Being a nerd is a mantle I like to think I wear with considerable aplomb. Since I am neither friendless, nor devoid of basic dress sense, nor incapable of experiencing emotion, nor particularly prone to speak in that sing-song drama-school lilt, it seems self-evident that I don't exactly fit the nerd stereotype. This I think permits me great freedoms. I enjoy and wax eloquent about comic books, for instance. I will, with conscious absurdity, draw parallels between high-falutin abstractions and the earthy art of computer programming. I have been known to quote Monty Python, though I always keep it within the bounds of respectability. I can write in a notebook at the pub with only the faintest register of self-consciousness. I'm doing so now, actually.
All of which may, incidentally, qualify me as a geek. This word I take to have two senses: a female nerd (ipso facto cool, but I am wholly ineligible); or a nerd who thinks he is cool. Just so you know, I respond to nerd and greatly resent geek.
However. Over the last—shall we say—financial quarter, I have increasingly come to question the indisputability of my nerd status. The reason for this is quite simple. Gmail was announced on April 1. I, being a nerd, instantly became aware of it, and registered my interest. For the last ninety days, I have steadily been scaling back my anticipated username. In those first heady hours, I actually let myself imagine email@example.com. Then it was firstname.lastname@example.org. Within about a fortnight it was email@example.com. Then firstname.lastname@example.org. As late as a week ago, I had surrendered ground as far as email@example.com.
Now, I just don't care. I don't even want a gmail account. I mean, what do you think I am? Are you calling me a nerd? You wanna come here and say that? Yeah, you—come on, I'll take ya.
Ya frickin' nerd.
Joseph | 30 Jun 2004