When I was in second grade, all I wanted was a new computer. My aunt had an old tandy, green text on black screen and everything, which she gave to me. I played a lot of Treasure Mountain (400 LEVELS OF THE SAME THING THAT DOESN’T PROGRESS IN DIFFICULTY AW YEAH). With the arrival of CD-Roms and Soundblaster however, I wanted a computer where I could play these up-and-coming TALKING games. So I begged and begged, and a couple Christmas’s later, I got my computer, complete with creative labs CD-Rom and a package of games that would make any retro gamer pee their pants.
It came with Doom. It was so cool.
I decided my new computer was amazing. I loved it. It could play games, I could write papers on it, it had Windows 3.1, which I was personally amazed by because previously, I had been using DOS computers, AND it had that RADICAL MS-Paint program that I could paint really stupid portraits of myself in. COOOOOOOOL.
In my amazement, I decided to write a paper on my new toy. It was for either 2nd or 3rd grade if I recall correctly. I don’t remember the exact time, I just have the visual in my head of reading my paper out loud to the class. The subject of the paper was to be “The best thing I received for Christmas.” So I wrote this completely in depth paper about my computer. How it had Windows 3.1. How it had a CD-ROM. How soundblaster was new, and that my games could talk. I was a very passionate 8 year old.
I spoke my words proudly and eagerly. And when I was done, the clique of snobby girls sitting diagonal from me laughed. And then I realized that I had ostracized myself from my fellow students for the rest of the year. And even the rest of my time spent in elementary school. Being a “nerd” or any form of “computer geek” was the worst thing you could be when I was growing up. It wasn’t accepted as being cool like it is today. No, when I was growing up, my friends of the female persuasion would rather involve themselves in the exciting, fast paced worlds of boy bands. And jewelry. And sometimes shoes. I hate shoes. Eventually I got tired being a nerd and ran amuck through my high school years, resulting in me getting thrown out of public school. ….But that is really a story for another day. *coughISortOfThreatenedThePrincipalcough*
It blows my mind that “nerdy” things have become such a trendy thing. Now we have websites devoted to selling geek swag. It’s COOL to be a nerd. You WANT to know about things like Star Wars, Back to the Future, Computers, iPhones, programming. Man, I’m COOL now. And because I actually teach students technology based subjects at my job, I’m even MORE COOL. Students depend on me because I have the upper hand. I HAVE POWER. ….sorry.
But then I thought, is being a nerd cool because people actually find it cool? Or is it more of a matter that technology has become so useful, that people depend on nerds? I teach students of all ages and from all kinds of different backgrounds. I constantly get young girls coming in with their iPhone. Young, teenage girls who are fresh out of high school, and honestly don’t have a clue, and for the most part are required to take *some* form of computer course just to complete their core. These girls do not care about learning the computer. But they DO care that their iPhone is working properly, so they depend on us computer dorks, programmers, and hardware gurus to make their everyday accessories work. Now, for the most part, I get students who love learning. But every now and then I get those bratty, spoiled types who could care less about what they have the opportunity to learn. Apathetic as they are, they are not like the girls who made fun of me in elementary school. They respect people who have the upper hand.
I think another reason being a nerd has become so accepting over the last 15 years or so, is the fact that video games have become more popular than ever. And good video games require good programmers, good designers, good artists, and because games have become so lush and cinematic over time, it’s something everyone can get into. Unless you are one of those gals who break their boyfriends PS3s in a giant butthurt fit then uploads it on youtube. Man, I hate that.
I remember being young and being ridiculed for liking the computer games that I played. Now I hop online, claim to like video games, and all of a sudden I am some hot commodity for having girl parts, and enjoying games. It’s absolutely insane the way things have changed. It’s pretty nice not having to worry about getting picked on for having been a huge nerd in the past. I mean, that’s what my obsession with the Monkees is for. Pick on that, for cripes sake.
Some things never change, however. The other day I taught a girl who wore pants that read “juicy” on the butt. I was teaching her Microsoft Excel. She didn’t understand something, so she just outright laughed and called it stupid. Nobody laughed with her.