Strove to find a way to punch people in the face by using the Internet.


Megacon: At Play Among the Nerds
March, 2004: Megacon is an annual convention of nerds. This year, I went too.

I should note that while I’m pretty goddamn nerdy, I subscribe to a non-specific type of nerd-dom, one dictated to me by my goofy white-guy appearance. There’s not much hope for me, and I accept that. I mean, I wouldn’t even be cool if I was a millionaire ninja getting a blowjob from Molly Ringwald while driving a 1969 Camaro Z/28. All the helpful-television-homosexual grooming tips in the world wouldn’t change the fact that I always pretty much look like Elvis Costello after falling down a flight or two of stairs, and always will.

But while I’ve learned to accept with my inherent nerd looks, I’ve somehow managed to avoid the logical next step and fully embrace the nerd lifestyle. Now, I grew up loving comics, science fiction, Dungeons ‘n’ Dragons and all manner of nerd pastimes (indeed, in 6th grade I once dressed up like Doctor Who to go to school) (yeah, you read that right, Doctor fucking Who), but saw my enthusiasm for these things wane with the onset of puberty. In my teens, nerd pursuits gradually were supplanted with punk rock, girls and booze, and by the time I was in my 20s I had transformed into a sort of universal loser, geek tendencies now wholly channeled into the ultra-cool hobby of record collecting. Ha ha! I wrote “ultra-cool!” That’s sarcasm.

Still, while I have continued to get a kick out of some traditional nerd-type stuff, a few things about the evolution of modern nerdhood really chapped my ass and alienated me from the nerd lifestyle. These included:

A few years ago I wandered into a local comic shop looking for some arty hipster Daniel Clowes paperback and left 10 minutes later wanting to scrub my entire body down with bleach. Just walking in caused a scene – the nerds could instantly sense that I wasn’t of their tribe, probably because I had a tan and was wearing clean, stylish clothing. A few looked pretty scared, no doubt because they thought I was a cop coming to arrest them for Photoshopping Buffy’s face onto a picture of a lady with her boobs showing and putting it on the Internet.

When I asked about the book, the 40-year-old clerk reluctantly stopped berating his 11-year-old Magic: the Gathering opponent, sighed, looked at me, sneered, sighed again and started to inform me that he was not familiar with the merchandise in question. His voice and mannerisms gave the strong impression that he didn’t think much of me, so I beat him in the face with my penis for a few minutes and went to go browse while he lay there, gasping for air and bleeding all over that one super limited-edition gold-foil Magic card with the picture of the wizard on it.

It was a disturbing experience. The racks displayed comic after comic featuring drawings of anatomically exaggerated women in revealing superhero tights contorting themselves into bizarre, crotch-exposing poses or getting tied-up and beaten. I’m not kidding about the exaggeration, either – the physiques on these heroines verged on the utterly abstract. Especially the boobs. …If it needs to be said.

Recently I asked a friend who had dated a comic artist why these terrible things existed. I mean, there’s so much porn in the world… Type “ice cream” into Google and you’ll get about 3 million pages of “up the ass ice cream tentacle rape Britney Spears blowjob.” Why do the nerds spend all that money on those lame comics when they could spend five seconds on the Internet and come up with so many photos and movies of actual naked women getting debased that their frontal lobes would instantly short out in a blinding, smoke-filled explosion of jism and acne cream?

“They’re so fucked up and uncomfortable around girls that they can’t even relate to photos of women,” she said. “They really do need another level of removal to get off.”

Well, fuck that, ladies and gentlemen. The day I need some creepy comic book to get off instead of something normal like an extended bukkake scene is the day I turn in my balls. (Warning: if you don’t know what bukkake is, KEEP IT THAT WAY. I’m not kidding. I feel creepy even joking about that stuff.)

So anyway, with all this in mind I really wasn’t too excited about the nerd convention. But my friend Todd was visiting from Atlanta, and it was his idea. I hadn’t seen him in a while and felt obligated. My friend Scott agreed to go too. And I figured I could amuse myself by chugging a six-pack out of a football trophy and handing out wedgies while they chanted, “Ogre! Ogre!” or something.

Well, here’s the big surprise: the nerd convention was fun. (Okay, it was a surprise to me – I admit that nobody that’s ever met me would find it a revelation that I fit in with a bunch of nerds.) For the nerds mean no harm; in fact, they work hard to nerd it up at these things, coming up with strange costumes and entertaining the crowds. Their colorful toys, games and tentacle-rape porn has a vibrant, exuberant kind of aesthetic quality that’s hard to resist, if you’re the type of person who washes down your Ritalin with two-liters of Mountain Dew. And they share a heartwarming sense of camaraderie that can only be found among groups of people clustered together in relief, knowing that no jocks are going to show up and smash them into a locker.

Indeed, I feel as if the experience reawakened my inner nerd – who, as it turns out, closely resembles my outer nerd, despite being locked in my pancreas and receiving swirlies from mean red blood cells for the past few decades.

And there were girls there. Lots of ‘em. Plenty of ‘em were pretty hot, too, which was a nice change of pace from the last nerd convention I went to, about 20 years ago. The three women there were beige, 45-year-old, overweight hippie types squeezed into suits of all-too-revealing chain mail. This nerd convention had dozens of teenage Asian girls wearing get-ups chiefly consisting of panties, fishnet stockings and bat wings. There were even black people there. I found all this surprising and reassuring. In fact, I even fell in love with a spectacular 6-foot-tall black girl-nerd wearing a corset. I didn’t make a move because I was afraid she’d turn out to be some kind of 13-year-old pituitary-gland mutant. Or maybe a dude.

I took a bunch of crappy pictures at the thing. They turned out really bad, probably because I was surreptitiously snapping them. In retrospect, this was stupid, as the costumed nerds were more than happy to pose and frolic for anyone who asked. I think maybe on some level I was afraid they’d sense I was planning to use my photos to make fun of them on the Internet, though of course they would have had no way of knowing that. Or doing much about it other than waving around their ninja swords and crying.

Okay, here are the pics:

Upon entering we were greeted by this squat little Dr. Doom. A good omen.

This is a dude.

This mundane nerd stepped in front of me while I tried to sneak a pic of the transvestite bunny dude nerd. I was pissed until I noticed he was wearing a camo skirt – then I became happy after realizing I could get a photo of his stupid ass too.

Know what stormtroopers keep in that little cylinder? Snapple. It’s true, I saw it. I wasn’t sure if it was a regulation stormtrooper beverage, so I reported him.

This is a security guard and not a nerd. I just thought it was important to document the fact that he somehow managed to squeeze a pair of 28”-waist pants under that giant gut.

Todd being cool. Ladies - back off! He's married!

Nerd humor.

Erotic fuckin’ mystical space goblin chick.

All the dealer booths had cool names like this.

Nothing special about this, really – I was trying to sneak a photo of something else and the crowd shifted. But it turns out it looks like the one guy is going for that other guy’s ass, so I figured I’d throw it out there. Hey! Don’t touch that dude’s ass!

Didn’t manage to get photos of these nerds, so I recreated ‘em from memory for you. The one dude looked like a human potato, and had some kind of complicated homemade liederhosen fashioned from a belt and suspenders to hold up his nuthuggers.

Scott with pals Homer, Gandalf and Rocky. Scott’s on the right.

Turns out nerd-merch dealers are exactly the same as record convention dealers – fat, misshapen, hideous and absurdly coiffed rip-off artists and bootleggers. What a shock.

Lonely ninja, I too resent the popular kids. Teach me your stealthy, moody arts.

Why was there a table selling these things at the nerd convention? They were ignored, much like the guys trying to pimp the positive Jesus comics.

Fuckin’ Gollum scampered right under our feet as we were leaving, scaring the hell out of us. I kicked him.

Another totally hot magical sex elf; this one getting chatted up by Darth Vader. Oh beautiful anime succubus gremlin, won’t you let me rape you with my tentacles?

Todd chillin’ with Hawkman.


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