I Was A Closet Nerd. (Relax, You're Probably A Nerd Now Too).

~ Ah... The eighties. The era of mullet hair styles, half shirts and ...being a closet nerd. Wait, what? I am a child of the eighties, and like any generation, at some point, I entered that strange phase of feeling like a kid and a (sort of) grown up at the same time. For most kids, thus begins a pivotal time of landing in the social circles that you'll likely spend the rest of your life in (or at least, close to). I wasn't a socially awkward kid. I made friends easily enough and I was never uncomfortable around girls. In fact, my middle and high school years were often spent juggling my friends, my girlfriends, and my school work (the latter usually coming in dead last). But one thing I noticed from very early on was that many of my real interests were not that of most of my friends...at least that I knew of. I kept these interests secret from most of them. Yes, I was a closet nerd.



I obsessed over my collecting of action figures (I played with them too), comic books (I chronically read them and even drew my own), and video games (I saved every penny for these and played them any chance I could). See, this was a time when computers, video games and comics were the exact opposite of cool. These were things seen by many as "nerdy", and if you were still into them by middle or (heaven forbid) high school, you were definitely a nerd. Finding myself at the crossroads of the (very) few people I knew that still liked these things, and the overwhelming majority that laughed at it, I opted to keep these interests secret. I never stopped liking this stuff, and as I grew up, the insecurities of adolescents faded away and I found myself sharing any of my interests with anyone and everyone. All these years later, nerd culture has become the new norm. I love that. Comic books (and comic book movies), are mainstream now. The sitcom Big Bang Theory is hugely popular and consists (almost purely) of sci-fi jokes and nerd references. Recent studies have found that roughly 81 percent of Americans ages 19-29 play video games and 60 percent of those ages 30-49 do too. Of the two most popular shows on television, one is based on a comic book and the other one a series of fantasy novels (about dragons and magic and stuff). Even my own mother is addicted to The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. So, to all the anti-nerds from way back then, welcome to the club. Please take your seats. We're about to discuss the real-world use case for dilithium crystals. You can find tape for your glasses over there by the asthma inhalers. Ready? Let's begin...

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