As a newcomer to this posting facility, I would first tell you that the following words, while true, were not posted entirely voluntarily. One of your members, upon hearing me say some of what is posted below, demanded rather loudly and redundantly that I place it within the annals of this website. This member shall go unnamed, but suffice to say that his name would be followed by the word "Leto" to fans of the Dune series, or by "of Earl" to most others. I am to post my alternative usage for the common book to placate him, and put a cessation to his constant and repetative entreaties. But I should give you backstory, or how will you know where the subject came from? Ah, yes. I was talking to my assosiate about stereotypes. I told my friend that I look every inch the Computer Nerd. People -- complete strangers sometimes! -- will come up to me and ask "How do I maximize the RAM potential of my Pentium 3.7 while downloading mp3 files over an ethernet connection to a site in Djibouti using an IMac, if the "j" key is frozen and my gum has lost all of its flavor?" Or something along similar lines. Now, in response to this queary, my eyes usually cross and I roll up into a fetal postion. Computers and I, you see, are not on speaking terms. In fact, this is the second draft of this document, as cursed AOL kicked me off for alleged "inactivity" Now I don't want to get off on a rant, here... So I shall return to my subject. You see, it is easy to mistake me for a Computer Nerd. I am, in fact, a nerd, though of an older and rarer species: I am a Book Nerd. (all glory be to the written word!) I never venture from my homestead without some manner of book at my side. Always within my grasp is some novel, some volume, some anthology. Indeed, I go through more books in a week than most do in a fortnight. But, to be a successful Book Nerd, more is needed than literacy. A Nerd, of any sort, must defend themselves from the IQ-deficient masses. Our first line of defense is what I like to call the "null zone." Each Nerd produces one. It allows us to pass, virtually unmolested, through and among normal people. We are far from invisible. Nerds lack what some call 'fashion sense.' We like to think of it as having the good sense to not care a whit about fashion. We wear what is most comforable and efficient for us. And, as "fashionable" clothes are neither comfortable nor efficient, we stand out in a crown like an eight foot tall screaming Hessian with a burning head in line for the Teapot ride at Disneyland. But nobody *sees* us. They know *something* fills the space in which we occupy, the Null Zone. But it simply does not register in their minds what it could possibly be. A few of the more irritable sort may hurl some random and unwaranted insult, or small rock, toward the null field, but Nerds quickly learn to disregard the lummoxes that try to harrass them. But their fellow social outcasts can see them. And not all is peaceful in the exile world of social outcasts. Most people only know of the existence of the social outcasts. They don't actually know where we reside during the day. We reside in an area I call "Reject Corner." Every school has one. It is easy to find. Simply start at the center of campus, or wherever they keep the speakers that play that horrid, horrid "music" at lunch, and then find the place that is farthest from there and still on campus. The out-of-the-way area that most only see in passing. This is where the exiled reside. To a normal person, social outcasts (though the name is viewed a misnomer, for our exile is seen as voluntary and brought on by the general stupidity of the clamoring crowds) are all the same. But there is a complex social strata in the outcasts as well. Now, there is no "social ladder" among the exiled. But there are many distinct groups. You have the Nerds, the Geeks, the Dweebs, the Goths, the Gamers, and the Lost (those who belong in no group, even among the outcasts). Even these have further subdivisions. For instance, the gamers can be floppers, chuckers, flopjocks, or any number of things. Any given exile may be a member of any number of these groups. But on some instances, the groups disagree. Exiles are just as susceptible to the esoteric forces that drive people mad as others. One minute, a friendly dice chucker and you may be exchanging good-natured insults. The next, and they are biting your hand! Or, even more perplexing, though sometimes entertaining to watch, is when the rare *female* wanders across Reject Corner. The males, physically inept but desperate for attention, try all sorts of things to gain the favor of the Y-chromosome deficient individual. I myself never partake of these demeaning activities, but I have seen many documented cases of the Gamer Mating Ritual, a memory which shall wake me up screaming for years to come, I'm sure. Needless to say, in such an environment, a benevolent Book Nerd as myself must fashion some means of defense. I have found them in the books themselves. Holding a book in my right hand by the bottom, nobody would expect me about to attack. Then suddenly I move, and there is a sharp stinging sensation on their right temple, and I glide (as well as a Nerd can glide - 18 dexterity I do not have, to be sure!) away, as the assailant shakes his head like a wounded animal. For those of you who wish to know about this style of close combat, I shall enumerate some of its partiulars. Textbooks and Hardcovers are to be avoided. They pack a heavy whallop, to be sure, and can conceivibly down an opponent in a single strike. However, they are large and unwieldy, rarely striking where intended and easy to dodge. If they avoid the blow, you leave yourself open for an intollerable duration, as the momentum of the textbook carries you well past where the target should have been. Normal books, the novels that everyone is familiar with, are quite an ease to use. Swift to the strike, and difficult to dodge, a paperback book's corner can ellicit quite a sting if used properly, though the technique for doing so can only be achieved by practice. Trade paperback allow some of the punch of textbooks, but are much easier to use, and are my second choice of weapons. My school, however, provides an additional choice, which has proven best. The school Library (called the "Media Center," as "Library" probably offended somebody) gets all of its novels specially bound in a hard cover. Thus, you have the size, and weight, of a novel, but with the superior sheilding and striking ability. A quick blow with the corner can send an opponent reeling, focusing all of the power and momentum behind the blow into one point on their skin. You must always mind your opponent's hands, lest they disarm you and leave you defenseless. When using a book in this manner, it is the general instinct to try to strike the foe with the blunt face of the book. But while this makes a very pleasing "thump!" sound, it serves to procuce little effect. The best way to use a book in combat is to strike with one of the corners, on the binding side. This way, the book moves faster, hits harder, and does more damage. If well practiced, a quick, whiplike flick of a paperback's cover can produce a good sting, though again this takes time to learn to do properly. Now, those who choose to use these techniques must do so valiantly. It is the code of the Book Nerd to do nothing that no good can originate from. I have used these techniques in earnest only thrice in my recollection in the past year: escaping a sudden Gamer Mating Ritual, getting a little troll dice-chucker to stop doing unspeakable things to a female friend of mine, and in the Great Redlands Nerd Civil War of 2001, which I shall recount to you presently. It was a foggy day, February, if my memory serves me. It was the first Friday of the month, the day that the school newspapers are passed out to anyone and everyone (who does not know the journalism staff as I do) may not enter the school without being given several. Now, the dice chuckers were discussing a campain, talking of all the different swords and maces and such. Such talk got them excited. Their leader, whom I shall refer to as "W.," (the selfsame gamer who bit me) began to beat one of his peons, a friend of mine, with a rolled up newspaper. The rest of W's horde, and indeed most of the exiles, began to beat upon my poor friend, though one odd exception was the little troll that I later had to peel off of my Y-chromosome deficient friend. Upon entering the scene and surmising my friend's plight, I gripped my book tightly (though, for the life of me, I can't recall what book it was, suffice to say, it was paperback) and entered the fray. After quickly disarming the white Asian fellow, noticed that my friend had three attackers, one of which was his treacherous overlord, W. I hastened to relieve my friend of two of his assailants, though it became readily apparent that only W posed any danger, and that not much. Drawing W away from my unfortunate friend (who, incidentally, is Jewish; wouldn't you know that everyone would pick on the one Jew in the area! It was up to the only Portuguese person and the only Troll to save him!), I held both of my foes at bay, until the troll was freed up enough to take the lesser one off my hands. Reduced only to W, I made a quick advance, gave a slight sting upon the arm holding the rolled up newspaper, causing him to fall back. He thrust, and I dodged. Again and again (for while my dexterity may not be admirable, it does exceed that of most exiles in many cases). He tried to a swinging blow, but I blocked with my book. He tries higher, for he does have height advantage on me, but I block again. We continue, until his paper is ragged. I attack. His weapon serving only to cool me off when he attacks, I buffet his cranium with several subsequent blows, causing him to retreat in earnest. Relieved of my foe, I give aid to the troll, fighting valiently for his short stature. We quickly dispatch him, though the troll made the final blow. Looking for another foe, I see W, with a fresh newspaper rolled about his raveged one. My face like stone, I go to him through the fog, book-slapping a few enemies on my way (with only two allies, enemies were never in short supply). I call to the troll, and to my finally liberated friend to guard my back, and I attack W once more. I know his double-paper shan't be destroeyed as quickly, so I focus on him. I hit his weapon arm, then the other. His face, then his back. He hits me but once, a glancing blow to my off arm. The troll attacks him from behind. By the time class starts, he is thoroghly beaten, and my defenseless friend was never attacked in such a way again. Anyroad, I have been typing this for an hour, so I bid you all adieu for now.