Most nerds are socially awkward. The first step to solving this problem is admitting you have it. With effort, it is possible to overcome much of our goofiness…but we will still make the occasional joke referencing a boss monster from a PlayStation One video game at a party with our spouse’s coworkers and everyone present will quizzically look at us like we are said boss monster.
But that’s okay. We have friends and loved ones that accept our quirks. We hang out with them. We learn from them. We eventually go out and meet more people, strike up conversations and make friends with our newfound social skills.
This article is not about that kind of nerd. This article is about nerds who are total dicks.
Last week, I discovered a new independent video game store that specialized in all old stuff. They had current things in stock, but WOW– you want Atari 2600 and 5200 games? A SEGA Nomad? Neo Geo carts? 3D0 discs in the box? They have it. There’s even a small museum in the back room with a Fairchild Channel F!
The staff is awesome; they’re the type of people I used to work with at my old store in the 90s. They know about things you’re looking for. And if they don’t, they’re like, “Wow, I didn’t know that! Neat!” It’s the kind of place where you can join a communal conversation about boss monsters from PlayStation One video games and everyone, customers and staff, understand what you’re talking about. It’s where the socially awkward are social with no awkwardness whatsoever.
He strolled through the store, talking at maximum volume about how the prices are too high, even though they were all actually fair and pretty damn low. Well…I could understand that. I myself have vocalized surprise at the occasional high price in the past, just not as loud. He also seemed to like rambling about how the store didn’t have anything good because he already had everything in his collection.
I was looking over the Super Nintendo titles in the glass counter for long-gone favorites when this guy comes up and asks if they have any Player 2 Justifiers in stock. (The Justifier was the gun for the home version of Konami’s Lethal Enforcers. The Player 2 gun connected to the Player 1 gun via a phone cord.) As the manager went to check for one of the old pink plastic revolvers, I thought I’d strike up a conversation with the guy. After all, I’d had some pretty cool talks with collectors in the past.
“Lethal Enforcers… Man I loved that back in the day!”
“I gotta ask you a question: What’s the holy grail you’re looking for? What’s that one thing you’ve been hunting?”
He turned to me in his ‘What Would Daryl Do?’ T-shirt and snipped, ”I don’t need any holy grails, I own ‘em all, I already got all of ‘em.”
“Well, what stuff are you looking for now?”
“Accessories,” he replied brusquely.
This guy can’t be all that bad, I thought. I tried one more time, “Have you ever seen an old Enix game, E.V.O. Search For Eden? I’ve been–”
He cut me off, “Yeah, I got that two weeks ago.”
That surprised me! I’d been looking for that game for a while. “Really? Wow, where’d you find it?”
“I ain’t tellin’ you cuz I got it for 40 bucks.”
Now I wish there was a font I could use that would communicate the asshatty, dismissive tone he used when he said this to me. I don’t know if asking where he bought his game “two weeks ago” was breaking some sort of unwritten collector code or whatever, but really? REALLY? You want to know what Daryl would do? He’d probably shoot you in the face with a crossbow, zombie or not.
Normally I’d just walk away, but I didn’t. “That’s…friendly. Congratulations, you win everything.” I turned my attention back to the games in the glass counter.
I don’t get why some nerds are like that. What’s the point? Are they so desperate to be A-#1 Duke Of New York with their stuff and their knowledge that they need to be total tools just to prove it? Haven’t we all received the same kind of treatment enough to make us not want to be like that?
Maybe I’m too friendly. Maybe that’s what makes me socially awkward. All I have to say is that if I ever happen to cross paths with anybody reading this and you want to talk about PlayStation One boss monsters or Super Nintendo games or anything else, I am totally up for it.