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A Star Trek Nerd In Disguise At a Barbecue Joint

Yesterday, I went to lunch with a friend at a local restaurant. This wasn’t at a convention or next to a comic book shop or a game store or anyplace overtly nerdy. It was technically a bit of a sports bar that serves really good barbecue so it was almost anti-nerdy. Yet it was here that I met a fellow nerd-in-disguise and had a wonderful shared moment of fandom.

It started when I heard the sound of a Star Trek communicator. The place was kind of loud so at first I thought my ears were playing tricks on me. Then I heard it again. I even asked my lunch date if he had heard it and he confirmed that it was indeed a Star Trek communicator. Now I had to find it.

We soon determined that it was at the table behind us which happened to hold four people in military fatigues. I’m frankly not good enough to know which branch of the service, but I do know camouflage and these guys were military. I had to know which one of them was a geek in disguise.

I just couldn’t tell over the noise in the restaurant and when my food came, I forgot all about the nerd at the other table. They finished before us and when they got up to leave I suddenly remembered and waved for their attention to ask who had the Star Trek communicator.

Talk about deer in headlights. They all kind of looked at each other, then one guy sort of shyly admitted (as he buddy pointed at him like he was a leper) that it was his phone. I’m not sure what he expected me to say, but it was pretty clear he didn’t expect it to be good.

“Dude, that is the best ringtone ever and I had to know whose phone it was. That is awesome!”

This was definitely not what he expected and he broke out in a huge grin. He told me I was only the second person that had ever said anything and he looked happily surprised that I thought it was a good thing. We high-fived, his buddies kind of rolled their eyes, and he was on his way. It was a little moment of shared fandom in a barbecue restaurant and made both of us smile.

Next time you spot a fellow geek in the wild, don’t just think how cool their shirt or ringtone or belt or whatever is, tell them. The whole point of fandom is sharing what you love, so let them know you noticed and make their day, and probably yours, too.

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