The 20 Nerd Commandments

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?Last Friday, I asked you all to suggest some Nerd Laws for the TR contest. There were three things I didn’t anticipate: 1) that I would get 400+ entries, the most for a TR contest in quite some time; 2) that because I posted a pic of Mel Brooks as Moses from History of the World Part I that pretty must everyone would type in “thee’s” and “thou’s,” 10 Commandments-style; and 3) that the entries would be quite so awesome. I know I say the entries are awesome every week, but this is the only time that I decided they were quite so wonderful that they had to become their own Daily List.

Seriously, I think we’ve created a set of laws that every nerd should genuinely live by. We’ve made a code of conduct, people, for nerds everywhere. I wish I could print out copies and hand them to every nerd in the nation, they’re that good. So please, don’t just enjoy today’s Daily List, take it to heart. I want to start with three laws I amalgamated from many comments and commenters. Their inner truth was undeniable:

1) Thou must experience as many nerdy properties as possible throughout your youth (nerdy parents must assist with this). By the age of 20, you must have chosen at least two sides of the following: Star Wars or Star Trek, Kirk or Picard, Marvel or DC, Mac or PC, Trukk or Munkey, Baker or Tennant, and Joel or Mike. If these topics come up, you must argue your choice past all reasonableness.

2) Thou must always recognize your first exposure to a nerdy property was the best possible incarnation of that property. Likewise, thou must always find new incarnations, sequels, spin-offs, rip-offs, and media inspired these properties to be crappier than your prized original.

3) Thou must revere the Nerd Girl, because she is as rare as the diamond and just as valuable. Thou shouldst not stark her just because she’s the only girl in your nerd circle, and if/when she turns down your advances, you will not spurn her because that’s just shitty. And Nerd Girls, thou must be careful, for thy power is great — and can be used for both good and ill.

The other 17 Nerd Commandments are after the jump. Don’t read them for me… but for the sake of your nerd soul.

Now we get into specifically TR commenter suggested laws (although I did a bit of editing). Consider these the Honorable Mentions, although you should obey them just as you would first three Commandments:

4) Thou must try to convince your significant other to name the child after a character of nerdy importance. If thou are cut from the cloth of the nerd tribe and have managed to breed, , and bringeth into the world the Lando’s, the Anakin’s, the Kal-Els. —Hagan

All nerds must be able to sketch, from memory, the basic outlines of
the Millennium Falcon, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), and the TARDIS
.Rob [Not me. –Ed.]

6) Thou shalt not question who shot first. –Skeletor

Thou shalt acknowledge that Batman beats everyone, ever, anywhere at
That’s right, he beats everybody. Even Optimus Prime. Even
Darth Vader. Even Chuck Norris. He’d find a way. He’s the goddamn
Batman. —DoctorSmashy

8) Thou shalt be prepared to survive the zombie apocalypse, and teach thy children similarly.

9) Thou shalt not forget to honor and give thanks to the Dice Gods for your triumphs and victories.Krys

10) If two nerds ever find themselves holding cylindrical objects of at least 9 inches in length they must immediately make lightsaber ignition noises and face each other down in mortal combat. Bronson

11)  Shouldst thou hear a man proclaim, “Now you know,” for whatever reason, then thou must reply in your most triumphant voice, “And knowing is half the battle!” Let he who should offend against this law be cast out from the company of his worthier fellows and be made subject to aspersions made ‘gainst his improper rearing and the cuckolding whore that did sire him and perform the rearing. —JesseMXGangl

12) When searching for something to watch on television you must watch the geek movie you come across, even if you have said movie in your collection. If anyone asks, “Why don’t you just watch the one you own?” stare at them like an idiot and explain, “That is not the point.” —Durandal

13) In order to assure procreation of the nerd species, thou shalt not utter nerdy quotes during sex. —Erixander

Thy first crush must be upon an cartoon character. —Darth Dorkus

Thou must not be the nerdiest person in the room, the one nerd that even the other nerds are scared to be around. If your obsession causes you to lose a job, significant other, or cause harm to yourself, GET SOME FUCKING HELP. —Geoff [Ed’s Note: I feel like this covers my fan fic rule from before. If you’re writing about pedobeastophiliac Care Bears porn, you’re very likely this person, and you should knock that shit off. –Rob]

16) Thou must learn how to do to the Vulcan hand gesture, whether thou likes Star Trek or not. —keepoffthegrass

Thou shalt be required to attend at least one nerd convention (videogames, anime, comics, etc.) during thy lifetime. —Erugalathon

There shall be no viewing of fansubs by any self-described otaku/anime fan who can afford to purchase the said material (exceptions: viewing at conventions or titles that have no chance of being released stateside). —Capsulesn’Coffee

All nerds, when purchasing something in a store, must never pick up the first item in the front, because the item in front has almost certainly been touched by unclean hands, and thus its condition is less mint, the grade must pleasing to the nerd gods. —C-Squared

Commandment #20 — and the winner of the contest — is on the next page. As are some bonus words to live by…


I think all the rules people suggested were marvelous, and narrowing down 20 was nearly impossible for me. But there was one law that struck me as so true, and was so well written and explained that I knew instantly I had the winner. Ladies and gentlemen, our final Commandment comes from chapka:

20) Thou must obey the Law of the Golden Mean. What is it? Glad you asked:
? Any thing that can be purchased, achieved or obtained that consists of a discrete number of individual parts, issues, episodes, or location; such as issues of a comic book, trading cards in a set, or action figures in a line is subject to the Law of the Golden Mean.
? Any nerd in possession of more than 61.8% of the individual items in such a series must, if at all possible, either proceed to acquire each of the remaining items so as to complete the set, or sell one or more items on eBay until the nerd again owns less than 61.8% of the total series.
? If the items owned make up a complete set of a more specific series, the law is satisfied.

Example 1:
Peter owns seasons one, two, three and four of Babylon 5 on DVD. Peter owns 4 of 5 (80%) of Babylon 5 on DVD, and so must also purchase Season 5 to complete the set, even though it kind of sucked.

Example 2:

Clark owns the first nine of sixteen collected volumes of Dave Sim’s “Cerebus the Aardvark.” Clark owns only 56.25% of the Cerebus books, and therefore may stop purchasing them without violating this Law once he realizes that they’ve gotten longwinded, incomprehensible, and obnoxious.

Example 3:

Logan owns all of issues 27 through 860 of Detective Comics except for Issue #449 (“Midnight Rustler of Gotham City”). Logan owns 96.7% of all Detective Comics issues and would ordinarily be required to complete the set. However, by buying Issue #449, Logan can complete the more specific set of all Detective Comics issues published since the introduction of Batman, after which he does not need to purchase issues 1 through 27.

Example 4:

Reed has photographs of himself with William Shatner, Majel Barrett, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, and Walter Koenig. His photographs comprise only 55.6% of the original nine-member regular cast of Star Trek: The Original Series, and it is unnecessary for him to stalk either Michelle Nichelle Nichols or Grace Lee Whitney, although I bet that won’t stop him.

Example 5:

Bruce has 300 issues of Fantastic Four from the 1960s through the 1980s in plastic storage tubs under his bed. Because Bruce owns less than 61.8% of the 500-plus Fantastic Four issues, he is not required to purchase the entire set. However, Bruce’s collection likely includes more than 61.8% of those Fantastic Four issues inked by Joe Sinnott, and if Bruce is aware of this, he will be required to complete that subset.

For most nerds, failure to abide by the Law of the Golden Mean will result in madness, obsession, and eventually a drunken late-night sale of the entire remaining collection on eBay.

I suppose there’s some nerds out there reading this that don’t have that completionist compulsion, but I do not know them. I am absolutely this way, and all my enrd friends are the same — I even think Chapka got the percentages of when it goes from fun collection to MUST-BE-COMPLETE correct. Well done, sir.

But that’s not all! You know, the Bible certainly has its commandments, particularly in the Old Testament. But in the New Testament, Jesus explains how people should live through parables. I didn’t ask for any parables, but long-time commenter Zortt1 took it upon himself to write one which is feel is too long to be a Commandment, but certainly has a lot to teach us. I like to call it “The Parable of the Nerd Bastard and the Fox:”

“And from the high mountains of the realm known as internet came a traveler. He was a normal man, but one of great size and mainly of gerth. This man was a prophet of Nerd Law, and he went by the name of Bricken. In his hands he carried great tools. In his left hand, a device known as a laptop, which he claimed he had direct contact with all of his people, even if his grammar wasn’t exactly correct.

Walking through a nearby village, he stumbled upon several children gather around a viewing screen that was called, television. Bricken stopped to watch what the children were viewing. On the screen a show, was a wondrous show that appealed to all the aspects and laws contained in the book of Nerd Law. It had vibrant characters and interesting stories. However, a Fox was sitting in wait a few paces behind the television.

Bricken intrigued, turned to a boy near the front, ‘Boy, how long has this show been running?’

The boy smiled and said, ‘Why, Master Bricken! This show is first run! Would you enjoy it with us?”

Bricken was overjoyed! ‘Yes! I shall!’ Sitting, Bricken watched the show with the children and found himself entranced with the show.

Three episodes in, a Fox slipped into the crowd and began to count those in the audience. Bricken was puzzled, but ignored the Fox. When Fox was done, it slipped behind the television and pulled the plug. The children were horrified and Bricken howled at the Fox, ‘Fox! Why have thee killed our show?’

The Fox, cackled with laughter, ‘This show was creative and slowly gaining an audience. However, not quickly enough. Therefore, I shall replace it with this!’ Lights flickered on the television and the creative, interesting, well thought out story that appealed to every aspect of Nerd Law was gone. In its place was a show that only a heathen would like.

The children ran away to their homes, hiding their televisions from the dreaded Fox. Bricken stayed behind and spoke to the Fox, ‘That was a cruel, cruel thing to do Fox. Was not your audience large enough.’

The Fox smiled, ‘It was, it was. However, I have decided to go another direction. Another dancing program where people are judged. What are you going to do about it Bricken?’

Picking up his mighty laptop he began to write to his people. Posting after posting, he warned his people of the cruelty of the Fox. The Fox’s powers grew weaker, but they didn’t go away entirely. ‘Bricken, you have weakened me, but I can never truly go away.’

Bricken nodded, ‘This is true, for there is even a place for you in this book of Nerd Law, and I, only lowly prophet Bricken, can do nothing to defeat you entirely. Even with the threat of skull fucking. It would take the entirety of the following of the Book of Nerd Law. However, I can do this!’

From this story, the Nerd Law was written, “Thou shall never fully trust a program presented by Fox, no matter how closely it follows the rules within the book of Nerd Law, for it could go away without warning. Even with the threat of a skull fucking.”

Zortt1 gets a shirt for this wonderful and thought-provoking fable. Now, my children, go, and spread the word of the 20 Nerd Commandments. For I believe if we are righteous and follow them, the nerd race will grow, proud, strong, less obnoxious and generally less creepy than ever before.