Working with a group of editors, as I do, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is a word dork and that not everyone reads blogs like the Language Log. But even among word dorks there is a dorkiness hierarchy, and I’m not entirely proud to say that I might be near the top–or the bottom, depending on your perspective. I was recently reminded of this when recounting to my coworkers how I spent one evening: flipping through the Nerd Baby Alphabet with 3B. (I believe that this should be called the Geek Baby Alphabet, but I won’t quibble over that here.)
Because my boss was the one who tipped me off to it, nobody really wanted to make fun of the alphabet itself, but when I told them how long it took because I had to pause to explain valences and why hydrogen bonding works, there was a bit of mocking. That was nothing, however, compared to the snark unleashed when I explained that, in spite of our general ban on screen time for 3B, I took 3B into Googleville to show him animated fractals and to look up Kepler’s third law so I could explain it to him. Hey, soon enough, he’ll want nothing but Elmo from us–I’m just trying to get the good stuff in while I can. You know, before he realizes that his dad’s an inveterate geek.
Working in a group of editors, we often swap particularly juicy bits of writing, both good and bad. If I were out of the blogging closet at work, I would often share my brother’s writing. Unlike me, he paid attention in class, and it shows in pieces like this.