Today, while I was at my usual weekly Esperanto meeting, the gentleman sitting next to me asked me if I could fix some or other computer problem that was vexing me. He did so, however, in a way that was not calculated to be as socially adept as I would prefer. He asked me if I was that type of nerd, as he supposed I must have been some type of nerd but he was not sure if I was that kind. I assured him with more politeness than he deserved that I was not that kind of nerd. I am often supposed to be that sort of nerd, unfortunately, as people are always querying me about their technical needs of one kind or another and my response is to do my best but to disclaim any sort of expertise in high technology except that earned by a great deal of effort on my own to understand the technologies that I use for myself .
Yesterday morning, while I was working on my sermonette I was interrupted by someone who frequently asks me for information and opinions on the messages he prepares. Of course, sometimes this comes with extremely awkward statements, as when he commented that I was not as handsome as one would remember being and, to paraphrase Isaiah 53:2e: “There is no beauty that women should desire Him.” Again, I dealt with this more patiently than it was deserved. This is not the first time this sort of comment has been made by someone who had no business doing it–at least one other time  someone managed to add to the offense by reminding me that I looked a lot like my father, something that never fails to bring me a great deal of irritation. Do people think that I am somehow unaware that I am a nerdy person who has a somewhat homely and ordinary Germanic look about me?
So, what kind of nerd am I? There are actually websites which encourage people to figure this sort of thing out. Many years ago, so long ago I forget where I found it, I took a long test that showed just how nerdy I was, where I found myself being a Geek of All Trades. In general, I tend to think nerdiness is more of a matter of approach. There are some people who are thought to be nerds who I greatly enjoy being around, because they are genuinely sweet people who are being themselves. I would like to think that I am that sort of nerdy person, someone with odd interests, the sort of dogged enough personality to go out of my way amassing knowledge that other people find eccentric and unusual, and when I find other people who act the same way, I find it charming. If nerdiness involved mere social awkwardness (not that this is missing with some of us), then there are a lot of people who think themselves as being funny who are really being nerdy.
Since some of us have been considered nerdy since we were extremely young, one gets to taking a term for oneself and claiming it as a badge of honor. But what is it that people mean when it comes to being nerdy. Often, as was the case with the gentleman asking me about my computer expertise, nerdiness simply refers to knowledge and competence. To know about something or know what to do with something is apparently enough to make one a nerd. If this is the standard, if having the quest for competence and knowledge is what makes one a nerd, then there is no way someone like myself could have avoided it, given how consistently the quest for knowledge and understanding has filled my life. Is knowing things such a bad thing? I would hope not. Nonetheless, if that is the standard, then clearly I must be some sort of nerd, without a doubt.
 See, for example:
Specifically, the following passage:
“A young man of some awkwardness and geekiness whom I happen to know, and whose father has been a longtime friend of the family, managed to continually harp on two areas of great personal irritation and discomfort, and it seemed impossible to deter him from both of these areas. On the one side, he continually wanted to remind me, as if it was not the subject of much painful reflection, that I was ever more closely resembling my father, whom he regarded as a particularly unattractive person physically, seeming to imply that my resemblance to him and my resulting general homeliness was responsible for my continuing singlehood, which is a matter of great personal frustration. Despite my chilly restraint, he seemed not to take the hints that his line of personal commentary was not acceptable to me, even if he realized that had he told it to my brother that he views no two (presumably non-twin) siblings looking more alike than the two of us and like our father that my brother would hit him. Perhaps he should have appreciated my lack of physical aggression as a sign of my own extreme restraint and not as a disagreement with my brother that a hit would be warranted for such a hostile and mutually unflattering comment for both of us.”