Okay I admit it. I love to whomp. Something about knocking down those woodchucks into words, many of which I do not recognize and subsequently look up, is deeply satisfying to my inner (and outer) nerd. If you have never played the game, you simply must. It's much like the the old game of Boggle in which you have a limited amount of letters and must make words out of them within a specific time period. Blanks at the top of the screen indicate the number of the words you must create, and each time you choose a letter, a toothed creature sinks into a log with a "whomp." It's more fun if you turn up the volume.
My husband likes to listen to the whomp sounds. Once in awhile, he looks over my shoulder and helps me with the more obvious and irritating combinations. For some reason, I keep missing the word "sum." I think it's related to my math block.
Whomping is extremely relaxing until it become irritating. I constantly accuse the computer of cheating, but usually it's when the woodchucks come up with some esoteric word that concurs with Dictionary.com, another plaguing source that only confirms the accuracy of the woodchucks. Besides, I swear sometimes I enter a word only to have it NOT appear in the little box, and for that, the woodchucks mock me with a negative noise. A related sound insults me when I have repeated a word. And yet another when I make a spelling error. Still, I continue to play, as it keeps my mind somewhat active, my vocabulary growing, my wits challenged, my spelling practiced, and my rare competitiveness from completely disappearing. Besides, it's better to challenge the woodchucks than it is my husband in Scrabble. He hates when I always win. Can't say I blame him. Words are MY thing, not really his.
I also enjoy the online thesaurus. It's fun to enter a word and find other words that closely relate to the original word but are sometimes so off the mark, I have to go back to the dictionary to make sure I am getting THE word I want. Then I start looking up other words on the thesaurus. I guess this is why when I took the "Nerd, Geek or Dork" quiz, I ended up 82 % Nerd, 17% Geek, 52% Dork.
Apparently, there IS a difference between these character traits. According to the quiz, "a Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia. A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one. A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions." I "scored better than half in Nerd and Dork" The classic 80's nerd, I am "what most people think of when they think 'nerd,' largely due to 80's movies like Revenge of the Nerds and TV shows like Head of the Class." Furthermore, I am "exceptionally bright and smart, and partly because of that have never quite fit in with peers or social groups." This explains a lot. I am glad this kind of psychological testing is available online. I bet my insurance company is as well.
I used to read the dictionary. Sometimes, when I get distracted in Scrabble, I still do. It's fun to look at the desired entry and then exclaim as I move down the page, "Hey! I didn't know that was a word!" When I was a kid, I used to read the phone book as well. I don't do that anymore since the advent of Yahoo Yellow Pages and People Search. Speaking of which, I used to look up other things like local sex offenders and property values. I also look up policy and laws. Come on. Public information is interesting. But I guess this really DOES make me a nerd as well as a dork. I mean, what kind of conversation does this make? "What do you do for fun?" Well, in my spare time, I read and write and hike and scrapbook and blog and....I look up sex offenders on the Internet How about you?" This is not the kind of thing people really want to know. I found this out once because I actually admitted it. I think it made people uncomfortable. I can't imagine why.
I am okay with being a nerd because I guess I have always been one. I loved college. I loved to read and write from an early age, and I still do (though I am somewhat of a slow reader). I loved to go off, sit under the branches of huge pine trees, think and write. Not much has changed except I sit here at my computer and type, which incidentally is much faster and neater than hand writing. Besides, I have much more to write about now that I have lived longer than seven years. I don't have to make up as many stories because I have lived enough of them. There are benefits to growing up and older.
So I better go. I have to get the kids off the summer school and do some errands. And later today, I will be after those damn woodchucks for sure. They better get ready!!!
Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt