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Is It Better to be a Nerd or a Tool? Plus a Bonus Nerd Joke!

January 30, 2012
English: Nerd Deutsch: Nerd

For the record, this is not a nerd. This is a tool pretending to be a nerd. Silly tool. Image via Wikipedia

A nerd wearing a solid blue shirt was standing in line at an electronics store when an attractive young woman starting talking to him.  The nerd himself was not thought of as particularly attractive.  He was a bit pasty of complexion, a bit thin in the arms, a bit thin in the hairline, and wore thick glasses to complete the effect. 

The nerd, even though he enjoyed the attention he was getting from the attractive woman, knew what was going on.  Since he was wearing a solid blue shirt, the woman thought he worked in the electronics store and was hoping to get some free advice. 

“Ma’am, I don’t work here,” the nerd said, with a pang of regret.

 “Oh,” the attractive woman said, surprised at the straightforward reply.  “Do you know much about computers?” 

“Not enough to fix one for you,” the nerd said.  “However, I do know the name of every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer written by Joss Whedon.” 

The attractive woman was not impressed and walked away in search of another pasty guy in a solid blue shirt. 

As the nerd was exiting the store, a big burly tool who had eavesdropped on the conversation stepped in front of the nerd’s path. 

“You were talking to that hot babe,” the tool said.  “Is it true that you can’t really fix a computer?” 

“That’s correct,” the nerd admitted. 

“Do you design any cool video games, like Black Ops or Modern Warfare?” 

“No,” the nerd sighed. 

“Do you create any cool laser satellite weapons for the military?” 

“Again, I must say no,” the nerd replied. 

“Hey guys!” the tool called over to a bunch of other tools standing in the parking lot.  “Here’s a nerd that it’s okay to make fun of!” 



Despite what popular culture might say, being a nerd still isn’t really that cool.  It’s just that nerds are now tolerated because tools can’t live without them.  50 years ago, tools knew that a nerd might create a new weapon like the super-atomic atom bomb or a an intercontinental super-ballistical missile, but tools also knew that most nerds wouldn’t actually create anything like that, so it was okay to give them wedgies or make fun of them.

Today, things are different. 

Without the nerd, there is no online gaming.  Without the nerd, there is no internet porn.  Without the nerd, there is no You-tube for tools to post videos.  Almost everything that makes life worth living for a tool is created by the nerd. 

That doesn’t make nerds cool, however.  It just makes nerds necessary. 


I’ve been a nerd, and I’ve been a tool, so I think I’m qualified to answer this question. 

I was a nerd before personal computers were around and became vital for survival, and even if personal computers had been around, I’m just as technologically inept as any normal person, so basically I’m (or would have been) a nerd without the one real benefit of being a nerd. 

I had just about every other nerd characteristic.  I was socially awkward.  I dressed funny.  I had thick glasses.  I read comic books and classic literature.  I listened to classical music.   I even kept a journal. 

One day I looked at all the tools (before the term “tool” had been coined) around me and thought, these guys have it a lot easier than I do.  Nobody mocks them.  There isn’t any pressure on them to do well at school.  My life would be easier if I were more like them. 

It was so easy becoming a tool that I’m surprised more nerds didn’t figure it out back then.  All I did was trade out my thick glasses for contact lenses (fortunately, soft lenses came out in the 1980’s, and I’m grateful because hard lenses were brutal on my sensitive nerd eyes), exchange the button down shirt for a t-shirt, and start watching football.  Once I (kind of) looked like a normal guy who could argue about football like every other tool, the real tools left me alone. 


Being able to talk about football negates almost all social awkwardness. 


The world needs more nerds.  The world doesn’t need more tools.  But it’s more fun being a tool (as long as you don’t torment or hurt anyone while being a tool) than it is a nerd. 

The problem with tools is that most of them are too young to have earned the right to be a tool.  I’ve earned the right.  I’ve worked hard most of my life.  I’ve contributed to society.  If I want to sit around for hours playing Madden, I’ve earned that right.  If I want to walk around in public with my Spongebobs showing, I’ve earned that right. 

CLARIFICATION: “Spongebobs” is a euphemism for underwear, not a reference to a body part that would disgust 60% of my audience. 

If you’re under 40, you probably haven’t earned the right to be a tool.  Unfortunately, most tools are under the age of 40. 


Tools need nerds to fix their computers, and nerds need tools to install their garbage disposals. 

No, they don’t.

Most nerds could figure out how to install their own disposals without a tool.  Most tools couldn’t figure out how to fix a computer without a nerd. Therefore, a tool needs a nerd more than a nerd needs a tool.  Since I’d rather be a nerd without a tool (yeah, I know that sounds wrong) than a tool without a nerd, it is definitely better to be a nerd than a tool.

From → Dysfunctileaks

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