The Nerd Handbook

DH sent this to me last week, and while the article is a few months old, it’s also very true.  In fact, he commented that it’s “more truth than fiction.”  And that’s coming from a Nerd.  See if you don’t recognize your nerd in some of this:

Understand your nerd’s relation to the computer. It’s clichéd, but a nerd is defined by his computer, and you need to understand why.

First, a majority of the folks on the planet either have no idea how a computer works or they look at it and think “it’s magic”. Nerds know how a computer works. They intimately know how a computer works. When you ask a nerd, “When I click this, it takes awhile for the thing to show up. Do you know what’s wrong?” they know what’s wrong. A nerd has a mental model of the hardware and the software in his head. While the rest of the world sees magic, your nerd knows how the magic works, he knows the magic is a long series of ones and zeros moving across your screen with impressive speed, and he knows how to make those bits move faster.

Yup.  Next:

Your nerd has control issues. Your nerd lives in a monospaced typeface world. Whereas everyone else is traipsing around picking dazzling fonts to describe their world, your nerd has carefully selected a monospace typeface, which he avidly uses to manipulate the world deftly via a command line interface while the rest fumble around with a mouse.

Well, I’m not sure I really fumble, but the rest of it is pretty true.  Moving on to :

Your nerd has built himself a cave.

Not exactly true of DH, but he does have places to escape on occasion.  And I don’t touch his desk.  Which brings me to this point, which made me laugh out loud, it’s so true of DH:

Each object in the Cave has a particular place and purpose. Even the clutter is well designed. Don’t believe me? Grab that seemingly discarded Mac Mini which has been sitting on the floor for two months and hide it. You’ll have 10 minutes before he’ll come stomping out of the Cave — “Where’s the Mac?”

Hoo, boy, is that one true!  I cleaned his office once.  Big mistake.  I think he’s still secretly blaming me for things he can’t find.

Your nerd loves toys and puzzles. The joy your nerd finds in his project is one of problem solving and discovery. As each part of the project is completed, your nerd receives an adrenaline rush that we’re going to call The High. Every profession has this — the moment when you’ve moved significantly closer to done.

DH’s version of this is “Never let the box win.”

Nerds are f***ing funny. Your nerd spent a lot of his younger life being an outcast because of his strange affinity with the computer. This created a basic bitterness in his psyche that is the foundation for his humor.

Very true.  DH makes me laugh every day – it’s one of the things I love most about him.

Your nerd has an amazing appetite for information. Many years ago, I dubbed this behavior NADD, and you should read the article to learn more and to understand what mental muscles your nerd has developed.

Also very true.

Your nerd has built an annoyingly efficient relevancy engine in his head. It’s the end of the day and you and your nerd are hanging out on the couch. The TV is off. There isn’t a computer anywhere nearby and you’re giving your nerd the daily debrief. “Spent an hour at the post office trying to ship that package to your mom, and then I went down to that bistro — you know — the one next the flower shop, and it’s closed. Can you believe that?”

And your nerd says, “Cool”.

Cool? What’s cool? The business closing? The package? How is any of it cool? None of it’s cool. Actually, all of it might be cool, but your nerd doesn’t believe any of what you’re saying is relevant. This is what he heard, “Spent an hour at the post office blah blah blah…”

Ah-HAH!  DH sheepishly admitted this one is true.

Your nerd might come off as not liking people. Small talk. Those first awkward five minutes when two people are forced to interact. Small talk is the bane of the nerd’s existence because small talk is a combination of aspects of the world that your nerd hates.

Not really in DH’s case.  While he’s not a fan of small talk, he doesn’t come off as not liking people.  As a matter of fact, most people come away from an encounter with him commenting that he’s a really nice guy.  Which he is.  That’s why I grabbed him off the market.

The whole thing is a pretty good read – take a look for yourself.

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