Eye of the Nerdicane – Happy Hour Todcast

By Tony Russo

People often ask me, “Tony, what is the secret to your ignorance? How can you be a functioning, mostly lucid adult with so little knowledge at your disposal?”

The answer is simple but may surprise you. I know a ton of different people. I know nothing about, for instance, physics but I know a scientist who can explain things consisely and doesn’t mind doing so. Similarly with economics, sports, history, acupuncture, I could seriously go on and on.

Moreover, in my time as a reporter I’ve developed the ability to find an expert appropriate to my needs, calling them and asking them shit. It’s easier and more informative than Google. Google doesn’t let you interrupt and assumes if you’re looking for the implications of the existence of the large hadron collider you have a rudimentary understanding of quarks or whatever.

I went, this weekend, to the Baltimore Comic Con as part of a larger feature I’m doing for (shameless plug) Sea Level Magazine and called upon my friend, Keith Lodzinski, who happens to be an expert in that field. Keith came along to shoot the show for me as well as to act as a sort of guide.

With his help, I got way more than I could use for the story, including and interview with a man named Ken Bald. Upon reading that name, if you’re not suitably impressed you have (unfortunately) more in common with me than you think.

After the interview, Keith put it in context for me:

“If we were at a rock’n’roll convention, you would have just finished talking to Muddy Waters,” he said.

What he didn’t say was that if this were a rock’n’roll convention, there would have been substantially less cleavage.

In this week’s Todcast, I bring Todd up to date on Baltimore Comic Con and we talk about how “nerd” has gone from a Happy Days insult to a way of describing someone who so loves a particular niche they go beyond expert, developing a kind of symbiosis with the object of their nerd-dom.

We also talk about how I am one of the few non-nerds I know, a fact that remains difficult for me. I don’t even make the dilettante grade, which is kind of sad. Instead, I stand in the midst of nerds impressing one group or another with my gleanings from other aspects of nerd-dom. Maybe I’m a nerd nerd.