Thursday, September 25, 2014

What's a nerd, daddy?

So my son will ask me what a nerd is. Now what?

What distinguishes a nerd from a geek, or from a dweeb or even a dork? I've been asked that question a lot. Batbaby will ask me why I want him to be a nerd. Let's talk about that. Here is a useful diagram.
A nerd has intelligence, obsession, and perhaps a little social ineptitude. This seems to be true, at least for me. Let's keep going.

What's in a name?

In the early 1900's performers that perform bizarre and disgusting acts, such as biting the heads off of chickens were called geeks. Live chickens. Eww. Now I'm not saying geeks today bite into live chicken heads, but I'm not going to embrace that name for myself.
Nowadays the geek is an extremely knowledgeable, read obsessed, about a particular topic such as cars, comics or even The Lord of the Rings.

The word nerd on the other hand was created by Dr. Suess in the book If I Ran the Zoo in the line  "A nerkle, a nerd, and a seersucker too!" back in 1954. Wow! Dr. Suess created the word nerd. What else haven't I heard?
Generally nerds prefer more solitary or non social pursuits such as gaming.

So what's the difference?

Well, most nerds are part geek, and most geeks might, if they are lucky, have some nerd. There may be subtle differences, for example, the level of social involvement can move someone from one sphere to the next. But a geek is always in danger of becoming a hipster, just a superficial trend chaser. A nerd is always cool. And I want my son to be cool, and nerdy.

So there you go Batbaby, this is what it means to be a nerd. We are not geeks, or hipsters, or even dweebs. We are the creators of the internet, we made D&D into just about every game that you can play on any game console you can think of. We even found a way to get the Jocks into our world by making games that they play. Madden, anyone. But don't take my word for it.

Check out the Urban dictionary definitions for yourself and see.

  • Nerd: The person you will one day call "boss"
  • Geek: The people you picked on in high school and wind up working for as an adult.

  • Note that you want a nerd for a boss, that geek might be a pain in the ass revenge seeking ass. Just saying.

    Further reading:

    Stay Nerdy!