Last Sunday I was walking home from work when I encountered a Segway tour of downtown Columbus.
It appeared to be a bespectacled family of four that was rolling along by the Statehouse, with the Mom holding her Segway handlebars in a death grip. Even though the devices weren’t moving at a pace much faster than a good, brisk walk, all four of the riders and the guide were wearing bicycle helmets and appeared to be protected against any imaginable possibility of injury in the event of, say, a Segway collision where the rider is hurled six inches to the ground. As I walked past, the little group was stopped on one of the Statehouse sidewalks, but after the guide had finished his spiel they went gliding serenely and silently away in the direction of the Ohio Theater, looking for all the world like peculiar moving statues.
And I thought: nerds. Or, as Ogre might bellow in Revenge of the Nerds: “NERDS”!
I’m sorry, Segway. Your device might be a self-balancing, gyroscopic technological wonder, and another great leap forward to a future where humans don’t have to move a muscle, but helmeted people on Segways is the most infallible nerd indicator since the development of Dungeons and Dragons and the premiere of Star Trek: Voyager.
I hate to admit it, but I would never don a helmet and take a Segway tour of Columbus, or anywhere else, because it would provoke a severe case of ipsenerdophobia. True nerds need a refined sense of self-awareness, as a kind of defense mechanism to avoid putting themselves into obvious nerd situations, and a Segway tour sets my nerdar jangling at peak frequencies. As a geek who wears glasses, read comics into my college years, and likes science fiction, I’ve got more than enough nerd tendencies as it is.