The Chronicles of Nerdia

Newspaper becomes new epic quest

Shawn Havel

Editor's commentary

Shawn Havel


There was a time in my life when free time was abundant. Those days are presumably gone forever. Since the day I took the position as co-editor for Wingspan, my nerd time has been minimized considerably. No more video games, no more "Star Wars" or "Lord of the Rings" marathons. Instead I get to write, edit and do homework, and when free time finally comes, it comes late in the evening where I have to make the choice either to play the video game for a while or to fall asleep right then. And no matter which I choose, sleep wins within five minutes because I will either play the video game and fall asleep during a loading screen or have already chosen to sleep.

It's been a demoralizing semester. It's been relentless work sprinkled with me voluntarily taking an extra photo assignment because I think it would be cool to be a photographer or I'm just a masochist. I'm unsure if I liked taking pictures of horses for several hours or if I hate myself. It's a sad, sad reality that I didn't really expect at the beginning of the school year.

But it is the path I have chosen for myself, and much like Frodo and the ring, the co-editor position is my burden and everyone else in Wingspan are characters in my fellowship that will come and go until I cast Wingspan into the depths of Mordor or graduate…Whichever justifies my delusional behavior best.

I recently bought the soundtrack to "Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game." All the songs sound like an 8-bit video game, and as I do my daily tasks, I usually will throw on this soundtrack to make the mundane hours of my day more tolerable. Writing stories, copyediting and most everything else warrant boss-theme music played on a loop until the task is done. Then comes a heroic anthem to celebrate the completion while I recharge my vegan powers with a soy chai latte from the Emporium. It's possibly the best strategy I've come up with to battle my lack of free time and my desire to remain a nerd.

The only other defense to preserve my nerdiness is to say something so blatantly idiotic and nerdy that other people cannot help but respond to the comment…often a hyperbolic statement in reference to Dungeons & Dragons…I like to pay homage to the nerd forefathers who turned their parents' basements into vast realms of ogres and various elf races. Corellon Larethian bless all those great nerds of yesteryears. No matter how far I go, I will always remember where I came from.

A lot of people are probably judging both my former and present way of life, and that is fair, but I will remind all those haters I write sports, too. And sports are pretty cool. Which means I'm still pretty cool by association. And to those still judging me, I say, "That's just like…your opinion…man."

However, I have been very fortunate to be a part of Wingspan, not many other college newspapers have the opportunity to have a zombie issue, let alone a zombie issue that can place second in best of show among college papers across the United States.

So I would have to say it was well-worth not having time to exterminate the hordes on X-Box because I was a part of something that benefits my résumé while still satiating my love of dumb things.

So, perhaps the death of my social life or the justification of my not having a social life in the first place is not in vain because all my nerdy habits still live on, though abridged.

Perhaps this just proves you can take the nerd from the game, but you cannot take the game from the nerd.