Best/Worst Demonstration of Nerdiness at Work: And the Winners Are...

By Chris Cummins in Nerdery
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 9:03 am
IT Crowd header.jpg
This was the second TR contest I've had the privilege of judging and I have to say that you folks didn't let me down in the slightest. Not that I had any doubt, but you guys are all such incredible nerds that it warms every fiber of my jaded, surly being.

That said, it was kind of a tough contest to judge. From awkward tales of revealing your nerdiness to indifferent co-workers to just plain awesomeness, there were a lot of entries that seemed like they may just claim a TR prize. Eventually though, I settled on two entries -- one from the best category and one from the worst -- that I felt best represented that triumph and tragedy that can result from geeking out in the workplace. I'll get to those in a bit, but first, after the jump are the honorable mentions (really though, you peeps are all superstars in my nerd-loving eyes).

To be fair, when picking the honorable mentions I tried to weigh best and worst entries together without placing a bias on one of the two categories. Thus they are presented as you see below (some best, some worst). After all, one person's awkwardness is another person's lolz. That said, here we go.

Option said:

I think I used: 'Its the filing system we deserve, but not the one we need right now..' the other day..

A Dark Knight-centric reference that still is a valid commentary on the mundanities of office life. Very nice indeed.
El Fez said:

Being a software tester, I am often surrounded by geeks and nerds of all stripes. Some into Anime, other like sports - but we all had our field of nerd expertise.

That is, until I worked on a project without a single nerd in the building. It was hammered home just how alone I was when the team went out to dinner after work one day. We were talking about past gigs and what we had done in our lives, when one fellow mentioned that he served in the US Navy, on board the USS Enterprise.

I, of course, without missing a beat I asked "So, how's Captain Kirk?"

Dead silence. You could hear a pin drop. Nobody got what I was talking about until a few moments later with the round of polite chuckles and a quick change of subject. Seriously, how the hell do you serve on the Enterprise without knowing about Star Trek?

This one makes me weep for humanity a bit.

Da Bearon said:

I work in the data processing unit of a State Department of Corrections. (Unofficial motto:"Our Governors make our license plates!")

About ten or fifteen years ago we had a youngish, inexperienced Unit Manager. For whatever reason he decreed that we would be allowed to wear Halloween costumes to work.

You can see it coming, can't you. :-P

I was a member of KAG at the time, so of course I showed up in my Klingon Battle armor, minus the weapons. I also left off the headpiece, since it's hot in my office, and I have longer than shoulder-length hair and a full beard.

Naturally I was the only one in the office in ANY kind of costume. Need I say more?

There's a joke to be made here about prison sex and Klingons, but I'll leave it to you.

braineek said:
I'm a twin, so I have a color picture of Tomax & Xamot hanging on my wall by my desk. I'm also a manager, so whenever new customers, employees, or others in my industry come to our office they are always introduced to me. On several occasions I have had to explain who the heck the picture is and then I have to explain why I have it there. I refuse to take it down regardless of the embarrassing looks I get after I explain it to them, or even the looks of shock when they first see it.

The best part? I don't feel any shame before, during or after the ordeal. My twin does, though.

The only thing that would make this any better is if braineek began shouting "COBRA LALALALALALALA!" at his co-workers for no reason.

Moncyness said:

One of my co-workers (TJ) was having trouble with his laptop, and he claimed he threw it across the room with 100 Gs of force.

That lead to a forty-five minute discussion, including much internet research, about whether it would throw a standard laptop with 100 Gs of force. Forty-five minutes of company time, making customers wait, while we chased that particular rabbit.

After much debate, including charts and diagrams, it was determined that it would be theoretically possible for a man to throw his laptop with 100 Gs of force... just we didn't believe that TJ (who is built like a shorter version of Martin Short) could do it.

Nerdiness and property damage is clearly the new chocolate and peanut butter.

Quixotico said:

Part of my job is writing scripts (small functions or programs within programs) and as part of this, I get to name them and make the icon for them. Most every script is either a play on words or a reference to geekery. I'll also put geeky references into the status text that flashes by.

Back to the Future reference for a time-scaling script. Icon is the flux capacitor.

Indiana Jones for a virtual object swap script. Golden Idol icon.

Iron Man references galore for an inverse-kinematics solving script, with Iron Man as the Icon and credits to Stark Enterprises.

More Star Wars references than I can remember. A time-measurement tool mentions converting from parsecs to seconds.

HAL's eye is the icon for a script that removes unnecessary dependencies. It also looked at the user's home directory and, if their name was Dave or David, shot out a quote. There was one guy in our office named Dave who was a complete screw-up.

Well done, Quixotico. I'm both impressed and a bit terrified.

factorblank said:
I remember one meeting where we spent 30 minutes talking about Jennifer Garner's ass and it was a completely legitimate business discussion. I work for a company that makes animation software and one of our customers used it to "enhance" Jennifer Garners behind in Elektra. We ultimately decided not to make a press release about it, but we sure did have fun making up headline.
"Completely legitimate business discussion," huh? Sure it was.

edgreen86 said:

During my 20 years in the military, I worked a great deal of time in the Intelligence field. When I worked at a Major General's HQ in the Operations and Training section, our office had numerous posters about "Possible Aggressors" with photos/drawings of Soviet/Chinese/North Korean equipment and uniforms.

Behind my desk, I had several pictures all with the captions "Possible Aggressors". Darth Vader, Klingons, Godzilla, Mojo Jojo and I believe Harley Quinn.

The few times someone raised an eyebrow, my boss (A Sergeant Major) would shrug his shoulders "He's an Intel Guy. You know about them."

Ed's completely right, we should totally be monitoring Mojo Jojo's actions at all times.

Lotus Watcher said:
During a night of heavy drinking with my coworkers, who are from all walks of life, we all decided to rename our company's software to sound Japanese, then we assigned everyone a power ranger to operate zoids that combine into an ass-kicking giant robot by that name. I'm the Fucking Fuschia Ranger, but we have a Green Ranger, a Transparent Ranger, and even a Gingham Ranger. When a new coworker establishes themselves we allow them to choose their new ranger and post on our super secret company forum under their ranger name. We also put together a roster page with poorly photoshoped ranger pics and short biographies of each Ranger.
I'm more of an Ultraman guy, but I see how this can be fun.

Ken said:
I am a partner at a small law firm. We handle criminal and civil litigation. The younger associates I manage occasionally complain that the motion or opposition I have assigned them to draft, or the oral argument I have sent them to make, is not winnable. By now, they all know that if they offer that complaint, I will respond with an extended Kobayashi Maru reference. In fact, all I have to say now is "Kobayashi" and they shut up.

Menshevixen said:
I am a librarian and for Black History Month last month, we created this fairly sweet poster (which is still hanging up because it's awesome and we don't want to take it down):
That poster is awesome and inspirational, well done. But is Storm on there twice?

skrag2112 said:
When I was in Desert Storm in 1991 (did I just give my age away?), my troop was patrolling through some destroyed vehicles. As we walked among them, talking about various details, I saw a small piece of scrap on the ground. I picked it up and said to my platoon sergeant "Look sir, droids!" Most of the guys got it, but my sergeant just gave me a withering stare.
Skrag was being nerdy while IN A WAR. Impressive, no? And why do I suspect that the 2112 is a Rush reference?

Big Jim Slade said:
Well, when I was younger, I was a HUGE X-Men fan. I was such a big fan that many of the important things in my life bore some sort of reference to significant X-Men comics. In fact, it still transfers to today. We password protect some items at work. During a somewhat recent presentation, the person running it opened up one of my files in front of the room. I had to give my password. "0248," I answered. I got a lot of questions as to where I got this one. Fellow fans might know, but for most of the people in my company, I had to explain. "I used to collect comic books, and my favorite was Uncanny X-Men. My favorite artist was Jim Lee, and #248 was the first issue of X-Men that he drew." Let me just say that I didn't impress any of the managers in the room with my juvenile obsession still making its presence known in my professional life. I've now changed the password to 0266, the first appearance of Gambit.
Oh the secret shame of nerdy passwords. I think we've all been there.

Junkyard 22 said:

A friend of mine told of a test they had to took the day before Thanksgiving in college. The professor really didn't wanna be there but was required to give a test. Here was the test:

1. What is your name?
2. What is your Quest?
3. What is your favorite Color?

My friend was the only person to get it.

Secondhand nerdiness or not, this is still a great story.

PopeAwesome XIII said:
For my own personal favorite: getting on the intercom system at (name of retail chain deleted by author) after closing, and demanding that the manager shut down all trash compactors in the detention level. Do you hear me? SHUT DOWN ALL TRASH COMPACTORS ON THE DETENTION LEVEL.

Nobody got it.
The Pope here felt that the contest was skewed towards office workers, but I have to respectfully disagree. If I was in a store and heard someone do this, I would not leave until I met, shook the hand of or frenched whomever was responsible for such a display of greatness.

The rest of the honorable mentions and the winners are on the next page!
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