I saw my hero the other day. It was in a crowded restaurant. He was about 85 years old and he sat about two tables away from mine, where he read the paper, sipped coffee, and farted repeatedly without an ounce of shame. “Pfoopt-pfoopt”. Like a cap gun on the Island of Misfit Toys.

It wasn’t accidental either, which is precisely what made him my hero. He lifted one cheek and let out a “Pfoopt” every 10 minutes or so. His ass had a built-in snooze button or something. Suffice it to say I was in a rare state of both shock and complete admiration.

I felt like I was looking at my future self. Who wouldn’t love to be like that someday? Can you imagine outright telling people that you don’t care…without actually saying a word? That has to be incredibly liberating. Not to mention, imagine how much fun you could have startling customers at a fireworks stand. Absolutely priceless.

But what about our other heroes? That particular gentleman certainly represents a special brand of hero, because he reminds us of how we should live. Fearless. But there is also a growing force of new hero that I can appreciate. The nerd.

Nerds used to be mocked, but now they’re finally getting their due respect. Computers and sci-fi movies are taking over society, and people are wisely cutting back on the wedgies, for fear that too much strain on too many nerd sacks will severely impede their ability to procreate. And if it’s one thing we need more of, it’s nerds.

With our national security at risk of cyber attacks, nerds have gigantic responsibility. They have never wielded this much power, even as wizards with loaded 32-sided dice or a stack of Magic The Gathering cards. The elite nerds protect our way of life with honor and poise. Practically speaking, they’re becoming a type of special forces. Move over, Green Berets and Navy Seals. Make room for the summa cum laudes from ITT Tech. Bring it on, China. Bring it on.

So thank a hero. Thank a nerd. Go ahead. Find a nerd and shake his hand. Sure, he may give you a “dead fish” kind of handshake, and it very well might feel clammy and moist, but it’s worth it, America! He’s protecting you!

If I can paraphrase Colonel Jessup from “A Few Good Men”, we live in a world that has firewalls, and those firewalls have to be guarded by men with slight social anxiety. Who’s gonna do it? You? Nerds have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You have the luxury of not knowing what they know. And their existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want them on that firewall. You need them on that firewall. They use words like RAM, gigabyte, Tatooine. They use those words as a backbone of a life worth defending something. You use them as a punchline. They have neither the time nor the inclination to explain themselves to you people who rise and sleep under the blanket of the very freedom that they provide and then question the manner in which they provide it. They would rather you just said “thank you” and went on your way. Otherwise, you should pick up a Norton anti-virus shield, and stand a post. Either way, they don’t give a damn about what you think you’re entitled to. You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!


Categories: Columns