Being a nerd isn't a bad thing

May 31, 2017

Look here nuh, I'm a little shy about admitting it, but sometimes I feel like I'm really a bit of a closet nerd. Of course, I have to quickly point out that I'm definitely not claiming to be anywhere near as nerdy or as bright as my favourite character from one of my favourite sitcoms, the ultimate super nerd himself, Dr Sheldon Cooper from 'The Big Bang Theory'. But I have to admit to and start openly embracing my inner nerd.

But hold on deh. Maybe I'm actually just a 'semi-nerd'. What you think? After all, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a nerd as 'an unstylish, unattractive or socially inept person; especially one who's slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits.' Well, I think I'm a fairly stylish and attractive guy. And I'm not really socially inept. Nuh true? Yeah man. So, I'm not a full-fledged nerd.




I can certainly identify with the second part of that definition, though. OK, maybe 'slavishly' is kinda stretching it a bit, but I'm genuinely devoted to intellectual and academic pursuits. Yes, peeps. I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and I'm an avid collector of both valuable data and seemingly useless facts. One example of that is my weird affinity for acronyms.

What's an acronym? For those who don't know, an acronym is basically a form of abbreviation. But specifically, it's a form of abbreviation where a word is created by using the initial letters of other words. So, although both FYI [for your information] and NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organisation] are abbreviations, only one is an acronym. In fact, there are abbreviations that have become accepted as words in regular usage that many people don't realise are really acronyms.

Did you know, for example, that scuba, laser and taser are acronyms? Yeah! Scuba means 'self-contained underwater breathing apparatus', and laser means 'light amplification by simulated emissions of radiation'. And Jack Couver, who invented the Taser gun, actually named it 'Thomas A. Swift's electric rifle' in honour of his childhood hero Thomas Swift the fictitious star of a children's sci-fi adventure novel.

I got to thinking about all that recently, when I read an article that described terms like DWL and FYI as acronyms. One side of my brain screamed, 'those are abbreviations, but they're not acronyms!' And the other side whispered 'yeah, only a nerd like you would know or care!' What unuh think?

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