Not just kids, but sometimes readers say things worth repeating or ask questions of note. I think people like to ask writers odd questions because writers are odd creatures in society. We try to stay isolated from people in general, but communicate with a broad audience. We thrive in productive seclusion, harboring precious knowledge of arcane subjects. No wonder people ask writers questions.
One popular query is "How big a nerd are you?" Well, that's a difficult question to answer without a specific set of measures with which to quantify "nerdiness". Of course, an answer like that reveals a certain level all by itself. I suppose it's someplace to start.
I don't run about in costumes pretending to be my favorite character or part of an alien race. I can quote countless movie lines, absorb great amounts of science fiction and comic book information (the rest of the world calls it trivia) and ponder endless theoretical possibilities spawning from sciences and occurences that may be unlikely ever to occur. How and why Captain Kirk could use the Enterprise to dominate the Battlestar Galactica and the Death Star in combat, Superman vs the Hulk, time-travel paradoxes, what's good and bad about Star Wars and why, what's wrong with the Batman movies and a dizzying array of other such topics are far more likely parts of my conversations than baseball stats. I don't actively collect them anymore, but I have enough comic books to start my own store and I can still tell you more about them than most people. I still enjoy these things of my youth enough that I've carried them along into adulthood.
No, I don't live in my parents' basement. Yes, I do go out and interact with the real world without people knowing I'm a nerd...unless the conversation takes the proper turn. I've grown into a big guy who likes to exercise. A friend recently told me that he was disgusted that I didn't play football in high school and college. I'm like the tall guy who doesn't play basketball. I don't follow sports at all. Ask me if I saw the game last night and I'll likely reply with "What game?" The only game I saw last night was probably Jeopardy! and I got extra excited when I saw that there was a Comic Book Villains category.
My wife was driving when the car sputtered to a stop and she pulled it to the side of the road. Though we were on our way to a gas station, she had pushed it too far in her quest for the best price. As I jumped out to push the last whatever part of a mile to the invisible gas station she assured me was just around the bend, she offered to put the car in neutral. I thanked her, knowing things would go much more smoothly that way. Let me take a moment to point out to the old girlfriend who asked me what the point was to all my working out that this is one of those moments in life that justifies the exercise. You show me a guy who says he doesn't want to be able to move furniture without strain or accept any impromptu arm wrestling challenge and win, then that guy is probably lying.
As I started to push and the car started to roll, the programming of my youth kicked in and sound effects started to go off in my head. As my pace picked up to match the momentum of the car, the sound effects were quickly joined by theme music from The Six Million Dollar Man. I couldn't help laughing at myself as I huffed and puffed down the road.
Of course, having the Six Million Dollar Man theme playing in my head may be nerdy, but not as much as if I'd had the soundtrack on CD to play while I pushed the car. Granted, on the right day, I would've had John Williams' Superman music playing. Man, if I'd had one of my Superman shirts on, too, that would've been really cool...or would that be more nerdy? I'm not sure on that one. Well, I may be unclear, but The Doctor says bowties are cool. I've never seen him push a car, though. I'll bet I could beat him at arm wrestling.
How nerdy are you?