The Nerd Test Page
Joe Mullich, as published in AmericanWay Magazine, 15 November 1994.
Here are a few items against which to measure yourself and your
relationship to society in general, i.e., how
to determine if Technology has taken over your life:
- Your stationery is more cluttered than Warren Beatty's address book.
The letterhead lists a fax number, e-mail addresses for
two on-line services, and your Internet address, which spreads
across the breadth of the letterhead and continues to the back.
In essence, you have conceded that the first page of any letter
you write is letterhead.
- You can no longer sit through an entire movie without having at least
one device on your body beep or buzz.
- You have to fill out a form that must be typewritten,
but you can't because there isn't one typewriter in your house --
only computers with laser printers.
- You think of the gadgets in your office as "friends,"
but you forget to send your father a birthday card.
- You disdain people who use low baud rates.
- When you go into a computer store, you eavesdrop on a salesperson
talking with customers -- and you butt in to correct him and spend
the next twenty minutes answering the customers' questions, while
the salesperson stands by silently, nodding his head.
- You use the phrase "digital compression" in a conversation
without thinking how strange your mouth feels when you say it.
- You constantly find yourself in groups of people to whom you
say the phrase "digital compression." Everyone understands
what you mean, and you are not surprised or disappointed that
you don't have to explain it.
- You know Bill Gates' e-mail address, but you have to look
up your own social security number.
- You stop saying "phone number" and replace it with
"voice number," since we all know the majority of phone
lines in any house are plugged into contraptions that talk to
- You sign Christmas cards by putting :-) next to your signature.
- Off the top of your head, you can think of nineteen keystroke
symbols that are far more clever than :-).
- You back up your data every day.
- Your wife asks you to pick up some minipads for her at the
store and you return with a rest for your mouse.
- You think jokes about being unable to program a VCR are stupid.
- On vacation, you are reading a computer manual and turning
the pages faster than everyone else who is reading John Grisham
- The thought that a CD could refer to finance or music rarely
enters your mind.
- You are able to argue persuasively that Ross Perot's phrase
"electronic town hall" makes more sense than the term
"information superhighway," but you don't because, after
all, the man still uses hand-drawn pie charts.
- You go to computer trade shows and map out your path of the
exhibit hall in advance. But you cannot give someone directions
to your house without looking up the street names.
- You would rather get more dots per inch than miles per gallon.
- You become upset when a person calls you on the phone to sell
you something, but you think it's okay for a computer to call
and demand that you start pushing buttons on your telephone to
receive more information about the product it is selling.
- You know without a doubt that disks come in five-and-a-quarter
and three-and-a-half-inch sizes.
- Al Gore strikes you as an "intriguing" fellow.
- You own a set of itty-bitty screw-drivers and you actually
know where they are.
- While contemporaries swap stories about their recent hernia
surgeries, you compare mouse-induced index-finger strain with
- You are so knowledgeable about technology that you feel secure
enough to say "I don't know" when someone asks you a
technology question instead of feeling compelled to make something
- You rotate your screen savers more frequently than your automobile
- You have a functioning home copier machine, but every toaster
you own turns bread into charcoal.
- You have ended friendships because of irreconcilably different
opinions about which is better -- the track ball or the track
- You understand all the jokes in this message. If so, my friend,
technology has taken over your life. We suggest, for your own
good, that you go lie under a tree and write a haiku. And don't
use a laptop.
- You email this message to your friends over the net. You'd
never get around to showing it to them in person or reading it
to them on the phone. In fact, you have probably never met most
of these people face-to-face.
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