[Update: Oops, I forgot to give the link that was the original reason I started writing this last night. Check out Ilan Dar-Nimrod on the supposed changing definition of cool HERE. As is clear from my post, I suspect that the research in question is actually a case of what happens at the end of the video at right. I would like to warn current sociologists of cool that it is with grave peril that we forget Lester Bangs' canonical praise of uncool.]
Last week I hit the nerd trifecta.
First, my brother-in-law showed up in town bearing an Atari Jaguar, the company-destroying console that is finding a weird third act resurgence among aficionados.
Then, my friend Neal Hebert once again got us employed as seat warmers for World Wrestling Entertainment. I should explain. In televised wrestling the stationary cameras all point in one direction and the action is choreographed towards those cameras. But because of this it's imperative that the seats on the other side of the ring always be full.
But people get up to go to the bathroom, smoke a cigarette, or stand in line at the concession stand. And sometimes people just leave. So wrestling promotions employ people to hop from empty seat to seat. It's actually a little bit scary because the marks in the audience think you are trying to steal their friend's seat and some portion of them don't believe you when you tell them that you are a WWE employee. Anyhow, this last Smackdown two people with eye level seats never came back from the concession stand, so Skylar and I ended up watching over half the show from the best seats in the arena (during a show which included matches with two of my favorite wrestlers, famed luchador Psichosis and Chicago powerhouse CM Punk). This had the weird result of Skylar and me reliably being blurrily on camera for large stretches. For example, go to the video HERE and pause it at 12:22. That's me just one person up from the right hand bottom of the screen. Skylar and I are not marks. We knew that Kane's pyro was about to boom and that's why we've got our fingers in our ears. Skylar is the bald guy next to me.
The third nerd thing is that Neal, Skylar, me, and three other friends reconstituted our D&D group and have been playtesting an old school style RPG that is under development by a couple of classic designers. I can't say what it is, but it's very much in the spirit of First Edition D&D, which is shown in the video at right (they got some important aspects of first edition correct- the Dungeon Master's screen correct and the way you had to role your character and the much greater likelihood that your character would die at low levels- but they messed up in not including the old orange character sheets and the vast amount of Mountain Dew swilled during the evening). I don't really know what to make of that episode, though the ending is priceless, where the nerds hope that they are now cool because a cool kid has fun playing D&D with them. In the fictional world of Freaks and Geeks, all of those kids are my age now. I hope that they are still nerds, coming to realize with Lester Bangs, Michael Chabon, and Jack Kerouac (when he was sober enough to feel) that cool is the real enemy.