How can you tell if you’re a nerd? Most of the time it’s not quite so simple as glancing down and seeing a pocket protector. In fact, most nerds are capable of passing themselves off as what the Bible refers to as “Normals” in everyday life. And that’s why we’ve gathered here today. This helpful little list will let you know just how many nerd tendencies you actually have. Don’t feel bad. There’s no judgment here. I’m not gonna lie – I’m guilty of one or two of these myself. And I love me. I’m awesome. So you should love yourself too and learn to embrace the simple and unavoidable fact that you may very well be, yes, a nerd. At least a little bit. So, with all that said, here are 14 ways to tell if you are a nerd.
Look, I know that George Lucas releases a new edition of his famed trilogy every six months (at least it seems that way), but honestly, one is enough, don’t you think? You might think it’s important to buy the newest edition because the Ewoks contain working genitalia or because you read that there’s a scene where Jar Jar Binks gets beheaded by Boba Fett, just remember that all you’re doing is validating George Lucas’ egomania and validating the opinion of the rest of the world that you are, in fact, a nerd.
No, not the actual theory. We’re talking about the CBS show in which a bunch of uber-nerds make asses out of themselves because they’re too socially retarded to know how to act in polite society. If you like this show because it reminds you of you and your friends, you obviously came to terms with your nerddom long ago. But, if you hate this show because you find its portrayal of smart people offensive, well, I’ve got news for you – you my friend are very likely also a nerd. It’s a shitty sitcom. Relax.
Sure, you might tell people that the mint condition Indiana Jones doll you keep in its original packaging is an investment, but the rest of the world just thinks you still play with toys. And while you may tell yourself that the little Optimus Prime action figure you keep on your desk is just an ironic shout out to your lost childhood, you know that deep in your little heart that it just means that that same heart is pumping nerd blood through those veins of yours. And contrary to all those comic books you read – excuse me, graphic novels – sadly, nerd blood doesn’t magically turn you into some sort of crime fighting super hero. I’m sorry that I had to be the one to tell you.
If you know what I’m talking about, then I don’t need to explain here. Just hang your head in shame. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, there’s no way I can explain this without making myself look like the world’s biggest nerd. Shit, maybe I should have skipped this one...
Hey, look, if you want to sit around with your friends and pretend that you’re a wizard or if you can’t stand the idea of even that level of socialization and prefer to do your wizard fantasizing via your World of Warcraft account, knock yourself out. Just know that the day you end up in a park wearing a wizard hat dodging imaginary lightning bolts from people dressed like servers at Medieval Times is the day that you’ve surrendered completely to the nerd way of life. It’s a slippery slope. That’s all I’m saying.
Look, I’m not knocking you here. In fact, I admire your computer acumen. Personally, I’ve come to accept that these articles get posted via the power of magic. I’m pretty sure Spags is a wizard. So I have no room to judge you for your obvious knowledge and expertise. But just know that every time you brag about using some arcane operating system that the word “Nerd” flashes in bright neon lights in the brain of whoever it is that you’re talking to. But that’s okay because one day you’ll be the one who engineers Skynet and they’ll be the ones running from a giant robot that inexplicably looks and talks like an Austrian bodybuilder.
Special points here if you’ve ever found yourself arguing who was the better Captain, Kirk or Picard. Double bonus points if you’ve ever tried to successfully argue the case of any of the Star Trek series other than the original series or Next Generation. Super duper bonus points if you even have a working knowledge of those other series allowing you to make that argument. Mega Ridiculous Jurassic Park sized Nerd points if you think that Dr. Who is better than all of them.
Look, that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tee-shirt may have made you the envy of all your snot nosed friends when you were ten, and your grandma might have told you how spiffy those Velcro Nikes look, but I’m afraid I have some bad news for you - even those cartoon turtles think you need to update the ol’ wardrobe and those dudes don’t even wear pants. Of course, it’s possible that you dress this way just because you’re a hipster. But just know that is far, far more odious than being a nerd.
Don’t try to deny it, Rivers. You know it’s true.
Chicks dig musicians. It’s true. But there’s a big difference between a dude who can play the guitar and a dude who plays the clarinet. If you play tuba, then forget about it. You might as well walk around with a ham sandwich and a tee-shit that says “I Heart to Fart.” Then again, who knows, you might be the first person to shoot to superstardom by rocking out on the oboe. But even then, you’d just be considered the Kenny G of the oboe and who wants that?
It’s one thing to know who Batman or Superman is. If you don’t know who they are or who Spider-man is or some of the X-Men then honestly you’re just culturally retarded. But it’s quite another thing to know the names of all of Batman’s villains’ grandmothers or what color underwear Professor Xavier wears. Here’s a test - the character of Robin was based on a houseboy the original writer of Batman kept locked in a chest at the end of his bed. If you don’t know whether that’s true or not, then congratulations, you passed the test, you’re probably not a nerd. At least not because of comics. If you just read that and said something that started with “No, no, that’s not true. Robin is...” then I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you’re a nerd. Also, I may be mentally disturbed, but that’s beside the point and I’m sure you’ve figured that out already anyway.
Self-explanatory, really. Also, spoiler alert for Revenge of the Nerds. Sorry. Oh, and you’re also likely a sex criminal. Congratulations?
And you’re probably at least 1/2 to 3/4 nerd if you even know who most of those dudes are. And yes, I realize that I just implicated myself here, but let’s just move on. I don’t have to answer to you!
Yes, believe it or not, once upon a time people actually made friends by meeting them face to face and then they remained friends by getting together and doing things like going to the movies or going to the bar or the beach or beating that hobo who... oops, I may have said too much. But, really, if most of your friends are just screen names, and if when you think of them the first thing that pops into your head is a profile picture or an avatar, it’s probably time to accept one simple and undeniable truth: you are a nerd. But hey, that’s cool, at least this way you don’t have to pretend to listen or care when your friends are going on about crap that nobody cares about and... hey, where are you going?
Originally published October 5, 2011.