I know that the title of this blog post probably would make you wonder whether I have the mentality or the mindset of somebody in high school. I know exactly where you’re coming from because after a certain age, being called a geek or a nerd or weird, doesn’t really matter all that much because you’ve made your money, you’ve achieved your success, you’ve seen what you want to see, you’ve experienced what you want to experience and you’re pretty much comfortable in your own skin. Still, there are many people who are considering getting into model steam engines who are concerned about being fairly or unfairly labeled as a nerd. You probably don’t need me to remind you how traumatizing being labeled a nerd can be for some people. It can bring up painful awkward memories of your youth.
So to give you some peace of mind, let me break it down for you. Are you a nerd if you are into model steam engines? Here is a detailed analysis. You may not necessarily agree with this, but at least pay attention to the reasoning. After you’ve looked at the context of this article, it should give you a fairly good idea of what’s involved.
The Nerd Stereotype
The big nerd stereotype is that nerds are socially awkward and socially inept. They don’t know how to talk to people, they can’t handle social situations, they say the wrong things at the wrong time in the wrong way to produce the wrong effect with the wrong people. In other words, they are awkwardness personified.
With that said, there are all sorts of media portrayals of nerds and it’s almost all unrealistic. Why? The focus is on the external appearance. It’s that guy with the thick coca cola bottle glasses stumbling over himself. It’s that guy who sweats profusely when talking to females. Almost all the nerd portrayals in media focus on engineering, the sciences or mathematics. This is the mass culture nerd stereotype.
Now, as you probably already can tell, a lot of these stereotypes don’t really have anything to do with model steam engine kit reviews. They don’t really have anything to do with people who collect scaled down models of locomotives.
Obsession Vs. Focus and Interest
Well, if you were to pick apart the nerd stereotype, it really all boils down to an unhealthy obsession. If somebody who’s really into Star Wars and Star Trek and just eats, breathes, sleeps and thinks Star Wars all the time, then you know that this person has an unhealthy obsession. In that particular situation, the nerd stereotype and label might apply. Again, that’s a tentative application.
Compare this with most collectors and hobbyists who are into model steam engines. The reason they’re into it is that they are just focused and interested in these engines. Otherwise, they have normal lives. They have jobs to go to, they have relationships to maintain, they have responsibilities and obligations. In other words, they’re just like you and me. They don’t have the time nor the inclination to obsess about one particular topic.
Know the Difference Between a Nerd and a Geek
So what is the difference between a nerd and a geek? A nerd is all about obsession which leads to awkwardness, withdrawal and, in many cases, anti social behavior. There are of course always exceptions to the rule, but this is the general pattern.
A geek, on the other hand, is essentially just a specialist. This person is just a go-to person for some sort of specialized knowledge. It can be about Star Wars and Star Trek, it can definitely be about Japanese anime, cosplay or model steam engines. The geek is really all about expertise. This person is otherwise normal, he has a job, a car. He no longer lives with his parents, he’s financially on his own and otherwise a normal person.
Embrace Your Inner Geek
The bottom line is simple. If you’re into model steam engines, always remember that there’s no shame in that game. Embrace your inner geek. You’re really focused on model steam engines, you know a lot about them. In many cases, you know them like the back of your hand.
Don’t be embarrassed about this. Don’t hide it away. Instead, take pride in it because it’s part of your overall persona. Remember, geekdom is all about focus and expertise. This, in and of itself, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re some sort of deviant or people shouldn’t be friends with you.