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I realize things are going really well for nerds lately. Several years ago, various mainstream media channels heralded the "Rise of the Geek", and graced their covers with various computer nerds-a-leaping, costumed with all the naturalism and subtlety of an extra from Saved by the Bell. Nerds were everywhere you looked, except at cool parties or underneath attractive women because, let's face it: unless those headlines read "Rise of the Multi-Billionaire Geek," the only velvet ropes you had any hopes of getting past with those steel-frame glasses, tennis shoes and trench coat were at Club Bizarro Universe. It was false advertising, but no hard feelings.

Well, even if you couldn't sincerely thank Bill Gates and that Asian guy from Yahoo!, the same cannot be said for Peter Jackson. You see, his outstandingly deft handling of JRR Tolkien's Nerd-tastic trilogy has legitimized all of your bookish fantasies and vindicated decades of unsubstantiated physical abuse at the hands and feet of Jocks™ worldwide. The tables have turned, and Lord of the Rings upset them.

Everyone loves the fantasy that Jackson - and, by extension, Tolkien (the original he-man woman-hater) - has wrought. Suddenly, your insight into elvin lore is a much-desired commodity. Jocks are bringing their own nerd sherpas to the movies, and hanging on their every thin-lipped utterance. "Give us safe passage through Middle Earth," their eyes beg, and you comply more than willingly. You're pointing out mistakes in the subtitles for scenes spoken in Elven, an act which would ordinarily elicit a swift and severe beating, but now caresses "oohs" and "ahhhs" and sweet eyelash fluttering from your tormentors. Maybe they even throw a beefy arm around your shoulder and chuckle along when you make a joke about the generous size of Gandalf's staff, and take no notice when your skepticism and newfound cavalier spirit cause you to mutter, "Auta miqula orqu*" underneath your breath. Yes, the world seems to be tilting according to your whims but believe me now: BE CAREFUL.

Don't push it too hard. Remember that Tolkien's rich, female-free universe of dragons and dwarves and homocidal trees has been your province for many, many years, but is virgin territory to the rest of us. Take it slowly. Learn to hold your tongue. Leave your cape and cardboard scabbard at home a little while longer - at least until the reviews are in for the next chapter in the trilogy. Perhaps you can show people your armband tattoo of the Ring's unforgettable inscription, but don't share your Hobbit fan fiction just yet. Choose your battles, or you will upset this wonderful but delicate victory. Don't start wearing ear points. Don't refer to your cubicle as "the shire", except in private emails to your closest and most trusted friends. I know it doesn't seem fair, but please trust me. I'm just trying to protect you.

You've got a year left, maybe even more. Just hold your breath and pray the critics don't smite The Return of the King next year, or you'll have to retreat back to Middle Earth (i.e. your mom's basement apartment) for another three thousand gleems, or whatever you nerds call years.

(*if you were able to recognize this phrase and/or translate it, it's already too late for you. sacrifice yourself with silence for the sake of the rest of the nerd race, please.)

WE FIRST MET ON 01.04.2003

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