I think of myself as pretty nerdy. I read sci-fi/fantasy, play video games, and spend a lot of time on the computer. I am also fairly introverted, shy around new people, and think of myself as relatively socially inept and awkward. But holy cow, did Mile Hi Con remind me that things aren’t as bad as they could be.
You know that stereotypical nerd that makes us all cringe? The one with no brain-to-mouth-filter, who thinks that everything they say is inordinately clever? The one with no sense of personal space or voice modulation? That deep, dark thing that we other nerds feel the need to emphasize that we’re not “like that” whenever we’re talking about our interests to someone who might not share them?
I had thought that maybe, maybe these Deep Nerds were a thing of the past, where as it became more socially acceptable to be into “nerdy” things they would fade into myth. Or that maybe they were always mythical, an exaggeration put forward by unfriendly parties. But no, I stand corrected. There still exists a class of nerd that experiences very little human contact, and because of this, is often forgotten until they wander out of their barrows and into the light of day to answer the siren call of a convention.
I’m being overdramatic, I know. But like I said, I fancy myself pretty nerdy, and it was a shock to realize there are people that make me look like a social butterfly by comparison. And you know what the worst part is? I can see parts of myself in them. As if “there but for the grace of friends and family go I.” I can see how, had my path been only slightly different, I could have ended up among them, rather than pitying them from the outside.
Because as annoying as some of them are (and believe me, there was a really annoying one at the con), Deep Nerds are still to be pitied. Much like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings (the books, you philistine). And because of that pity, part of me feels bad for denigrating them. But as tragic as the effects of having no social interaction outside the gaming group you’ve had since middle school may be, it doesn’t make them any less annoying. And I feel bad that seeing people like that makes me feel better about myself.