hardcore nerdiness... And I would never plot the destruction of humankind by Dwarfs, I would with the Tomb Kings or Chaos. :P

James - Yes I think kids erase all accusations of being a nerd... propagating trumps free time choice.

Slyde said...

i cannot comment on this article on the grounds that it may incriminate me..

piglet said...

yeah, i think folks are just "saying" they are nerds b/c it's so cool to be a nerd now.

i was a nerd before it was cool :)

also, the gaming thing is straight up ON. we have a shopping center that houses TWO gaming stores (not an arcade mind you), the kind you go to play solo or with others.

it reminds me of a bar but without alcohol, just games. my first video game was intellivision.