The Nerd Handbook
A nerd needs a project because a nerd builds stuff. All the time. Those lulls in the conversation over dinner? That’s the nerd working on his project in his head.
It’s unlikely that this project is a nerd’s day job because his opinion regarding his job is, “Been there, done that”. We’ll explore the consequences of this seemingly short attention span in a bit, but for now this project is the other big thing your nerd is building and I’ve no idea what is, but you should.
At some point, you, the nerd’s companion, were the project. You were showered with the fire hose of attention because you were the bright and shiny new development in your nerd’s life. There is also a chance that you’re lucky and you are currently your nerd’s project. Congrats. Don’t get too comfortable because he’ll move on, and, when that happens, you’ll be wondering what happened to all the attention. This handbook might help.
Regarding gender: for this piece, my prototypical nerd is a he as a convenience. There are plenty of she nerds out there for which these observations equally apply.
Understand your nerd’s relation to the computer. It’s clichéd, but a nerd is defined by his computer, and you need to understand why.
First, a majority of the folks on the planet either have no idea how a computer works or they look at it and think “it’s magic”. Nerds know how a computer works. They intimately know how a computer works. When you ask a nerd, “When I click this, it takes awhile for the thing to show up. Do you know what’s wrong?” they know what’s wrong. A nerd has a mental model of the hardware and the software in his head. While the rest of the world sees magic, your nerd knows how the magic works, he knows the magic is a long series of ones and zeros moving across your screen with impressive speed, and he knows how to make those bits move faster.
The nerd has based his career, maybe his life, on the computer, and as we’ll see, this intimate relationship has altered his view of the world. He sees the world as a system which, given enough time and effort, is completely knowable. This is a fragile illusion that your nerd has adopted, but it’s a pleasant one that gets your nerd through the day. When the illusion is broken, you are going to discover that…
Your nerd has built himself a cave.
Your nerd loves toys and puzzles.
Nerds are fucking funny.
Your nerd has an amazing appetite for information.
Your nerd has built an annoyingly efficient relevancy engine in his head.
Your nerd might come off as not liking people.
Advanced Nerd Tweakage:
Map the things he’s bad at to the things he loves.
Make it a project.
People are the most interesting content out there.
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