Nerds

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this morning’s loaf – for a potluck lunch
It has nothing to do with the post below.

It strikes me that whenever you develop an expertise or advanced skill, you become fussy or nerdy about details that matter.   Perhaps “particular” is a nicer adjective.

My photographer friends care immensely about light.  That is what makes them good photographers.  Where amateurs will say “put your arm around your sister and smile” the nerdy one will swivel his/her head, scoping out all the options, whip out a light meter and set up a shot.

My decorator friends are nerds about color.  It is never green.  Oh no, my friend.  It is celery or asparagus; celadon or chartreuse; moss, myrtle or Persian.  And they walk into a room where the pictures are hung too high and suddenly develop facial tics.

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I can hardly name them, but I am a nerd about chords.  Why play I, IV, V chords continuously when a relative minor, a sustained or augmented chord gives texture, warmth and richness to the music?  When James Taylor sings and plays the National Anthem I go gaga over his gorgeous chords.

I’m a nerd about balancing to the penny.  But I’m a slob about stuffing receipts and change into my wallet.  You know people whose every bill faces the same direction in descending order?  Not me. But I admire them.

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my brother Dan, who loves coffee and photography, took this photo
Coffee nerds not only grind their own beans, ahem, but their coffee must come from a certain region of Colombia.

I am a minor nerd in the area of fonts.  Last week I saw a wedding program and immediately asked, “Which font is this?  It’s stellar!”  And Katie, an extreme font nerd, rattled off every font used. Trust me, there were no Arial, Comic Sans or Times New Roman.

I’m scanning The Incredible Shrinking Critic, yet another diet memoir, and laughed aloud at this sentence:

I’m so good at ferreting out quackery I can tell when a book or website is not to be trusted simply by the typeface.  I’m not kidding!  Quacks seem to be drawn by unseen forces toward choosing ugly, fussy, confidence-killing typefaces!

You knew I’d ask, didn’t you?  What are you a nerd about?

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22 thoughts on “Nerds

  1. You know what I’m going to say, I’m sure. I’m a nerd about the English language. There are few things I see people write that I don’t find mistakes in grammar or spelling. I just finished reading Jane Eyre (in a very fine copy borrowed from my dad, I might add), where “Jane” was for some inexplicable reason spelled “Janet.” ARGH.

  2. I’m a “Face the bills!” nerd, and that’s just the beginning of it.  I can’t tell you how disturbed I am when I get change and the bills are all stacked into my hand in one bunch, facing any whichaway, and the coins placed on top where they’re sure to slide off, rather than coins first, and bills counted out, faced, in ascending order (which I then rearrange into descending order and place into my billfold!). 

  3. LOL, Dan!!!I’m one of the “people whose every bill faces the same direction in descending order.”Can’t stand it when my money is messed up!And I’m nerdy (sometimes I call myself a snob) about fonts. Just this summer (what’s left) I’m reformatting ALL my 500 pages of types history questions to the same font. Which, of course, changes the formatting. You know, it just. has. to. be. this. way.  My teacher-friend calls it my OCD obsession. She knows! She’s got the same one!I’m particular about all the dishes in the drainer facing a certain direction, all the cups, dishes, silver in the sink water in a certain position. And all the clean, folded clothes in the clothes basket in a particular place, stacked a particular way. These obsessions, unfortunately, do not overflow into the rest of my life. My desk is often a literal tower of learning. Fun post! Glad I’m not nerdy alone!Janie

  4. I am having an idenity crisis.  What kind of nerd am I.  Can you be a nerd about non-conformity?  That bread is to die for, can you teach me.  My bread tastes good but it never gets puffy. Krista Staigle

  5. @dharperino – What-EVER.@LimboLady – I love it when you correct me, ’cause there are things that never stuck.@BadgerMum – Kelly, you crack me up!  It never occurred to me to give the coins first.@godsfarmgirl – When I started reading your comment, I thought, “That’s not nerdy, that’s obsessive!”  But I understand.  Your laundry comment reminded me of a time when one of my “extra” sons (oldest son’s best friend) showed me how to put the towels in the linen closet with the fold facing out so you could always grab just one.@Krista Staigle – We need to have your family come for a sleepover some Friday or Saturday night.  We could make the bread together and sit and eat every crumb in the morning. @FatherofGavinTheGreat – I think I’ve bought more sandals in the last month than I have in the last six years.  Does that make you proud of me?  And you are right: Dan is one of the nerdiest camera people around.  I’d take his second or third generation leftovers, wouldn’t you?  But when you see his pictures, (ahem…Danny? Faithie’s wedding? hmmm????)  it is easy to see why he is nerdy.

  6. I’m a nerd about communication.  The best, best advice I’ve ever been given is, “Say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t be mean when you say it”. (From a SkillPath seminar)  I suppose I inherited it from my mother, who was nerdy about the only “proper” answers being “Yes, ma’am”, “No, ma’am” and “I’ll find out, ma’am”! lol

  7. nerdiest thing: the order of worship songs in a service. you can’t sing intimate songs TO the Lord until you’ve established corporately WHO He is… I hate worship whiplash.. inauthentic leadership…. I am a nerd nerd nerd about this.*Wisconsin accents*eating fat free small curd cottage cheese ONLY with a salad/dessert fork.*dressing babies in only the cute clothes*TOILET PAPER COMING OFF THE ROLL OVER THE TOP*hymn texts. don’t be messing. it’s art, people. it’s not subjective.*no car windows open on the highway. i’m a control freak. i want it my temperature. that’s why they made a/c.wow. alarmingly, i could go on.S

  8. The money thing made me laugh, because my dad picked up that trait from my great uncle. Uncle Ed had 2 types of dollar bills: “D.O.’s” and “C.O.’s”–“Dirty Ones” and “Clean Ones.” Dirty Ones are the wrinkly, worn-out ones; Clean Ones are the nice, fresh-from-the-bank ones, the smoother, the better. Lots of times when I get some particularly nice ones, I’ll go over to Dad’s and trade him out for Dirty Ones. If it gives him pleasure, I’m all for it!

  9. In plain Afrikaans we will say that such a person is “vol fiemies!” (full of fads and fancies): washing dishes in a certain order, toilet paper coming over the roll at the top, flushed and please closed toilet lid (that was a BIG issue on a Sunday morning before church – not very long ago). I try to relax more ’cause a “nerdy” person can be a pain to live and be with…nobody does it better…eish Carol, your topics!

  10. @wonderloveandpraise –  Curt amens your comments, with the exception I suppose of the cottage cheese.  When I got to “alarmingly” he laughed aloud.  @LimboLady – I read all this to Curt for his morning devotions.  When I came to the DO and CO his eyes opened wide: “I forgot that I do that too.  I always put the DO in front so I can get rid of them first.”  He sees these things not as nerdy, but as godly – bringing order out of chaos.  Tongue is partially in cheek.  @sonskyn –  You know that I love the Africaans lessons.  And I am in sympathy for the Sunday morning issues.  It always happens on Sunday morning, eh?

  11. Baseball nerd! Luke and I have discussed many obscure baseball stats, plays, games, etc. this summer.  So much fun to finally have another baseball nerd in the family!  We’re on our way to the Cards-Reds game in Cincinnati today….I DO sort my money but only cause of my high school job as cashier. Old habits….Cassie is a grammar nerd and I am mildly so.  Have a great 4th weekend!Blessings,Sandy

  12. Order. I’m an order nerd – except in my study. It’s chaos. I especially have problems with crooked hanging pictures. In med school I was taught that the human eye can detect something that is less than1/4″ off level. I hit the mark easily.

  13. I’ve been name called across the world wide web!  I’m a happy nerd.  On many fronts. Needing Doug’s eye to hang pics at my house in a few weeks (I’m not huge on that….).happy 4th with Taryn, another language nerd!

  14. Had to come back and add something…As I was filling my car with gas today, I realized, I’m (is it nerdy or obsessive??) particular about getting the purchase price on a round number. So, if I’m at $19.65, I *have* to get it up to $20. Last year I did that, but it was from something like $19.10 to $20. After that, a warning light came on and wouldn’t go off. So off to the service center for a $75 bill to tell me they had to reset the car computers–I had compromised them by “overfilling” the tank. That obsession cost big time!*wonderloveandpraise*–I’m right with you with the order of worship songs!Carol, I had to laugh–I lay towels in the closet with the folded side out. 🙂  This revelation here is just not good. I think you’re right:  obsessive, not nerdy!!

  15. Love it! I have gottena huge kick out of the comments as well as your post, Carol. Here’s another example – my oldest daughter buys GREEN coffee beans, organic of course – and roasts them herself. She brought some with her last time she visited and showed me how to roast them. What a mess! No, thank you, though I didn’t tell her that!I am a nerd re grammar and things like capitalizing where called for and punctuation. Such as that. I always check my emails for errors and have spell check on in case of a typo that I miss. But I get a kick out of some people I know whose casual emails would make you think they never heard of anything like that, but when they post on their blog or on Facebook they suddenly have learned how to write an English sentence.!

  16. This is hysterical…the things we will reveal about ourselves on the internet.  I’m hoping no one is still reading this entry and my comment will be buried I love my food processor (Cusinart), but use it less and less, because I’m particular about the shapes of some food in certain recipes.  Like the recipe I just left on your FB page with onions.  Although you can chop the onions for that in the food processor, I do my by hand.  I can effect a more uniform size and shape.I did shred the cheese in it tho’Eccentric?  Particular?  Perhaps both.but I deny OCD.

Comments are cinnamon on my oatmeal!

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