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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Yes, I know I'm wrong, but listen to me...

I have a strong ten­den­cy to be ar­gu­men­ta­tive. That's be­cause I re­al­ly en­joy a good ar­gu­men­t, if you'll par­don the ob­vi­ous­ness.

The best thing about a good ar­gu­ment is that you get the most amaz­ing in­sights from the wrong side of it. For ex­am­ple, Lamar­ck­ian vs. Dar­wini­an evo­lu­tion: Lamar­ck was wrong. But Lamar­ck­ism is a heck of an idea, and once you get lamar­ck­ism, you can pass it on! (ha!).

Or, the chick­en and the egg? I ac­tu­al­ly got in­to an ar­gu­ment (and I did not start it my­self) about this a cou­ple of weeks ago.

If you start with some­thing that's wrong, you can back­track and see why it's wrong. What was the im­plic­it mis­tak­en as­sump­tion, the in­com­ing garbage that cre­at­ed the out­go­ing crap. And then you can tweak it. And see what new garbage comes out. Wrong stuff, but new stuff.

And that's one of the great things about be­ing a nerd: nerds are the awe­some at this. Oh, you may think peo­ple in pol­i­tics would be bet­ter? Nah, they nev­er change their mind­s. Lawyer­s? Well, they ar­gue for mon­ey!

But nerd­s? We do it for fun. And most of us don't give a damn about look­ing weird to oth­ers be­cause we al­ready know we look weird to oth­er­s.

Spend­ing 4 hours locked in a car with av­er­age hu­mans is most­ly a chore. Some­one will play mu­sic, maybe peo­ple will talk in­ter­mit­tent­ly about stuff that hap­pened in the last few days, what­ev­er.

But lock 4 nerds in a car for 4 hours and you're go­ing to lis­ten to stuff. This hap­pened to me twice in the last few week­s. And in be­tween, we had a din­ner with a very high nerd fac­tor (with al­co­hol as­sist)... great fun.

IMG14266.JPG Warning, nerds and alcohol mix a bit too well.

Now, I know many ex­pe­ri­ence this when they are with peo­ple that have a cer­tain thing in com­mon. I've seen some­thing sim­i­lar hap­pen be­twen, for ex­am­ple, com­mu­nists and for­mer com­mu­nist­s. They would talk for hours, and it was lots of fun (even for me ;-) but what they talked about was their com­mon thing: com­mu­nis­m.

IMG14268.JPG Yes, the tiramisu has penguins in it.

Nerds ap­par­ent­ly don't have such in­cli­na­tion. Nerds will ar­gue about any­thing. Nerds will ar­gue about ev­ery­thing. And that makes me think... why are nerds seen as shy and in­tro­vert­ed? Hel­l, why are nerds shy and in­tro­vert­ed? How can I rec­on­cile what I see when I'm among fel­low nerds and how oth­ers see us?

IMG14262.JPG Yes, penguin cookies

And it's not easy. I am by all stan­dard mea­sures painful­ly shy. I had great dif­fi­cul­ty mak­ing friends when I was a kid. I did­n't like the things oth­er kids liked. I did­n't know many things they knew all along. I con­tin­u­ous­ly was the butt of jokes for be­ing naïve on things I had nev­er heard about. I was al­ways afraid to speak when I was in a group be­cause I thought I would make a fool of my­self.

Shy does­n't mean bor­ing. Shy does­n't mean some­one who does­n't have any­thing in­ter­est­ing to say. Shy means some­one that has prob­lems start­ing.

On the oth­er hand, I have spo­ken in front of hun­dreds and I've been told I look re­laxed (I am not, I am fak­ing, guys). I write un­der my re­al name and I nev­er felt some­thing was "too weird" so I should­n't write it (com­ing soon: an eco­nom­ic ex­pla­na­tion of why men like to see wom­en kiss­ing), so I am not re­al­ly afraid of peo­ple think­ing I'm weird. What the hel­l, I know I'm weird. Ask me if you see me: Am I weird? Yes!

But I still have trou­ble when I am in a par­ty with peo­ple I don't know (I am lucky my wife is like so­cial WD-40). I still have trou­ble mak­ing small talk. I don't know what hap­pened in the TV show ev­ery­one watch­es. I ap­pear shy and in­tro­vert­ed. Un­til you know me.

Eduardo / 2010-11-15 13:50:

Notaste como los no-nerds no pueden soportar mas de una media hora de debate sin sentido? Es como si, a menos que tengan algo personal en juego, no tuvieran el aguante que hace falta para sostener una discusión de horas, mantener en mente todo lo que se ha dicho, pensar en qué es lo que puede decirse luego, hacer la gimnasia mental de buscar las objeciones obvias a lo que uno va a decir y pensar en los contraargumentos... Después de un rato, cambian de tema o directamente se van. Sería tan lindo que la gente normal entendiera que a nosotros nos gusta discutir porque nos gusta discutir, no porque somos pedantes y soberbios.

Roberto Alsina / 2010-11-15 14:14:

Claro! Por ejemplo esta escena de The Big Bang Theory:

A mí me parece perfectamente razonable decir que no, no necesito palitos porque la comida thai se come con tenedor porque los thai tenían tenedores! Claro que también me parece perfectamente razonable comer comida china con tenedores porque yo tengo tenedores ;-)

Belu / 2010-11-16 21:32:

Bueno... es la primera vez que leo este blog... inducida por mi chico nerd... tengo la suerte (?) de estar rodeada de informáticos, electrónicos y la verdad que si bien TOOOODOS son tímidos las conversaciones y discusiones con ellos son de lo lo más loco que he escuchado y vivenciado, y lo digo con conocimiento de causa (estudio Psicología).
Conclusión: sí, están re locos, pero son divertidos!

Roberto Alsina / 2010-11-16 22:37:

Ah, bueno, si una profesional dice que estamos locos no me hago mas problema ;-)