Well, that’s buggered* that post then. How was I to know it was already in the dictionary?
I had planned an amusing piece about a term coined by my sons some while ago at a point where they sought to understand the spiritual and philosophical principles upon which I base my life and unconventional faith.
After expounding at length and with passionate depth, my sons stripped it all back to bare bones and, while agreeing I was definitely weird, debated whether I qualified as a geek or a nerd. Deciding I was probably both, they pronounced, “So basically, you’re a Nerk.“
The epithet, along with a number of others, even less complimentary (which they regularly apply to my stature and person) stuck. Even on my own pages, my son referred to me as a hobbit in his post. Still, it could have been worse and I am grateful for small mercies. Even hobbit sized ones.
Bear in mind, here, that they are not being unreasonable. My frame is what you might call compact, at a mere five foot, while they are in the region six foot … I can’t be exact, they are too high. They invariably ask, should they have occasion to hug me, if I am shrinking. Though Nick did say I don’t have the demeanour of a small person. Not quite worked out if that was a compliment yet…
That the term ‘nerk’ has passed into the murky waters of the urban dictionary may, or may not, have anything to do with them. Heaven forfend that they ever realise it was used in an old BBC sitcom, “Porridge”, to signify an idiot. At least, I hope they don’t realise it… they surely can’t remember that…? Don’t mention it to them, please….
However, it is indisputable that they have coined an entirely new area of speech here. They refer to the majority of my friends, of course, as fellow Nerks. Fondly and indulgently, I must add, for any fellow Nerks reading this. They speak of nerkism, nerkishness, and nerkdom on a regular basis. And of course, we understand each other perfectly.
I’m not entirely happy that when asked what Mum does, they reply, “She’s a Nerk.” (I insist on capitalisation here.) But given some of the other aforementioned epithets, it is possibly the lesser of several evils.
However, my sons have learned, over the intervening years, to value nerkdom. When I speak of anyone new, it is almost the first thing they ask, “Another Nerk?” From what could be a mild insult a nebulous, but genuine, respect has grown. All the nerks they have encountered thus far have been exceptional people with hearts open to the world and minds open to knowledge. They have seen nerkdom come together in prayer, meditation and support when Nick was lying in the coma. They have watched as nerkish attitudes and nerkist philosophies have made real differences in lives other than their own.
They have seen how my fellow Nerks have performed extraordinary acts of kindness in silence and how they are always there for a fellow creature, regardless of species or the number of legs involved.
But what is a nerkism? It is hard to define because it takes in so very many philosophies, faiths and beliefs. Although, perhaps that does define it. Maybe it is as simple as that love and respect for life, the planet which is our home, our fellow creatures and most importantly, each other.
However you seek to define the term, one thing I do know..I am proud to be numbered as a Nerk among Nerks.
- N.B. For my American readers, in Britain it really isn’t as bad as the dictionary suggests… the common usage of the term, that is.