Selective Nerdism; Get Some!

Einstein memeOnce again, it is time to out myself. I am a nerd. Not your garden variety superhero comic book lego-loving nerd, but a nerd, just the same. What I have is selective nerdism.

If you are looking for Marvel hoodies, I can tell you I don’t have any. But what I do have are a very particular set of nerd skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.

I don’t give a rat’s ass about hobbits or science fiction fantasy novels. I do not cosplay. To me, anime` is just French for ‘lively.’ I have never, will never, visit a Renaissance Festival in costume. I do not enjoy Japanese pop music, unless you count The Vapors 1980 hit about “Turning Japanese.” Bubble tea is merely sipping melted tapioca through a too-small straw.

I did get decent grades, but I played in rock bands, not the school’s concert band. Worse, nerdwise, I lettered in a bunch of sports. When I play games, I want to win so badly that I have been known to, erm, take unseemly advantage. Decidedly non-nerdist.

How do I claim nerd-cred? My nerdism travels very narrow pathways.  Mine is a highly selective nerdism.

I am a classic literature nerd.

  • Do not ever, ever, misquote Fitzgerald or The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock around me. You will be corrected. With a look of haughty derision, to boot.
  • I binge read The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes about once every three months.
    • “Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?” “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” “The dog did nothing in the night-time.” “That was the curious incident,” remarked Holmes.

My science nerdism knows no bounds.

  • I know what a tardigrade is, and drop that knowledge into conversations far too often for my friends to be interested any longer.
  • I can tell you about the relationship between a Moebius strip and a Klein bottle.

Anyone who reads philosophy is, ipso facto, a nerd.

  •             There are several book shelves in my home filled with philosophy of all kinds.
  •             Derrida and Kuhn. Every so often, I try to get through their stuff. Again.

My selective nerdism makes me ask ‘why’ I’ll ask anyone. At 56, I feel like a kid much of the time, because so much stuff is endlessly fascinating. Growing older is inescapable. Staying (appropriately) young is a choice. A healthy dose of carefully curated selective nerdism will keep you young.

Like Charles J. Sykes said in his 2007 book 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School – “Be nice to nerds. Odds are, you’ll end up working for one.” (You read that correctly. Bill Gates didn’t say that.)

Selective nerdism. I suggest you take it up.

What are you nerdy about? Share it on the Dads Roundtable Facebook page.


The Beginning
About David Stanley

Teacher & science guy, writer, musician, coach, skier and bike racer, I am interested… in everything; your story, food & spirits and music and everything in the natural world, spirit & sport. My son is 22 and still needs his Dad. I am 56 and so do I.
I blog on life and death, cancer and sports, kids and education at

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