Confessions of a nerd
I had taken this test before, but recently found a link to it and took it again:
I was struck by how dated some of the questions were, then I found the Nerd Test 2.0 on the same site and took it, and it was a bit better:
But still terribly dated. For instance, the second test mentions owning computers with more than a gig of memory. Really? Smart phones have that much memory, now. Therefore, all sorts of non-nerds own at least one computing-type device that falls into that category. I get that when the test was written, that threshold was a big deal, but what sort of nerd doesn’t think about how quickly technology becomes obsolete, and therefore would try to design a test so that it could still be relevant in a year or three?The tests also mention owning computers with less than 512K of memory, which would imply that one owned a computer some years ago when home computers were less ubiquitous. But my first thought when reading the question was, “512K? Luxury!” (And yes, I am alluding to the old Monty Python Four Yorkshiremen sketch)
Seriously, the first computer I ever owned only had 1K of memory… and no persistent storage.
But I have nerdy/geek friends who weren’t even alive in 1983 when the Timex Sinclair was a thing, so using it (or even the 512K range) as a means to measure one’s nerdiness smacks more of ageism than actual nerdiness. It’s true that I have sometimes bragged about the fact that the only programming class I ever took involved writing our programs with punch cards. Hey! Fortran was cutting edge at one time!
But most of my point about that is: my whole adult life I have made a living in the computer industry and at different times my job has included coding or scripting (which aren’t the same thing, but they both involve algorithmic thinking), but I’ve done it all without taking formal classes in any of the languages that I have ever been required to use on the job. I’m not really bragging about how early I got into computers, because that is simply a product of how old I am. Since I had no control over when I would be born, that’s out of my control. I usually bring it up to say that the important thing about any skill is your ability to learn new stuff as you go and don’t be afraid to try something just because you’ve never done it before.
While things like a Nerd Test can be fun, there’s an awful lot of gatekeeping implied in many (most) of the questions (and we’ve had more than enough gatekeeping going on around here!). That doesn’t even get into the whole conflation of nerd and geek and dork!
I’m a nerd. I get really enthusiastic and pedantic about the things I love. And a lot of those things have to do with math, science, technology, science fiction, and fantasy. But you can be nerdy about words, or knitting, or art supplies, or bow hunting, or vintage cars, or—well, anything! One of my friends has been nerding out the last year or so on cocktail making, for instance. I have friends who nerd-out about cellos. It’s all good, and we don’t need to keep score.
I’m attending NorWesCon this weekend. We skipped the last couple of years, and I’ve really missed it. I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time hanging out with many different kinds of nerds, and being a big ol’ nerd myself.
It’ll be fun!