Category Archives: video games

You Say Nerd, I Say Who Cares?

"If we let him call us a nerd, he'll leave us alone..."

“If we let him call us a nerd, he’ll leave us alone…”

So, maybe I’m a nerd.

I say “maybe”, because I’m honestly not sure. It used to be that I would be called a nerd against my will, and then I would have to be sad about it. If I wasn’t sad about it, people would be angry, and then they would progress to calling me worse things. It’s like how a bear might want to eat you until he thinks you’re dead, because then you’re no good to him. Unless it’s a California black bear, in which case he will eat you no matter what (Unfortunately for us, “smarter than the average bear” doesn’t mean he wants your pick-a-nick basket; it means he knows your little opossum act is BS).

Things have changed a little bit since I was younger, though, and now people all over are applying the title “nerd” to themselves of their own volition. At first I was confused and afraid. What did this mean? Not only for myself, but for my younger siblings. Was this some kind of trap? Were the pretty and popular kids trying to lull all the nerds in to a false sense of security?

“Wear your nerd badge proud!” They’d say… but maybe it was all some cruel rouse to get the geeks to come out of the word work and identify themselves. From there, the massacre would begin.

It seems, for now at least, that my fears were mostly unfounded. So far, no nerd lynchings have occurred. Not in public, anyway. I can’t vouch for what goes on during pep rallies and home coming games. Mostly because I never went to those. I can only hope that my fellow unpopular brethren that managed to find themselves there, behind enemy lines, made it out okay and with a story to tell. In any case, I still do find it strange how the social climate has changed. Suddenly, thick framed glasses and video gaming are cool again. Or, maybe, for the first time. I’m not sure I remember a time when they were cool before. I don’t necessarily remember a time when they weren’t cool, to be honest, but I know some old school nerd proponents who would beg to differ.

I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where people could just like the things they like, and not worry about other people liking it, or not liking it, or not liking them, or wanting to slam them in to lockers.

What I think, and this may not be a popular opinion, is that there’s a very strange territory war going on these days. We have the original nerds in one corner, the new nerds in another, and a slightly overlooked group of people who probably are nerds but don’t want to be called that in the last corner. The original nerds associate their childhoods with lots of being bullied and having to nurture their WoW obsessions in dark closets. These were the people that other people called nerds. Naturally, they harbor some animosity toward “new nerds” who failed to establish their nerd credentials early on in life, and therefore escaped the hell that was growing up an outcast. And make no mistake; growing up an outcast is, in fact, hell. Where I think this opinion might get unpopular is right about here: Everyone’s fighting over something that no one really wants to be.

I think what a lot of people are failing to understand, is that there is a disconnect between what people are associating with what being a nerd is, and what a nerd actually is. It’s just a word. The meaning behind the word has evolved, but the status of people who once had this term forced upon them has not. PC gaming is still made fun of, skinny kids are still pushed around, brainy quiet kids are still excluded. That hasn’t changed. Life is still a popularity contest, and some people are still losing it. The kids who were called geeks in high school are now flocking to defend their status, because they had to suffer for it. If you can’t beat something, you learn to be proud of it, or it’ll end up controlling you in the end. Nerds learned to be proud of being the outcasts, the subverts, the unique ones. It doesn’t hurt so bad to be pushed away when you decide that you want it that way. Or, at the very least, pretend to. These people, like anyone else, are wary of new comers being insincere or trivializing their experiences.

This, while understandable, is pointless.

Why pointless, you ask? Look, who cares if the Victoria Secret model wants to put on a pocket protector and broadcast the fact that she plays TF2 on the weekends? Who cares if your local neighborhood hipster wants to wear pony shirts and rattle on and on about his favorite Dostoevsky quotes? Who cares if people like saying “LOL I’m such a nerd!” It’s not hurting anyone.

My beautiful nerds, in trying to exclude someone from taking an interest in the things you like, however noble an endeavor you think it is, you’re doing exactly what was done to you. All this is going to serve to accomplish is creating more bitterness and animosity in the world… When there really should be more hugs and Doctor Who? balls. They exist. I’ve been to one.

The point is, I think it’s a waste of time to worry about what other people are doing. Labels are for suckers.

Dance Like Everyone Is Watching

Drink tea like no one is watching...

Drink tea like no one is watching…

You know, it occurs to me that I never found the time to grow out of the things I loved as a child. I say “never found the time”, because it seems to me that a lot of people make a special kind of effort to leave their childhood behind. I’ve seen a lot of little girls get to a point where they don’t want to wear pink because it’s “too girly”, or they don’t want to wear shirts with care bears on them anymore, because Care Bears are… Well, I can’t blame them for that. Care Bears are scary. Putting that aside, I hope my point is clear. As we get older, through television, the media, our culture, etc… we are talked out of loving the things we love.

In fact, I have to feel a bit sorry for people who were pressured in to giving up their beloved hobbies/interests before they had a job and therefore money to explore that hobby to its real and full potential. When I was little, I was obsessed with tea parties and the beautiful dresses women wore in times long passed. Now that I have the funds, I throw elaborate tea parties (sometimes for gaming events, but mostly for no reason at all), and am able to buy museum quality replicas of antebellum attire. You can judge me if you like, and you can call it a waste of time and money, but someone once said that time you enjoy wasting is not wasted… And I agree emphatically.

I’m lucky that I ended up in a circle of friends, including Dan, who seem to understand my stance. I’ve been asked more than a few times if Dan’s heavy video gaming bothers me, usually followed by a statement a long the lines of “it would drive me crazy.” I mean, I get it. I do understand why people can’t, or don’t think they would be able to, handle a significant other immersing themselves in a hobby that takes so much of their time. Me? I’m solitary by nature, so his long bouts of PC gaming would never bother me for that reason. After I give that answer, however, people go on to the next question: “But… I mean, games are for kids, aren’t they?”

If enjoying what you love is for kids, then give Dan and me a bowl of Trix.

… Get it? Because Trix are for kids. Selfish sociopathic kids who can’t spare one measly box for that poor pathetic rabbit who, from the looks of it, is one scheme away from landing himself in a men’s correctional facility. General Mills knows what it’s like to still have their childhood interests close to heart. Either that, or they might possibly be trying to make a point about the potential hazards of drug addiction, but I digress.

There’s nothing wrong with doing whatever you want with your free time, or your life. I feel like we’re supposed to believe that if you don’t wear the right things, or if you spend Friday nights inside reading or watching TV, you’ve messed up somewhere along the way. We’re supposed to go out and spend time with people that we probably don’t even really like that much just so that when someone asks us what we did over the weekend we can give them an interesting answer. How did that ever become a measure of self-worth? No one should feel bad for not enjoying what everyone else does, and no one should feel bad for enjoying what everyone else doesn’t. Unless it’s illegal and egregiously immoral, but I’m not here to preach. In any case, I believe this spills over in to other facets of life. People don’t wear what they want to wear, they don’t say what they want to say, and they don’t do what they want to do. Everyone’s so terrified of being judged or not fitting in, that they’ll do just about anything to avoid it.

What’s really troubling, is a paranoid idea I have that a lot of people just want everyone else to like and do the same things as them, except they don’t want anyone else to be as good at it. People don’t like when a heavy girl wears clothes that don’t flatter her, because… why? Because it hurts them to have to look at her? No. It’s because, in a way, they begrudge her the confidence it takes to put herself out there like that. Confidence, that maybe, they don’t possess themselves, and therefore can’t understand in anyone else. It confuses and annoys people, and so they feel like it’s necessary to tear her apart… When, really, that kind of confidence is amazing. The older I get, the more I think that the people who actively dislike others for being different from them really just can’t stand the fact that someone is better at something than they are. Otherwise, I’m convinced, they just wouldn’t care.

Basically it’s like your mom and dad always said: If people don’t like you, it’s probably because they’re jealous.

Either that or you’re kind of a jerk and might need to work on your personality a little. Even then, though… Maybe it’s more important to be yourself than to mindlessly be nice to people when you don’t want to be. I don’t think that radically, but I can still see the logic.

In the end, who cares what anyone else thinks? Who cares what everyone else does? Don’t dance like no one is watching; dance like everyone is. The only person you have to be with 100% of the time is yourself, and if you like you and the things you do… no one else should matter.

So, pour yourself a cup of tea and bowl of Trix, beat Half-Life 2 on Expert, and live life on Awesome.

… Er, unless you don’t want to.