Phylum Nerdus: which are you?

By Casey O'Brien

You all know us. Many of you are one of us. If you are not, you make fun of us, you joke with us, you secretly envy us. The nerds. Oh yes. Those kids with the confident air of dorkiness, unafraid to be their own kind of cool. Many of us wear that name like a badge of honor, which it is, among our own kind. But I think that it is necessary that you, the reader, understand that nerd-dom is a complex place, with various subspecies. Phylum nerdus is very diverse. And so, in case you don’t know the zoology of this intriguing group, I took it upon myself to compile a brief list of some of the most common species of nerd. It is, in addition, essential that you understand that many nerds (myself included) fall into several or even more categories—Renaissance nerds, if you will. But now, without further ado…..

1) Nerdus Academica. Memorialized in movies and cartoons, this is the classic brainiac. Academica are known for being a source of homework help and are most active in their native habitat-the classroom. They vary quite widely in physical features, contrary to the beliefs of the movie industry. They tend to enjoy a good book, and the more gregarious members of this species are always willing to tell you all about what they’ve learned. Pi day is popular among this group.

2) Nerdus Technologicus. A bit rarer, technologicus are known for their constantly typing fingers and over attachment to their screens, wherin they conduct the majority of their lives. They are also adept fixers of various gadgets and designers of programs that, with luck, someday make them rich.

3) Nerdus Mediatus—The media nerds (their common name) are a growing league of obsessive fans of such things as Dr. Who, Star Trek, A Very Potter Musical, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and other movies, book series, and assorted phenomena. Mediatus enjoy secret exchanges and conversations about fan groups, characters, authors and conventions. Look down upon those who do not understand their world and current primary habitat—fan websites, comic book and television show conventions, and the Tumblr accounts of other Mediatus.

4) Nerdus Theatrica—The vivacious theater nerds are fun to be around, especially when on a high from a recent performance. They tote around monologue books, scripts and a heightened awareness of themselves as artists. They can sometimes be identified by their occasional habits of Shakespeare quoting, line practicing, or impromptu acting. Look out for bags with dance shoes or costumes in them, a tendency to leap in front of groups of people, and eccentric clothing. Ask one for a good improv game. You’ll be glad you did.

5) Nerdus Literatica— Literature nerds are another artistic nerd group—they enjoy writing and reading constantly: poetry, Shakespeare, novels, and, as their name suggests, any other awesome piece of writing. May appear at poetry slams, in newspapers, and at coffeeshops and gathering places with their fellow wordsmiths. Love discussion of prose and literature analysis. Watch for inkstains or a well-worn notebook.

6) Nerdus Scientificus—the beloved science nerd. You’ll know them by the overload of scientific courses on their schedules, their expert ability with microscope slides, Bunsen burners, and other tools of the trade, and a curious mind. You may notice their slightly off beat jokes about chemistry, physics, the cell, etc. If you laugh at said jokes (as I do!) you can count yourself among them.

Another note: As I said, most nerds are a mix of species. In addition, new kinds of nerds are being discovered all the time.

There are many, many others, such as Nerdus Bandia (common name music or band nerd), and others, but this is a brief field guide to Nerdus. They are, overall, an amazing phylum. They are smart, engaged, passionate, and—yes—a lot of fun. Are you one of us? Chances are, at least part of you is. If you haven’t already, admit your inner Nerdus! Embrace it. We are here, we are proud. Let your nerdtastic qualities shine! To my fellow nerds—if any of you do not see your species here, I apologize—I simply couldn’t list them all. But know this—I have the highest regard for all of you.

A second note—to those of you who scoff at nerddom, remember that the world would nto function whatsoever without us nerds to mind it. Those electronics you buy? Steve Jobs was a proud Nerdus Technologicus. Your favorite movie? Directed by and acted by people who probably fall into several of the aforementioned species. Your car? Designed by engineers who are complete and total nerds. Facebook? Mark Zuckerburg owns his Nerdus. The teachers who govern your school life? Nerds, every last one. The doctors you trust with your health and who find the cures to illnesses you may have someday? The researchers developing alternate enrgy? Nerdus Scientificus. They are all nerds, successful, intelligent, driven, self-respecting people. Nerds, to be perfectly frank, solve most of the world’s problems and command most of its power and respect. Remember that the next time you laugh at Phylum Nerdus.

For those of you still not convinced, too busy in teenage bliss to see beyond you own experience, I have only this to say—be nice to the nerds around you. You might work for one someday. And then it would be in your best interest to be fondly remembered.