Imagine, if you will, a fictional human being. Let’s call him Bob. Bob is in his mid forties. He is overweight. Bob is a huge Star Wars fan and last Sunday he drove down to a local convention center. He dressed up in some cosplay attire and spent the morning talking about Mandalorians to some people he just met. Afterward he found his good friend Bill and had a lightsaber duel while strangers watched.
Do you have a picture of Bob in your head? Good. Now I’m going to rewrite the opening paragraph but a with a few minor changes.
Imagine, If you will, a fictional human being. Let’s call him Bob. Bob is in his mid forties. He is overweight. Bob is a huge football fan and last Sunday he drove down to a local stadium. He dressed up in his favorite team jersey and spent the morning talking player stats to some people he just met. Afterward he found his good friend Bill and tossed the pigskin back and forth while strangers watched.
How does the image of Bob #1 compare to Bob #2? For some people, Bob #1 is a total nerd, the type of loser that lives in his mother’s basement, playing with his Pokemon cards while shouting obscenities at the fifteen year olds on World of Warcraft. He has likely never known the affections of another person that isn’t related to him. A weirdo.
Bob #2 is most likely more favorably viewed. He’s the type of guy that you might meet at the local watering hole. You’d buy him a drink and he’d tell a joke that would entertain the throng of friends and complete strangers that have gathered around him, as if pulled in by some social tractor beam. Sure, he would probably never pass a math test, but that’s no big deal when you’re well liked, right?
Perhaps you see them differently. Maybe Bob #1 is the kind of guy you’d like to hang out with and Bob #2 is like those obnoxious dumb jocks that stole your lunch money in high school. Geek is chic and sports are for jerks.
I once stated that truth is impossible to achieve; I am going to temporarily take that back. Here is an honest-to-God real truth: Both Bobs are the same person.
And they are both weirdos.
By “weirdo,” I mean that both versions of Bob love something with a passion so hard that it appears as an obsession to others.
The world tells them that it is unnatural to immerse yourself in the things you pleasure. On television shows, these people are often portrayed as poor stereotypes. Comedians make fun of them. Even in an era where geek culture is celebrated, nerds in real life are still bullied in school and ridiculed by peers.
Yet the nerd culture is not without its share of blame.
The same world that ostracizes the nerd community embraces the sports fanatics, that is true. But the ostracized in turn ridicule the lovers of the form of entertainment that they don’t appreciate. It is a vicious cycle.
We are different sides of the same coin. Cut from the same cloth. Similarly colored pots and kettles. Pick a cliché and run with it.
This extends past our choices of entertainment. It is time that we, as a collective unit of humanity, embrace the eccentricities of people outside our comfort zones, be it differences in religion, politics, lifestyles, or the choice in breakfast cereals. When we let ourselves be divided by our dissimilarities, as a whole we are weakened.
In short, we are all weirdos.
And that is perfectly normal.
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