For the past few weeks, I have passed a light-up sign on my way to work. It stands at the turn toward the highway, having been placed there to give information to travelers about to head onto the interstate. Its message — “Road Work on I-95 NB.”
The first time I passed that sign, my split-second, instantaneous thought was “Shouldn’t it say ‘NB’ at the beginning?”
A few nanoseconds later, I was hit by the crushing realization that I am a colossal nerd. It dawned on me that, in that context, “NB” stood for “northbound” and not “nota bene.” And that only a truly, preposterously nerdish nerd would ever imagine that the Maine Department of Transportation would use formal legal/academic notation to draw attention to an announcement already being displayed on a light-up sign.
This is a realization with which I am all too familiar. Indeed, it has been the subject of a previous STQ that I have lost in the misty ethers of the Internet. But so regularly am I reminded that I am deeply nerdy that it felt appropriate to revisit the topic.
The other recent reminder was a chat I had with one of the nice people who works at the front desk in my office. I have no memory of how the subject came up, but for some reason he made reference to the Greek goddess Iris. (That was, admittedly, a pretty damn nerdy set-up.) And I not only mentioned that Iris was the messenger of the gods, but that she traveled by way of the rainbow. Because nothing says “cool boss” like stone cold mythology knowledge.
You see, in middle school I was way into Greek mythology. Like, way into. “Hand my brother a copy of Edith Hamilton’s ‘Mythology’ and tell him to quiz me” into. For this reason, I can not only name all nine Muses, I can tell you the particular ambit of each. I named a couple of fish I owned at one time “Deimos” and “Phobos,” after the chariot-drivers of Ares. (They were little red fish, you see. It made sense.) I considered Roberto Calasso’s “The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony” enjoyable leisure reading. You get the idea.
My nerd cred goes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back.
But I know I am not alone. Oh, no. My geekery may not trend in the direction of video games like many of the League’s denizens, and my comic-book-fu may be relatively rusty and weak compared to some of the rest of you, but I know a crowd of nerds when I see them. I am not alone here.
So what was the most recent reminder of your nerddom? When in the not-too-distant past were you confronted with the fact of your nerdish leanings? Bonus points if you actually felt better about yourself afterward.