Thursday, July 3, 2008

The "Dork" Knight

In the past couple of years, I've finally been able to come to grips with the fact that I'm a HUGE NERD. That's not a solely figurative statement. This pic is a few years old, but I've managed to maintain this particular look in spite of going through a recent phase when beer, pizza and homework (listed in order of importance) eclipsed my need to crush unopened soda cans--with one hand. After I took this picture, I faintly recall going back to playing PlayStation games and shooting Cheez Whiz into my mouth.

Anyway, yesterday, a friend of mine was giving me grief about my advance purchase of IMAX tickets for "The Dark Knight." I responded to his playful ribbing with...

"What? I only bought them three weeks in advance, sheesh."

I was browsing through the vast array of "basement virgin" websites (rottentomatoes, 49erswebzone, Askmen, etc.) I frequent this morning, when I thought....

"Ya know, Aubrey...why don't you just admit that you've got a PhD in Goober-ology? You'll feel better if you 'out' yourself."

My logical side responded...

"Aubrey, anyone that knows you is quite aware you're the Ayatollah of unintentional virginity. There's no need to announce something that folks with functional gray matter can deduce for themselves."

But I can't help but feel like I've been keeping some horrible secret; like Morgan Freeman in the movie "Deep Impact" (which by the way, was much, much better than the craptacular "Armageddon").

OK, perhaps not advertising my love for Rocky IV, robots with lasers and kung-fu/ninja movies isn't as bad as the end of the world. But like a good friend of mine once said, I'm honest to a fault--which is especially true in terms of my own perceived shortcomings.

But why would I want to allow strangers into my geeky little world? After minutes of self-analyzing, I've produced several theories of why I feel some unprovoked need to put my uncool-ness on display...

a) I believe that people think I'm much cooler than they actually do.

b) I assume I'm much lamer than I actually am.

c) I actually am so cool that I can't reconcile with the guilt/responsibility inherent in Über-coolness (all afore-mentioned coolness is now voided due to my use of the word "Über").

d) So strong is the (nerd) force in me that I feel a need to unleash my knowledge of obscure trivia facts, martial arts cinema and aircraft specifications on the world.

I'm gonna go with "d."

I mean, I'm not really a virgin or anything (it's funny how for us guys, insertion is apparently where downtown Nerdville ends and the freeway to Cooltown begins). I know when it's appropriate to delve into the mysterious origins of the "Dracula" legend or when to commence with a "Gollum" impression. But the fact that I occasionally do these things has always worried me.

In high school, I was never one of the "cool" kids, BUT, everyone knew my name, and (I would like to believe) liked me for the most part. I played football and was OK at that (not the case in track), but honestly, I didn't excel at anything in high school beyond drawing, writing poems/short stories and shoving quarters into a Street Fighter II machine. Nevertheless, I knew deep down, that there was nothing really wrong with that. Or was there?

My closest school friends and I were always keenly self-aware, and were as pop-culture conscious as the "sheep" we pretended to despise. But I also remember more than one lunch period spent in the library where we read newspapers and compared NFL statistics. We were all--in some respect or another--artists at heart. But, as we got older--the doldrums of an anemic high school social life shrinking in our rear view mirrors, something strange happened. We became "cooler." In my case, I chalk it up to military-inspired confidence, being a late physical bloomer and obscene amounts of alcohol.

This influx of cool completely sapped my creative juices. I was always too hung over to write a story; or there was a new club to go to; or a random somebody whose name I couldn't remember needed attending to. It wasn't until I got out of the military, got my degree and got too old (or tasteful) to allow myself to be seen in "FUBU" that I started feeling that old dork gene kicking back in. I probably needn't mention that when my father (as a kid) wasn't picking tobacco out in Lynchburg, South Carolina, he was reading "Spiderman" comics (Sorry Pop, but I can't take the whole rap for this).

Which brings us to the here-and-now. I have friends that own homes, have beautiful significant others, listen to nothing but Too Short and have all the imagination of dry toast. I have buddies with the house and the cute wife who worship at the alter of "Grand Theft Auto" and can cite the genus and species of aquarium fish on demand. Each side teases the other tirelessly. Can either one really be right?

Are any of you wrestling with your inner nerd? Is there a medication I can take for nerd flare-ups? Please help!


Lil Sass said...

Embrace your inner nerd!! In my youth (I can't believe I just said that) ... I WAS the popular girl and I didn't unleash the inner nerd because I didn't need to. What I mean is, when I was younger, I could rely on my wit to keep me in the cool circle. I was never cute enough to be popular based on looks and I sure as hell wasn't puttin' out ;-) As I have gotten older, I somehow have grown to LOVE my inner nerd and I blame every second of it on my dad. He is SUCH a nerd and I always admired him. So maybe I said, if he can be a nerd and still be loved by those around him, so can I! My true libra ways tell me that a balance is the best approach to this. Don't be 'that guy' and rattle off stats to a group of people that don't give a shit. But when asked what the genus and phylum the cockroach belongs to, I totally know. DUH!
Smart guys DO finish first

Aub said...

Wel put, Sass. Well put.