Quote of the day: "Assuming either the left wing or the right wing gained control of the country, it would probably fly around in circles." ~Pat Paulsen

The Situation:

I'm going to take this opportunity to advertise and Apple app called "Show of Hands." It's basically an app that asks you a lot of questions (ranging anywhere from pop culture to the deeply political), and once you answer, it displays the percentages of yes/no through different demographics - male/female, republican/democrat (or independent, which is an awfully broad-swooping category that usually sides with the democrats, interestingly enough), income level, and age group. Fascinating stuff. And it's free!

This morning I was browsing through the questions for the day and came across the question, "Are you a nerd?" I answered yes - let's be real here, I have a 99% in AP calculus and I'm determined to memorize the entire Declaration of Independence before finals week in May. When I looked at the results, I was interested to note that only 39% of people age forty and over said yes, while 65% of people twenty-one and under said yes.

The Response:

Interesting... Granted, these aren't totally accurate stats. So far, only 1500 people had voted at all, which most sociologists would call "bad science." Additionally, the slice of people who would actually download a "mobile polling" app isn't exactly a good representation of the country at large, but aside from that, let's analyze this a bit.

What has changed? Is it the definition of "nerd"? Being a nerd used to be social suicide (think young Mr. McFly in Back to the Future), and now, with the advent of The Big Bang Theory and increased college selectivity, being a nerd is cool? Possibly. There's validity to that theory.

Or, is it something else? Is it the "no child left behind" policy at its finest? Everybody's a winner! Everybody's smart! - in his or her own way. "Nerd" now means simply "smart," and now every kid is being told that he's smart. Guys, that's not true. Not everyone is smart. I may be able to handle calculus, but I'm worth absolutely nothing when it comes to simple arithmetic, and I don't need anyone telling me anything different. I don't understand poetry at all, but that doesn't mean you have to stroke my ego about it and say, "Oh, it's okay, you're just as good at poetry as everybody else."

There are so many twisted ways of doing things in this country. I don't know if I'll ever untangle them all.

The Question:

Are you a nerd? What would you offer as a possible explanation to the age gap? Have you downloaded Show of Hands yet? Have you seen Back to the Future before?

(Author's note: if anyone's interested, I just published a new story called "In Your Dreams" over the weekend. Fluffy romance - not my typical cup of tea, in case you're wondering. Give it a shot if you're interested. As always, thanks for reading! ~Petra)