The “Nerd” Moment
I grew up in a very nerdy family. My dad is a programmer, and my mom did IT for a college language lab. I learned to read by reading comics out loud with my dad and sister. Our family bonded by playing Secret of Mana for hours on end. Most importantly though, every week we would gather ’round the tv, cozy up and watch Star Trek.
By the time I was old enough to appreciate it, DS9 was in it’s final years. A lot of the politics and religious stuff went over my head, but I probably killed a VHS or two watching the oceans 11 heist in the holodeck and the humans vs Vulcan baseball game. I was fascinated by the near utopian federation culture clashing against the wild west of the alpha quadrant. It was fun, but it didn’t fully capture me.
Then Voyager started and I was obsessed. I was the perfect age and perfectly conditioned to love the hell out of the show. The once a week adventure didn’t satiate my desire. I started reading novels, writing my own little episodes (I had a pretty sweet one about them finding a mouse from earth that managed to go undetected), but mostly I became obsessed with the “non-fiction” books. I read all about how the warp nacels work, the saucer separation process, how transport buffering works, geographic landmarks on Risa.
Then one night, we were all in my parents bedroom watching the newest voyager (they had the biggest tv there). I was sitting on the floor at the foot of the bed, and I wish I could remember the episode, or even the situation, but it was something like they were caught in a tractor beam. I suddenly remembered reading about a similar situation in one of my books! “They need to reverse the polarity of the shields.” I said and not as soon as the words left my mouth, Beylona Torres exclaims amongst sparking console and shaking cameras, “Wait! We should reverse the polarity!” My family looked at me and all burst into laughter. The Voyager was saved and that moment had a pogoing effect on me.
I was always aware I was a geeky, nerdy kid, but that was a definitive moment for me. That’s the point in my life I look back at proudly say, “There. That’s when I knew I was nerd.”