Nerds on Earth
The best place on Earth for nerds.

What is a Nerd?

I'll give you 20 bucks if you can tell me which is these dice are purple. Photo by Board Game Quest.

Well nerds, this is it. I’ve reached an arbitrary numerical milestone. Because this, my friends, is my 100th post with Nerds on Earth.

Break out the noisemakers!

I don’t have some elaborate article waiting in the wings that I want to share with you, or another installment of my Pathfinder Second Edition Character Concepts Series. Not this time. Instead, with my 100th article, I really wanted to discuss what being a nerd means to me. Maybe, if we’re lucky, we might just stumble into something profound.

Everyone is a Nerd

Well, would you look at that. I completely buried the lede with the header. That’s right – everyone is a nerd! Over the past two decades, the conventional definition of ‘nerd’ has evolved into something unrecognizable from thirty years ago.

Back then, being called a nerd was supposedly an insult. That’s where you get your stereotype of the nerd with pocket protectors, suspenders, and large-rimmed glasses. Nerds were synonymous with brainiacs, and regarded as the antithesis to jocks.

Today, being a nerd is a badge of pride, and it’s one that anybody can wear. You don’t have to be super smart, or love video games, or read comic books, or paint miniatures to be a nerd. You can be nerdy about literally ANYTHING.

Do you like spending all day out on the lake trying to catch walleye? You’re a fishing nerd.

Are you in love with the aromas and flavors of different coffee blends? You’re a coffee nerd.

Do you prefer volunteering at animal shelters and caring for four-legged friends? You’re a pet nerd.

Being a nerd isn’t a bad thing at all anymore. In fact, embracing your nerdy qualities and singing your nerdiness from the rooftops feels really good because you’re enthusiastic about something you enjoy. Be nerd and be proud.

Welcome Other Nerds

One of the best parts about being a nerd are the communities of like-minded nerds. Granted, there are examples of this that are antithesis to that conclusion. As a fandom grows, it’s nearly unavoidable that there will be pockets of toxicity or gatekeeping that develop. It’s a shame, but it’s a reality.

As nerds, we all wear the mantle of welcoming in newcomers. One of the keys to a successful nerd community is having a stream of new nerds coming in. Those nerds have levels of excitement and wonder that can help remind us of all the positivity in our nerdy communities. It’s up to us to make them feel welcome, answer questions, and share in the joy that they’re feeling.

Having opinions is great; it’s important to have different viewpoints and beliefs to help foster a well-rounded community. However, playing board games for 10 years doesn’t make you any better than someone just starting out. Or just because you don’t like games like Forbidden Island because they’re too easy, doesn’t mean that you have the right to tell newcomers that they should get a better taste in games.

That’s how you sabotage your own nerdy interests.

It’s important for nerds to share in the discovery of new nerds and support them. There are few things that an enthusiastic band of nerds can’t accomplish.

Keep On Nerding

There’s no mystical formula to being a nerd. You might have made a thousand pizzas in your lifetime, and you’re just as much as nerd as the person preparing their first oblong pie. Being a nerd, and embracing it, is about diving in headfirst into something and being so excited about it that people can’t help but notice.

The things I’m a nerd about today – board games, tennis, tabletop games, tap handles, camping – might not be the same things I’m a nerd about next year. Maybe I’ll find something else to really sink my teeth into. In fact, this minimal talk about pizza is making my mouth water.

This is really just a long-winded way to say that you shouldn’t be ashamed of your nerdy interests. We are all nerds in our own way. Being a part of this community at Nerds on Earth has opened my eyes to so many other nerdy things that I never would have given second thought beforehand.

Keep your minds open, nerds. You never know what might fall inside.

So as I prepare myself for another 100 articles, I’m not sure what the future might bring. All I know is that I’m going to keep writing about the things that bring me joy, hoping that I can share that joy with others. Because for me, that’s what being a nerd is all about.

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