I've come to my last column for the Daily, and goodbyes are one in a long list of things that give me the jitters. I never get the order of operations right, always go for the "OK, last one" hug prematurely and linger for just a little too long, get caught making eyes with the door when I should be exchanging pleasantries, take the trading of parting-shot adieus a few past its logical end and shoehorn in a few extra "see yas" out in the parking lot. So, you know, I'm trying to avoid the editorial equivalent of a handshake that hangs on for three beats too long.
Shortly after starting this column two and a half years ago, I started to have doubts around my own credentials as a nerd. That's pretty lame as far as crises of confidence go, sure, but still, it happened. The more time I'd spend rooting around the geekier corners of the world, the more I'd feel like (at best) a glorified Internet commenter. The depths to any individual facet of fandom run deep, pop culture related or otherwise, many times deeper than I'm willing to go. Jumbling them all together under one "nerd" heading with my face up there alongside it can get reductive.
Then there are the times when I'd break out of the internal "Am I truly a nerd?" pity party and ask for a second opinion from friends or family members, which is uniformly met with some variation of "Are you fucking kidding me?" as their eyes drift toward the fiberglass-model Hylian shield hanging on the wall. Then I start to recognize all the times when I've read a word or phrase that sends out some tether to nerdiness past; I can't read or hear the term "ethereal" without calling back to "Diablo 2."
Those tethers reach out often, more often than I thought, creating a subconscious (and profoundly nerdy) web of relatability with the world around me that I can't really turn off. I didn't mean to think back to Type: Null's Pokémon movesets when I wrote "parting shot" in the first paragraph. That shit is just locked away in some part of me and comes and goes as it pleases.
All right, if I tally up the hours of meandering thoughts and daydreams involving orc-inhabited worlds or collectible monsters, I'm solidly in the red on the nerdometer, I can admit that. I can admit, too, that any questions of identity involving even an insubstantial dose of Pokémon trivia are OK to take lightly.
But they're still questions, my questions, and they'll still be running through my head at times I can't control (first dates, last dates, checkout lines, while under cross-examination). I didn't find many answers during these two-odd years of ramblings — or at least none I chose to fully accept — but the questions were fun in the forming, and I hope some of you out there had fun reading them.
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