Monday, January 18, 2016

Nerd Nests


A grandchild was accused of being a “Nerd” because she played read and reread Lord of the Rings, and got hooked on TV shows like Mr. Robot and FRINGE.  I wondered about this label at first, because she’s bright, outgoing, and swims in a sizeable pod of friends. I thought "nerd" implied "recluse," but I've come to see that although the term “nerd,” is fairly new, the old stigma has fled.

Meanwhile, the basic profile remains the same. "Nerd" is an inherited condition.  My husband was always neat, even, his mother told me, as a child, a born organizer. The system might not always be apparent, but he will explain it to you, and he will back his preferences with an annoyingly inescapable logic. He built and flew model airplanes through adolescence. In neatly labeled boxes in the basement, beside his mourned, obsolete darkroom, are their engines, packed carefully in oil.
After we married, he worked in the budding IT world. At home, he spent a decade obsessing over Ansel Adams’ Zone System. He could bring a loud party with the latest Stones album to a stand-still if given an opening, those omnipresent gray scale test sheets in hand. His photography, as he practiced in darkroom and after kitchen table grokkings of his work, was inspired. As a result, we’ve got rafts of wonderful pictures of our boys. 



As for me, I was an only lonely child living in the country. Nearsighted (“Lizzie Lens” the ‘50’s joke) it was easier for me to read than to relate to a world of other children I couldn’t quite see. I hung out in my imagination, creating an entire world ruled by dogs; I drew charts of canine dynasties. Oddly, the dogs rode horses, and I had a huge box of plastic and china animals. Later, I cut to the chase and simply sat on the floor and talked to myself. When I was a child, this was called “good” behavior because I stayed out of the way of adults as much as possible. Nowadays, I’d probably be dragged to a shrink.

I’ve always been vulnerable to biography.   I began a life of passionate attachments to dead white men with Davy Crocket. By the time I was eleven, my affections had fastened (pretty much permanently) upon Alexander Hamilton. This was a fairly odd choice for a crush in the age of Elvis Presley, but my next choice, Richard III, the (perhaps) 15th Century murderer of his nephews, was thought by some to be downright creepy.

Once, kids like us hid our obsessions. These days, there are plenty of OCD types who are "out of the closet." The Big Bang Theory is a top comedy.

So, when the oldest granddaughter puts on her “Talk Nerdy to Me” tee and heads out to binge on  X-Files, or to play War Craft with her friends, I feel a distinctly warm glow. When the other girl, now a HS Junior who plays in the marching band, becomes a Word Pad Star with her funny Rick Riordan fan-tic, I cheer out loud!

Both girls are bona fide members of The Creative Clan.

~~ Juliet Waldron



1 comment:

Ginger Jones Simpson said...

I knew you were a good child, but I never expected you sat on the floor and entertained yourself. *lol* Great post. I enjoyed it, and I must say whatever drew you to writing, I'm happy because of it. You look nothing like a "nerd."

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