Half-ass nerd: A praise to Physics, Astronomy, and the Big Bang Theory show

I wish I was smart.

Well… I wish I was more intelligent than I am. I once took an IQ test (back in the late 80s). It stated that my IQ was 160-something. I think the test was flawed. Maybe 140-something… that one day I had an epiphany in an existential philosophy lecture. But nowadays, who knows. Maybe 130ish? I’m not even sure how they rate these things anymore. It used to be based on knowledge, not outright intellect, which is a flawed system because it bases your smarts off of memory recall and learned subject matter, not actual raw intelligence.

Anyway, I have been fond of physics for a long time. Particularly astrophysics. The ability to use mathematics to not only explain, but also discern, what ‘is’, in our universe (and beyond), is just plain cool. Unfortunately, I do not have a math brain.

I am aware that some people think anyone can learn the full extent of math, from algebra to whatever lies beyond calculus. But I have never found that mental toll booth to pay and keep on trucking down the cerebral highway. I’ve tried, believe me. Hell, I can’t even properly multiply fractions or do long division w/o a calculator. Yet, I can sit down and write a twenty page paper in about two or three hours on some topic in one of the fields of philosophy I studied years ago. Go figure. For the most part, I think my grammar and spelling are up in the top 20% (of non-eidetic literary doctoral wielders, that is). That makes me feel a bit smarter than, say, about 50% of the populace. I can explain plate tectonics, Pan divergence, and the difference between an oxygen and an ozone molecule. That makes me feel smarter than maybe 65% of the populace. Then we come back to math…  and I know people that didn’t even make it past the 10th grade that can outdo me here. And I’m back in the 20% smart category.

I watch a lot of shows dealing with astronomy, astrophysics, some on just physics, some on geosciences… whatever catches my fancy (like Morgan Freeman’s “Through the Wormhole“). I can easily follow the subject matter, the ideas, theories, terminology… but when they start scrawling on those big, white dry-erase boards… omg… my brain slowly dissolves and begins leaking from my ears.Image

( nicked this from: Life-Lessons.net )

I actually made a noise once, like an ape snort, during “The Big Bang Theory,” while watching the Sheldon work his magic on one of those big, white boards (or someone else’s magic during script-writing). These are my big green guy moments. “RAWR! Math hurt. Hulk smash!”

It’s hard enough for me to manage straight-forward math, let alone basic geometry. But using math, that has symbols in it (of which, 99.99999% I do not recognize) and knowing exactly what the symbols not only stand for, but remembering any numerical value or equation preset to said symbol, and then installing that into the equation(s) that contain the symbol, and then knowing that that equation is only a tiny part of a much Bigger equation, filled with many more little equations, also containing these symbols (Klingon?)… and standing back and saying, “Oh… now I see the answer.”

O.o      I just hurt myself explaining what I didn’t know. Frelling amazing, these people are. You gotta love em for just being able to understand this stuff, let alone work with it, further develop it and improve, disprove, or create theories, hypthoses, working models, etc. etc.

I consider myself a nerd (course, I have been a lot of things in my life… nerd, athlete, headbanger, Goth boi, outdoorsman, indoorsman, father, husband, bachelor, scholar, stoner, bully, victim, martial artist, couch potato, you get the idea…) but I am a low-tech nerd, I guess. I can build my own PC system, but it can take months to tweak the software and drivers to get it running with a solid 90% efficiency. I can install a phone line, jacks, intercoms, etc. …but ask me to network computers together… we’re talking days to get the bugs out. I can build a fire from scratch, but my kids’ Ipods vex me. To this Day, I have not figured out how to burn a movie onto a DVD, yet people ask me to help them troubleshoot their computer problems. I could likely be better, if I took the time to apply myself (as if I had time to spare – lol) and Learn all the extra shite I need to learn to be a full-fledged nerd god. But, that’s where the half-assed part comes in. I probably have around twenty or twenty-five half-read books in my library, and another thousand that I obtained, with the interest and intention of reading until I got home and became distracted with something else. I surmise this is why I like to go fishing. I can relate to the fish. Oh LOOK! SHINY!

But my biggest downfall, I posit, is that I do not have the ability (at least I don’t think I do) to fully comprehend certain mental tools needed for certain tasks in nerdom – like advanced math for Physics. Yes, that was likely a run-on sentence. Shut up.

So, I nerd out in my own fashion. I sit back and cheer on the real ones, the ones I idolize and mentally pat on the back and think to myself, ‘You go, guys! You’re our only hope.’ I envision, perhaps, someday, these super-intellects will discover an equation, that will be picked up by Neuroscientists (Go Amy Farrah Fowler!)Image and then find its way into gene therapy or a nifty new drug, that will expand our cognitive capacity a good 20 or 30% and then I can finally join my secret heroes in the ephemeral Physics realm… and the Shite will make Sense! Yeah, baby!

Oh, one more thing. I love Sheldon’s utter übermensch mentality… but Leonard is a true god among insects. Word.

By Mac

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