A Fork in the Road

To be completely honest with you, I should start by saying that I don’t know who you are. Sure, there was a time when I could safely assume that anyone reading this was a Caucasian, heterosexual male, somewhere between the ages of thirteen and forty years old. You’d also likely be an atheist, although you might be Christian or Jewish; if so, you won’t discuss it much. I could have guessed that you worked in the tech industry or perhaps the sciences. Indeed for much of the past thirty years I probably could go so far as to pick out your favorite movie (Star Wars), your favorite TV show (Doctor Who), your sense of fashion (printed T-shirts and ill-fitting casual slacks) and even what you’d be doing on a Saturday night (playing Dungeons and Dragons if you’re my age, playing World of Warcraft online if you’re a few years younger). Whether you were a nerd, a dweeb, a geek, a dork, a gamer or just the lonely kid who never quite seemed to fit in anywhere until he joined the chess club, it was pretty easy to identify you (and me) amongst a crowd of so-called “normal” people. This uniformity then combined with a sense of marginalization and alienation to bind us together and create a true feeling of unity and brotherhood amongst our fellow nerds. We may have been on the outside of mainstream culture, but sharing a community with other outcasts allowed us to stop caring about a society that had rejected us. Instead of “looking in” we started to “tune out” this culture and focus on making our own, beautiful mark on the world around us.