Lately I’ve been struggling with some big life decisions. You know, the kind of things you have to think about when you’re an adult and there are bills to be paid and the future to be considered: should I keep my safe job or jump into something crazy with both feet? Should I keep the secure pension plan or do something I’ve always wanted to do?
It’s been keeping me up at night and there have been more than a few tears shed. And then, last night, at about 2 a.m., as I was queuing up the next episode of Frasier on DVD, I realized something: I realized I’m afraid that if I pass on the risky but exciting opportunity, I’ll begin a slow slide into, well, ordinary.
“Oh my god,” I thought, as the remote slid out of my hands and bounced off the cat. “I’m afraid of losing my nerddom! I don’t want to be normal!” It was a horrifying thought.
See, my day job right now is in the government; I’m an editor for a large department. There are dusty plants, grey cubicles, and fluorescent light fixtures. It’s the very epitome of not-exciting. It pays well, yes, and my co-workers are nice, but it’s dull. There’s not much of the nerddom around here. What if I stay here and my character slowly gets sapped away into the brown carpet and cubicle walls?
At about 3 a.m., I fell asleep with tears in my eyes and woke up this morning looking like I’d gone ten rounds with
I came to work, sat down in my office, and sighed. And then I looked around.
I looked at my lava lamp, my large bamboo with the stuffed toy koala hanging on it, my Hurley action figure from Lost, my many pictures and postcards, my APE/SPX convention badges, my Casper the Friendly Ghost paper holder, my gargoyles, my Bumble and Yukon Cornelius from Rudolph, my Boston Red Sox stuff, my life-sized Gandalf cardboard cut-out (who’s wearing my Smithsonian Air and Space Museum bucket hat), my rainbow disco ball, my wind-up robotic mice (who live under my visitor’s chair), my Zen garden, my Edward Gorey calendar, my Beware of Cat and No Hunting signs, my The Gods Hate Kansas b-movie poster, my Star Wars: A New Hope poster, my Fellowship of the Ring poster (featuring Aragorn, of course), my bookshelf of lunchtime reading material (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Archy and Mehitabel, The Sparrow, Monty Python: The Complete Unexpurgated Scripts, and The Iowa Baseball Confederacy), my STS-107 patch, my souvenir Rolling Stones tickets (held on the front of my cabinet with a Rolling Stones magnetic tongue, of course), my mother’s Keith Richards bobblehead (abducted and held for ransom)…
And I realized that, no matter what happens, no matter how much pink infiltrates my wardrobe, no matter how nervous I get about the future, and no matter how old I get…I’ll always be a nerd because that’s who I am.
And that, my fellow nerds, is strangely comforting.