It always surprises me a little when I meet someone new and in the process of them telling me a bit about themselves, they blurt out: “Yeah, basically I’m a total nerd!” While part of me is insulted; (Do You really think I wouldn’t have figured that out by now?) another part of me is wondering why this person feels it necessary to blurt this out to someone they’re meeting for the first time. I am sure there are many other explanations for this phenomenon, but I’ve come up with two: 1. They want to preempt the inevitable judgement about to be leveled upon them; 2. They are nerd-proud and not afraid to admit it!
Here’s the thing, though. Everyone, and I mean everyone, whether you want to admit it or not has an inner nerd, or geek if you would prefer, lurking not too far from the surface. I know that some of you are shaking your heads right now now saying: “Piss off, not me, who the hell do you think you are?” This is a perfectly natural reaction, especially if you view yourself as completely opposite and devoid of any “nerd” characteristics. However, let’s take a closer look at the word nerd (often used interchangeably with “geek”). One definition of word from an online dictionary goes like this: “Slang, noun. A stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.” Ouch! I guess I understand the above reaction. But wait, there is more. “An intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit. A computer nerd.” Perhaps the negative reaction to being called a nerd is because no one wants to be stupid and intelligent! Still need more proof, how about the Urban Dictionary definition: “A highly intellectual person who is greatly envied by those who are not as bright. Often insulted and excluded due to jealousy.” Double ouch!
When I stated above that everyone has an inner nerd, I was of course including myself in that statement. Unless, of course, you know me and are sniggering to yourself: “Yeah, right, inner nerd, who is he trying to kid!” Regardless, here is a perfect example of the inner nerd coming to the surface. The other day I was thinking about the amount of music I listen to. Before I go any further, when I say listen to, I mean that literally. This means listening to music and not doing anything else while listening. No reading, not as background to a dinner party, or jogging, or doing any other type of activity. Nothing, just the music and nothing but the music. Instead of just leaving it as a thought, my inner nerd kicked in and I decided to do some calculations. I used a sample parameter of the last 20 years, mainly because I doubt if I could remember anything past that number, and an average listening time of four hours per day! I know this sounds like a lot, but it is an accurate average for me! So, 20 years equals 7,300 days, multiply that by four hours per day and you get a total of 29,000 hours of music listened to in the last 20 years. That is a lot of music. One would think I would be satisfied with these calculations, but in true nerd fashion I needed more data. So, I went deep!
Armed with the figure of 29,000 hours of music listened to, I wanted to roughly guestimate how many songs that represented over the 20 years. Using an average song length of four minutes, I first took the number of hours (29,200) and multiplied by 60 to arrive at 1,752,000 minutes of music listed to, then divided by the average song length (four minutes) to arrive at 438,000 songs listened to in the last 20 years! As I marveled at that number, I started to think maybe four minutes was not accurate enough, so I did the calculations for six- and eight-minute average song lengths and came up with 292,000 and 219,000 songs respectively. I did all this even though 10th grade math was the best two years of my life!
So, the next time you find yourself obsessing about some detail, or minutiae, let your inner nerd soar and just go with it. And you can also expect to see more writing about music in the future!
Los Angeles 2022