Boring Stories About Myself: King of the Nerds


During my senior year in college I attended a laser safety seminar at LBNL. I didn't actually work at the lab, but they had free danishes and, you know, you might meet someone.

The seminar consisted of tips and rules for safely operating lasers, like "Don't point it at your eye," "Don't point it at other people's eyes," "If you're going to burn off a mole wear goggles," and "Always turn on the 'laser on' warning light, because unlike those fancy bastards over at KALX we don't have the technology to make that happen automatically."

The seminar concluded with a look at laser hazard signs from around the world. They all had the same graphic (an eyeball on fire), but each said "Danger: Laser Radiation" in a different language. As the instructor put each sign on the overhead, he'd ask what language it was in, and we'd call out our answers. "German!" we'd cry. "Portuguese!" "Korean!"

Finally he put up a sign written in curvy, jagged letters and dots, and asked if anyone knew what language it was in. Without really thinking about it, I found myself saying, "Klingon?"

And it was Klingon. Now, I am not now, was not then, and have never been what you'd cal a Star Trek fan. But somehow I managed to identify the Klingon laser hazard sign using the sheer force of my own innate nerdery.

The point is this: If you're at a laser safety seminar, you're a nerd. If you're at a laser safety seminar and manage to spot the random Star Trek reference, you're a giant nerd. If you're in a room with eleven Physics majors and you're the first to catch the Star Trek reference, you're the giant nerd that the other giant nerds and smaller nerds bow down to as their king.

Of course, there was no actual bowing that day, but there were a lot of genuine oohs and ahhs, and I got a plush eyeball as a reward for being the "Klingon Warrior."


I'd like to share a moment with you all: when Matt and I first started dating I was thinking, he's cool, but he's a total nerd. How ok am I with this? Then he told me this story, during which I was thinking, Omigod, he's the king of all nerds! But when he finished telling it by saying "And that's how I became king of the nerds," my fate was sealed. He's a keeper.

When I first heard this story, I thought, boy, Matt is a nerd. I even briefly considered the possibility that Matt might be King of the Nerds, but then I remembered Tyler Roscoe was out there, somewhere, seated in an ergonomic chair on the top of Nerd Mountain, the once and future King of the Nerds, jeans tucked into his socks, hunting hat pulled down low, reading Slashdot and mentally translating Tool lyrics into Japanese. Also, he's wearing that God-Damn chicken-and-waffles t-shirt.

better to reign in hell, right?

by rights that should have been a similar quote from space ghost or the forgotten realms.

i concede that tyler has more objective nerd qualities than i do, but my nerdery is more effortless than tyler's. perhaps tyler can be my vicar. or vicar versa.

and kristen, mad props on the paradise lost reference. i once wrote a humorous screenplay adaptation of paradise lost. see?

wow, I thought it was from the bible. because I have never read paradise lost, or the bible. in fact, I probably heard this quote from a character on buffy the vampire slayer.

well there you go, kristen. i can identify klingon script without watching star trek, and you can quote paradise lost without having read it. you're bizarro holohan.

Whoa, Mat, that is pretty nerdy. Had I been there I definitely would have called you on it right then and there. But, alas, I'm waaay too cool for laser safely seminars. I think I'll go do some metaphorical analysis of Eldred, et al. v. John D. Ashcroft, (2003) 537 U.S. ___ now...

I found this posting while doing something even geekier than what you talked about. I'm looking through Google to find a picture of the Klingon "laser in use" sign for my own fiendish purposes....


Other Blogs

Law-Type Blogs

Other Webcomics

Log Archives

eXTReMe Tracker

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by hb published on April 10, 2003 8:38 AM.

Arr, Matey was the previous entry in this blog.

But Can You Eat PIE? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 5.04