Ugh. I know. I’m bad at this. Most of us are bad at this. It’s part of what makes us really fun to annoy. It’s why that Brain Posehn bit about making nerds angry by getting their obsession wrong works.
And yeah, I am the person who loudly proclaimed, “Stout, you asshole. Stout, not Chandler. Don’t just pull a noir writer name out of your ass, do some fucking research,” when reading a blurb on the back of a Glen Cook Garrett PI novel.
I’m also the person who constantly bitches about Mark Millar, Chuck Austen and the Russo Brothers here, which I’m going to suppose you mostly find entertaining and charming if you’re still here.
Yes, Nerds are a special type of obsessive. From Jay of Jay and Miles X-plain the X-men being able to recite the enter Summers-Gray family tree from memory, AND explain it coherently, to the fact that asking me an innocent question about anything in the MCU can and will result in a 15+ minute long lecture about the differences between the MCU and comics canon and my theories about those changes.
The thing is, though, that sometimes there are things you need to let go, and sometimes you don’t. In fact, sometimes letting go of shit is the least productive route you can take.
But right now I want to keep this in the realm of the personal, we’ll talk about systemic bullshit later.
There are a number of reasons to let shit go, it doesn’t matter, it’s actually not a big deal, you don’t have the energy to deal with it right now…
The thing is, YOU are the only one who can decide whether you can or will let something go, whether that thing matters. And I know that nerds are often depicted hanging on desperately to useless points of trivia, as dying on hills that to most people don’t fucking matter.
That is both a fair and unfair characterization. And how you see it depends on your personal experiences. When I see nerd characters being obsessively weird and angry about tiny details, I empathize with them, because I was gaslighted by my family for pretty much my whole life, so I would CLING to those details because I wouldn’t have made up something that small and inconsequential, would I? So a lot of times where other people see pedantry, I see a desperate clinging to reality in the face of people who wanted to dictate to me what my reality actually was.
To someone being gaslit, the knowledge of something that everyone can agree on, that is “canon” and documented, can seem like a lifesaver. Because you spend so much of your life being told you’re the unreliable narrator of your own story, you are desperate for something someone will see you as an expert in, even if it’s just the history of a comic book.
So, to my way of thinking, someone being an obsessive weirdo over Naruto canon is more a cry for help than a declaration of ego.
And sometimes it’s interwoven with an identity as the “smart one.” You have to know things, because that’s what you do! If you don’t do that, what are you?
But even then, you do need to evaluate whether or not the stress of clinging to that shit is worth it. Sometimes survival mechanisms become maladaptive. Like deflecting everything serious with humor can make you sound like an insensitive asshole.
So you need to sit down and figure out why you’re clinging to these things, what need are they answering. Are you looking for control? Are you looking for confirmation? Are you just an asshole?
Also, while you are the only one who can decide what’s worth it, you do also need to evaluate how it affects your life. Are people avoiding you because of it? Is it impacting your professional life or personal life negatively? And you may need the services of a mental health professional to help you make these assessments, because if you’re like me, you are going to cling to that survival mechanism like it was a lifeboat from the Titanic.
So maybe think hard about your personal hills to die on, and why? And be a little more generous with your estimations of others and their hills. You don’t know what put them there.
As always, the caveat “Your rights end when they touch my body” applies. No amount of damage justifies being an asshole to people who don’t deserve it.
If you like what you read here, or want to help fund my years (YEARS) of therapy, please consider donating using the link at the top right of the page: Keep Us Geeking, or checking out my Patreon. Thank you!
Also, if you’d like to see what sort of fiction I write when left to my own devices, please feel free to check out my fiction Patreon, Nothing Nice Comes Out of My Head.