Tesla was a nerd. You’re just someone who watched Star Wars twice.

Hey, you know Nikola Tesla? The genius contemporary of Thomas Edison who won like a billion patents because he was a genius, and died broke and alone because he was a fucking weirdo? HE was a nerd.

You’re not.

It’s a hard truth, I know, since being “nerdy” is so hot right now, but it just wasn’t meant to be. You’re entirely too likable.

Nerd is a pejorative term. If you don’t know what pejorative means, you’re definitely not a nerd, because nerds are smart. Creepy smart. That’s why they’re nerds.

This is where you try to argue with me, because for some reason you really want to be able to call yourself a nerd, and where I absolutely tear your argument apart, because i’m smart. Creepy smart. I’ll save us both some time, and run through your most salient points.

“I swear i’m a nerd, I like Star Wars!”

Oh, you like a 27 BILLION dollar blockbuster movie franchise? Wow, you really must be a nerd, that’s not mainstream at all. OH WAIT, STAR WARS IS MORE MAINSTREAM THAN THE FUCKING MISSISSIPPI RIVER. The same can be said for Harry Potter, or the Hunger Games, or Twilight, or Game of Thrones or any other immensely popular science fiction or fantasy media. Nerds obsess over the unpopular, the obscure, the non-mainstream. Obviously, you can be a nerd and like Star Wars. But liking Star Wars doesn’t make you a nerd. Reading all of the Star Wars novels in the EU (extended universe), and knowing that Jabba the Hutt’s palace on Tattooine was actually a monastery of the B’omarr Monks, whose most enlightened members had their brains surgically removed from their bodies and placed in nutrient-rich jars that were then installed in spider-like multi-legged robotic bodies so that they could better ponder the mysteries of the universe without worrying about corporeal needs, and that after Jabba’s death, the B’omarrs retook their monastery, and replenished their ranks by recruiting new members by force, THAT is good evidence that you are indeed a nerd.

“Sheesh, whatever! I’m way nerdier than all of my friends, so there.”

Wait, you have friends? And you’re nerdier than them? Sorry, you’re not a nerd. Nerds are socially impaired misfits. You can’t be the cool kid, or even hang with the cool kids and also be a nerd. Your popularity has negated your nerdiness. Nerds can have friends of course, but surprise, surprise, their friends are all nerds. So yeah, if your friend group enjoys LAN parties, and poetry, and acne, and hello kitty, and wearing black, and larping, and pale skin, and erotic Dragonball Z fan fiction, and being feeble, to the exclusion of more mainstream activities then yes, maybe you are indeed a nerd. If you and your friends enjoy normal things however, like sports, and sunshine, and washing your hair, but you also like playing video games or reading genre fiction, then no, you’re not a nerd. Sadly, you are simply an interesting and well-rounded individual. Also, if you like nerdy stuff, but you’re attractive, then you’re not a nerd, because society likes attractive people, and they’ll accept you no matter how weird you really are.

“But…I wear glasses. You can see selfies of me wearing glasses on instagram! Haha! Proof!”

First of all, don’t take selfies. Secondly, glasses aren’t nerdy. This isn’t the early nineties, and you’re not Steve Urkel. You’re just a normal person with shitty shit eyes. Probably because you spend too much time squinting at instagram on your phone.

steve urkel

“Whatever Max, why do you even care?”

Why do I care? WHY DO I CARE? I care, because somebody needs to stand up for the nerds. Lord knows those goofy bastards can’t stand up for themselves. Me, i’m not a nerd. I’m athletic, and handsome, and charming, and I have no problem fitting in to mainstream culture, so no, i’m not a nerd. I do like nerdy stuff though. In fact, I love nerdy stuff. And if things were only slightly different for me growing up, I could have easily been a real life, full blown nerd. So I care about their plight. I’m like the Lorax, but instead of speaking for the trees, I speak for the nerds, because even though, unlike trees, the nerds technically do have tongues, they’re much too awkward and asbergery to speak for themselves.

To be a nerd is to be Othered. An outsider. No matter how much they would like to, nerds don’t fit in to society at large. That’s what makes the appropriation of the nerd label so frustrating to actual nerds. Nerds don’t identify themselves as such. It’s a label that is forced upon them by the rest of society. You may call yourself a nerd, but it’s just a costume, one that you can take off and return to every day life when you feel like it, without the discrimination or stigma associated with that particular cultural identity. A real nerd is stuck being a nerd. Steve Urkel doesn’t get to turn into Stefan Urquelle.

stefan urquelle

You gleefully calling yourself a nerd because you scored a vintage looking Alf T-shirt at Urban Outfitter, which you will wear with jorts and a fanny pack, is a blatant case of cultural appropriation. You’re not a nerd, you’re something much, much, MUCH worse. You’re a fucking hipster. AKA the worst person in the history of the world, ever.

“But I like Dungeons and Dragons.”

Oh, well then yeah, you’re a full blown nerd.






About Max T Kramer

Max has been better than you at writing since the third grade. He currently lives in Connecticut, but will someday return to the desert.
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