The other night Cole and I stayed up late reading his ACT prep book. Not because he had to do some last-minute cramming and I was helping him out of the kindness of my heart, but because we were ... kind of having fun. Which is totally nerdy, I know, but it's the truth. Cole was fascinated by all the new grammar rules he didn't know existed and kept interrupting the novel I was reading to quiz me or say "Why didn't anyone ever tell me that it was 'all intents and purposes' instead of 'all intensive purposes'? That makes so much more sense!" And I was happy to explain why and give more examples because I adore words and the power they wield when you know how to use them to their full potential.
Despite our often normal appearance to outsiders, I live in a nerdy family. Mom and I love having literary discussions, Dad is fascinated by books and documentaries about natural disasters, Lance has a Star Wars spaceship collection and Cole builds robots and does Calculus problems when he's bored. Even Logan, the hipster, geeks out over jazz. We cut our pizza with a pizza cutter shaped like the Enterprise and have a copy of Excalibur hanging on our living room wall. Yup. We're those people.
But I'm fine with that. I'm glad, in fact. I once heard a definition of "nerd" that went something like this: a nerd is someone who gets more happiness out of life than is socially acceptable. And it's true. Why should someone be embarrassed because they actually enjoyed a math homework assignment or took great pleasure in debating the Hobbit movie versus the book? Why should they want to go through life rolling their eyes and sighing at how uncool everything around them is when they could go through life saying "This is awesome!" instead?
Of course, not all nerdiness is good. If you're a 23-year-old guy and haven't been within ten feet of a girl in years on account of being on the thirty sixth month of a video game marathon ... that's not good. You could stand to err on the "socially acceptable" side more often.
But generally being a nerd is a lot of fun. It's like being part of a secret society, where you can share a knowing smile with the stranger next to you when you see that they are wearing a red shirt with the word "expendable" printed on it. You can be in the fourth of the room that snickers over subtle jokes that leaves the rest of the room feeling slightly foolish that they have no idea what just happened. You can have way more fun at Christmas and birthdays, because while other people are getting a new sweater you're getting a Star Wars origami book. Your childhood memories include epic lightsaber battles in someone's back yard instead of hanging out in the field during Little League practice. You actually enjoy your Shakespeare GE in college and homework isn't a huge drag. Life is exciting.
I particularly enjoy being a female nerd, because being able to chime in to a discussion about the merits of Voyager versus Deep Space Nine or Green Arrow versus Aquaman will win you respect every time. That, combined with being able to talk sports, covers the spectrum and pretty much guarantees I'll always be at ease with any group of guys I find myself with rather than having everyone prattle on about the weather awkwardly.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a Christopher Paolini book to finish.