by Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)
Are you a convert to Nerdism? Dating a nerd? Married to one? Thinking of dabbling in the nerd arts? Ever thought, “Gee, I wish there was something I could do to improve my nerdly credentials?” No? I’ve never actually used the word, “Gee,” in a real conversation with myself or with others. Come to think of it, I’ve never thought about improving credentials either. I’m a bit of a slacker, you know. I’ve taken procrastination and apathy to somewhat new and somewhat glorious heights. Okay, that was a lie. It’s taken me a week to write this article, and I’ve only left the couch once, and that was to get more Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups because the bag I was eating them out of was empty. What I wouldn’t give for a bag of holding filled with them. Mmmmm, peanut buttery goodness.
Wait. Where was I? Oh, right. You know how we nerds find something to latch on to, like a favorite television show, favorite movie, book, game, and whatnot? And whatever it is we love, we love the hell right out of it. When you buy that game, you play the hell out of it. I’m not even going to admit to how many times I’ve watched Star Wars (no subtitles) or Chuck, nor how many conversations I’ve had about Harry Potter or Middle-Earth. And later this evening, a group of folks will gather at our house and roleplay the hell out of Changeling: the Dreaming. Because this is what we do, folks. Even a crotchety, old nerd from yesteryear still gets all excited about new nerdly things. Like this new “social networking” thing I keep hearing about. You guys should check that out, because I got a feeling it’s gonna be big.
And speaking of checking things out, there are a couple other things you guys should give a looksee. Once you do, I know you’ll watch the hell out of ’em. You’ll love the hell out of ’em, and I’ve got a feeling you’ll quote the hell out of ’em. You ever noticed how we do the “hell out of” things all the time? I mean, is this an ontological statement on the things themselves? Or perhaps a metaphysical statement about hell being in all things and the only way to get it out is through loving, playing, doing, quoting, and so forth? Gah, my head hurts. Time for another peanut butter cup.
Regardless of the hell and it’s substance, or lack thereof, I’d like to get on with it and suggest a couple things that you may not be aware of. Do you know who Madmartigan is? Or What a truffle shuffle is? Do you have a red Swingline stapler that you stole from Milton? Ever gone to a “gay musical called ‘Gay’?” These references may seem odd to you but they won’t stay that way. I give you my word…my nerd word.
Office Space (R, 1999). Many of you may not remember the buildup to the year 2000 and all the kerfuffle involved with that. Many of you may have never worked in an office setting before with cubicles, and eight different bosses, and reports that require cover sheets. Office Space revolves around a computer tech, and his computer tech buddies, preparing for the 2000 jump by growing through lines of computer code to fix the date glitch so the world doesn’t end. Peter Gibbons hates his job, and is convinced by his cheating girlfriend to go to a hypnotherapist who has a heart attack in the middle of hypnotizing Peter who then feels nothing but relaxed as he systematically begins to buck the system. Office Space is full of wonderfully weird characters, many of whom do in fact exist in the cubicles next to you. Whether you work in an office setting, or never stepped foot in one, you’ll enjoy this flick.
The IT Crowd (TV-14, 2006-2010). The name says it all really. Working in IT for many years, this little gem from the BBC is pretty true to life, well at least in the sense that in the mid-2000s, the IT department got the crap end of everything. I was down there, in the hole with all the extraneous computer bits answering calls from people who didn’t know what a power button was for. We stayed there, in our hole, much like Moss and Roy, getting paler and more allergic to the sun by the day. To top it off, even though Roy and Moss are actually quite knowledgeable about computers and such, their new boss, Jen Barber, doesn’t know a thing about them. Yeah, that sounds about right, putting someone charge of a department they know nothing about. Hilarity, British hilarity, ensues.
Willow (PG, 1988). Back before the dark times, before the empire of the Star Wars prequels, George Lucas made movies, pretty darn good ones at that. Willow is a shining example. The story follows the evil deeds of Queen Bavmorda who is hellbent on killing the baby Elora Danan who is destined to bring Bavmorda’s twisted reign to an end. It includes everything you need for a proper fairy story: an evil queen, a princess, magic, dwarves, actual fairies, the greatest swordsman who ever lived, a hero (several, in fact), monsters and badly pronounced Celtic words. It’s also been recently released on Blu-Ray, so there is absolutely no reason for you not to see this.
The Goonies (PG, 1985). That’s right, Cyndi. Goonies are good enough. The quintessential eighties movie, and an all-time classic, and the source of the truffle shuffle. A band of kids attempt to save their homes by searching out the hidden treasure horde of the notorious pirate, One-Eyed Willy. That’s assuming, of course, the Fratellis, a family of ne’er-do-wells doesn’t get to the treasure first. So, the race is on between the Fratellis, the Goonies, and the soulless rich who want to turn the Goondocks into a golf course for the betterment of the world. Because that’s just what the world needs: another golf course. Adventure, love, danger, camaraderie, underdogs, and friendship, this movie has everything you could possibly want in a story.
The Secret of NIMH (PG, 1982). Now, I’m not a great lover of actual mice, but animated mice that can talk and such are perfectly awesome. Mrs Brisby, a widowed field mouse has to move her family due to ploughing season coming to the farm they live on. But these are not ordinary field mice, nor are the rats that live nearby. The late Jonathan Brisby helped the rats to escape the laboratory of NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), and died in the process. Turns out the experiments at NIMH made the tested animals smart enough to read and build more complex societies and machinery and whatnots. But this isn’t all sci-fi. There’s good old fashioned fairy tale stuff here liked the wizened old rat, Nicodemus, the mystically mysterious “Great Owl,” a proper villain and so on. Good fun for nerds of all ages, this animated flick never gets old.
So, whether you’re a recent convert to nerd life, or young and growing, or have been a secret dabbler and now feel safe to go public, I’m hopeful this article will help get you caught up to speed on the rich tradition and heritage of this great way of life. And for all you old hats at nerd life, share your wisdom with our nerdly fellows in the Comments section.