"It's impossible to discourage the real writers; they don't give a damn what you say." Sinclair Lewis

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Message to Your Inner Nerd: Have Courage!

It was 1993. Twelve years of education had taught me one thing: I didn’t want to be a nerd. Years earlier I learned everyone was a jock, nerd, stoner, dork, or loser (and parents were just lame). Of all groups, nerds were absolutely at the bottom of the pile. Life was pretty rough for them.

With time, I learned to survive this by studying the behaviors of each group. It also helped that every movie and TV show then produced shed light on the exact differences (i.e. Revenge of the Nerds, Back to the Future, and Saved by the Bell).

With the energy you might have when chased by a bear, I ditched the glasses, didn’t mess around with homework, and NEVER answered questions like, “Can anyone tell me what a dangling participle is?”

By the time I entered High School, survival wasn’t enough. I had aspirations! It took work and discipline, but I was able to climb the food chain a little more each year by mimicking the behaviors of those at the top. One of the more powerful strategies I learned was to keep my language very simple and almost meaningless, like repeating popular phrases like “you know” and “oh dude” over and over again.

Graduation arrived. I felt like my skills were finely honed and whatever the future held for me, at least I wouldn’t be doomed to the hard life; that of the nerd.

Who could have guessed society’s pecking order was about to be turned on its head?

It’s 2011. Forget the pocket calculator. Now, most of us depend on a myriad of gadgets we don’t really understand bulging from each of our pockets. Almost every aspect of our entire lives is somehow created and controlled by the nerds. Except now we call them Presidents and CEO’s. Even the lowliest is now called a “techie” and treated with the same respect humanity has always given those that can do really cool mysterious stuff (i.e. magicians of old).

So far as I can tell, there have been no revolts over the power shift.

Anyway, if I could go back in time, I’d embrace my inner nerd and just grit my teeth through the beatings. There is one subject in particular I wish I’d paid a little more attention to when I was going through school. That’s English. In particular, I’d love to be able to write well.

How great would it be to be able to write killer marketing pieces? (Like on how awesome our Workers Compensation program is. Call me!)

Even outside of business, I’d like to be able to write fun little things for the family. (Maybe even a book . . . someday.) Still, while I used to fear the consequences of knowing what a dangling participle is, the idea of immortalizing my thoughts (flaws and all!) through the written word makes me just as nervous. Maybe it’s time I have the courage of all those so-called nerds and just push ahead.

So, cheers to all those that never feared being a little different, getting good grades, or letting a genuine piece of themselves live on through the written word. I sure admire you.

--Ben Page

Ben’s life has been one full of adventure. He’s traveled the globe and immersed himself in other languages and cultures. He has started several companies outside of Page Insurance, one of which has received national attention for its success. When he isn’t helping local business owners control insurance costs, he is spending time with his family. There is nothing he enjoys more than good company and good food.