Neo-Nerd: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Machine

As a Millennial elder statesman, I feel a certain level of responsibility to usher in a new era of information sharing, collaboration and general do-goodery that unites us in our efforts to evolve intellectually beyond what’s expected of us as life activists and neo-nerds. In the old days, we’d have to assemble a crowd and march to the nearest idiot’s operation and picket the shit out of it to make our impressions felt and voices heard. Nowadays, revolution is just a click away. And today we’re talking revolution of the mindstate, revolutionizing the state of the union in a way that speaks volumes of our generation’s character as a whole. Being a nerd used to have a certain stigma attached to it, but that has all been replaced by the natural progression of the masses attaching a certain level of stigmata to the way they’ve appreciated the sacrifices offered to them by the technology gods. Recognition.

If I let my beard grow out, I play the part of elder statesman effortlessly. After I shave, bathe and go to a rave though, I might strike you as a middle of the pack Gen-Y’er wolf at the younger end of the spectrum. Either way, the idealism presents itself as a viable option, and it’s only a matter of time before we stop worrying, realize and capitalize on our full potential to see the revolution through. It’s already happening, whether you’re cognizant of it or not, because let’s face it: we’re living in a new world. Awareness.

Growing up, I always got good grades, participated in sports, and sculpted a nice little resume for all the universities I would never attend. This automatic work ethic sculpted me into the proud man/husband/father/writer/activist/knucklehead I am today. During that same childhood and adolescence, I also always found myself running with a crew that consisted of misfits, slackers and general rabble-rousers who helped me become the street smart nerd you’re reading today. Two parts to the whole. Balance.

When I was 13 or 14, I talked my mom into letting me get an AOL screen name for surfing and waiting for that dial-up nonsense to commence. I had a beeper, which was the first step toward texting when you break it down. My first cell phone was that crappy Nokia one with Snake on it. I dropped AOL for an unused Friendster account which gave way to a MySpace account that I seldom frequented. Then came the phenomenon known as Facebook. I opened an account but restrained from logging on out of pure spite toward technological advances and fear of being labeled a nerd by imaginary bullies. Today, I’m posting almost everyday and interacting with everyone I know on a regular basis, probably more than in real life. Is there anything wrong with that? Question.

Nowadays, I’m always online in some way, shape or form. It has become a sick addiction, this information sharing ability. My phone is always on me wherever I go with instant connections to Facebook, Twitter, multiple email accounts, Tumblr, Instagram, texts and other ways to share information or collaborate or create at any given moment. I tirelessly run the Arts & Entertainment section for the coolest online magazine you’re likely to come across today. I’ve come a long way. We’ve come a long way together, baby. Reference.

But beware the ides of March. Beware becoming all too consumed in the all-encompassing world of put-my-head-down-and-fail-to-connect-with-a-real-human-being universe. But do not be afraid to work hard, share and collaborate and take over the world together, Pinky and The Brain style. Trailblaze.

The great thing about nerd coming into vogue is the endless definitions of what a nerd can be. No more just generalized nerd. No, no, no. You can be a sports nerd. A fashion nerd. A specified TV show nerd. A film nerd. A history nerd. A music nerd. A political nerd. A cultural nerd. A grammar nerd. The list (and the beat) goes on, and all of these accepted subcategories of nerd allow us to progress beyond stereotypes and potential bullying (I’ve really come to hate that term) to evolve into integrity-fueled, decent human beings. We used to call them buffs, but that phrase has given way to nerd. Being a nerd makes you an authority on any given subject matter, and that my friends is an empowering suggestion. That is true revolution. And somehow, we have the world wide web to thank for that. By enabling an infinite flow of information, the machine has reminded us of how human we are. Reversal.

Hold on though. I’ve gotta pause. Nineties ‘JEOPARDY!’ is on.

I am nerd. Hear me roar.