Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Where do Nerds come from?

Some kind person called me a nerd this week. Charming! It's someone who shall remain nameless but whose name can be constructed with the letters o r y n b... According to this person a 'nerd' is a computer geek who wears glasses, stares at a screen all day, drinks copious amounts of coffee and probably talks a lot of nonsensical garbage. OK, well I do fit that description.

Anyway this did get me wondering where 'nerd' comes from. And surprisingly not where I thought. It first appeared in a book written by one of my favourite authors...If I Ran The Zoo by Dr. Seuss, a story about a boy who invents a zoo with all the best animals in it..all imaginary. I have a collection of Seuss books but this is one I missed. Probably spending too much time looking at a screen to notice it was one of his most popular books. So it is Theodor Seuss Geisel who is credited with inventing the word 'nerd'.

They are first mentioned in the lines

And then, just to show them, I'll sail to Ka-Troo
And Bring Back an It-Kutch a Preep and a Proo
A Nerkle a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!

and refer to some characters wanted for the imaginary zoo. No doubt a nerd was something warped and blue with ten legs, a fluffy tail, a beard and a goofy smile judging by his other drawings. I must get a copy of this book now.

How 'nerd' migrated from the imaginary zoo to this is anyone's guess but I suppose it could be worse. Modern day nerds could have be referred to as something else from the book. A "Fizza-ma-Wizza-ma-Dill" perhaps!

(The world's biggest bird from the island of Gwark
who eats only pine trees, and spits out the bark).

I'm off to visit the second hand book store. Want to join me Robyn?...

Another good place to visit: Seussville

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where do Nerds come from? Ka-Troo according to Dr Seuss. I can imagine the country of Ka-Troo easily. Buildings full of computers, with computer geeks staring at the screen all day, drinking copious amounts of coffee and talking a lot of nonsensical garbage. Makes me wonder what a preep and a proo is though. Almost sounds rude :)

But you should be thankful - there are so many things you could have been called instead - you only have to read Dr Seuss to see you got off very lightly, very lightly indeed :)

which brings me to the question. Are Nerds Real? According to Dr Seuss they were in his 'imaginary zoo'. Which begs the question - Is Bron real or just a figment of our imagination? I've always wanted an imaginary friend and you can be my first if you like!!!

And yes - would love to go to the 2nd hand book store with you. I just wonder if you can tear yourself away from the computer for long enough to do this. However, if you're not real and I talk to you - will I look funny doing so?

Cheers
Robyn

Bron said...

1st problem - tearing me away from my computer...

2nd problem - getting me back out of the book store!!!!

But then I guess if I am imaginery then it doesn't matter which mode I get stuck in!

Do you really know what you are getting yourself into going into a book store with me? You mightn't ever come out again... :-)

Anonymous said...

Fortunately, if you're imaginary, then it won't matter if I leave you in the bookstore and go off and find myself a nice hot cup of tea. (I don't drink coffee - I'm not that sort of gal!)

Thats whats so great about imaginary friends - they're there only when you want to call them up in your head. I've also been told it's a ssign of intelligennce to have an imaginary friend. I like that I finally have one - i can finally tell everyone I must be intelligent :)

Cheers
Robyn