Forsgren: Nerdiness Is Best When Shared
It’s kinda funny what you remember from childhood.
I remember those hot summer days when running through the sprinklers on your lawn was the second best thing ever. The best thing ever was the sight of Mom walking our way, huge smile on her face, proffering popsicles and towels. The goosebumps rising on my arms were not just the result of being wet and cold, and my mouth watered in sweet, sweet anticipation.
Then, tragedy. Mom broke in half the popsicle I was expecting to have all to myself and handed one part to one of my siblings. Eegads!! What a catastrophe!
You might be able to tell that I hated sharing when I was a kid. But maturity, no matter how little you accrue, can change a lot, and these days, sharing is one of my favorite things to do. Especially when I get to share my nerdiness.
These days, I constantly find myself hoping I’ll run across someone I can share my love of geeky stuff with. My sister and brother-in-law probably hate me for how much I’ve corrupted my nieces and nephews with tales of Jedi knights, spider-men and kaiju. My friends and I are constantly introducing one another to cool nerdy stuff. Heck, sometimes I even share with complete strangers. It’s like I’m some fat, bearded missionary for Nerd-dom.
For example, I found myself in the mall the other day, looking for a birthday present for a friend, when I found what I was looking for (and, I’m telling you, this gift KILLED it for me), I went to check out, only to have the cashier ask me about the Killswitch Engage shirt I was wearing.
Instantly, my metal nerd side took over and I started spouting all sorts of minutia about Killswitch and about a dozen other metal bands. I expected the guy to look at me like I’m psychotic, like most folks do when I geek out about metal, but he actually seemed interested. Our conversation expanded to cover non-nerdy stuff like dating, and I left feeling like I actually made a connection with another human being, not something that happens all that often to me. And it felt amazing!
I mentioned earlier that I shared a lot of my nerdiness with my nieces and nephews. That’s fun. My youngest niece is totally a girlie-girl, but after I showed her “Guardians of the Galaxy”, she became a big fan of the character Groot, an anthropomorphic tree whose vocabulary is limited to a single three-syllable phrase. One day when I was out, I saw a Groot keychain, and I thought my niece would flip out over it. So I bought one, gave it to her, and she loved it.
Another experience I recently had sharing my nerdiness came one night when I was at my sister’s house, making s’mores and just enjoying one another’s company. My oldest niece, who has terrible taste in music, was freaking out over One Direction or someone lame like that. I pulled my phone out, to find some music to drown out her teenage fan-girling, and pulled up a Babymetal video on Youtube.
My youngest niece heard this and was instantly smitten. She seemed genuinely blown away by the idea of these little Japanese girls singing in front of this brutal metal band. She made me play one video after another. Every time I see her now, she asks me to show her more Babymetal. She’s gonna lose it when she sees my new Babymetal tee-shirt.
Sometimes, I’m not even the one doing the sharing. A couple weeks back, my buddy Ryan had me over for what hopefully will be the first of many “Bad Superhero Movie Nights”. We watched the 1994 “Fantastic Four” movie, followed by the 1990 “Captain America” flick starring the son of the guy who wrote “Catcher in the Rye”. I had never seen either movie, and I enjoyed both quite a bit, even though they were both terrible. I left thinking about how lucky I am to have a friend who shares my interest in terrible, low-budget sci-fi and action flicks.
There’s a Bible verse that implores us not to hide our candles under a basket, because then the light serves nobody. I’ve always interpreted the “candle” in that passage to mean what’s special about ourselves, what sets us apart. And I believe nerdiness is my candle. Share what you love, or what makes you special with whomever you find to be receptive. If we share our light with one another, the world will be a much better place.
Now, anybody out there wanna share a popsicle with me?