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Other, Things You Like That I Don't

Things You Like that I Don’t, Volume 5

Top: Now this is the power of math! Bottom: Oh my God, I’m like such a nerd ’cause I like those Marvel-type movies, you know?

If you’ve read these types of miniature rants, these vindictive essays before, you know the drill: Enjoy or scoff at a handful more things that you (yes, you… or someone you know!) probably like, but I, well, do not.

  • Amusement & Theme Parks = Given the geographic isolation of my hometown and my rampant cinephilia, I have often identified as a “couch potato” in spirit if not in practice. I played quite a few sports and had plentiful exposure to wildlife outdoors, sure, but my family and I rarely had the means or the free time to travel much, and when we did travel, it was almost always to visit relatives in other boring, middle-of-nowhere small towns in the Midwest. On rare occasions, we traveled to scenic places for ecotourism given my family’s background in wildlife biology.
  • Almost never did we travel to places like Six Flags, Disney Land or Disney World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, etc. When I did visit one of these theme park attractions either with my family or friends, I rarely had myself a good time. This is likely a function of my ambivalence toward roller coasters (I enjoy them but most aren’t worth the 30-120 minute wait times), my inability to immerse myself in movie studio attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean or Jaws, and my general distaste for their games and overpriced merchandise. I understand zoos and aquariums suffer from many of the same faults, but for my part, ecological research parks at least deliver on their core experience, showcasing international fauna and conservation outreach, far better than amusement and theme parks.
  • Eating Out = No, I’m not talking about the album by the venerable Rudy Ray Moore, but rather eating at any public restaurant or any place besides one’s own home or peers’ homes. I’ll tolerate a quick bite at a fast-food establishment on a road trip, sure, even though fast-food isn’t cheap anymore; but most sit-down restaurants grind my gears outside of special occasions like national holidays, religious festivals, graduations, etc. Eating out just for the sake of eating outside the home is an activity I find expensive, inconvenient, time-consuming, and more of an elaborate excuse to socialize than anything else. I just don’t have the patience for it.
  • Why? For one, I’m not a half bad cook and have a diverse list of recipes in my culinary repertoire, so I can replicate most types of cuisines on my time and dime. For another, the experience of eating professionally made meals in a public setting is often (a) unaffordable and/or (b) never satisfies my hunger. Most frustrating are the fancy “fine-dining” establishments that charge out the ass for their meals but deliver tiny, tiny portions of their entrees in the name of cutting costs or showcasing their food “presentation.” I assume much of this dynamic is connected with the rise of “food photography” on Instagram and other social media platforms, where culinary arts are appreciated more for their looks than their tastes or ability to satisfy hunger.
  • Either way, eating out is one of several common practices I did not miss amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I find high society’s obsession with sit-down restaurants baffling and a succinct example of wasteful class privilege. If most “eating out” consisted of street food or carnival food, I’d be down for it most days of the week, but otherwise? No, thank you.
  • Taking pride in nerdiness or falsely proclaiming oneself a nerd = Growing up enthusiastic about dinosaurs, monsters, and all sorts of sharp-toothed animals, both fictional and real, as well as committed to academic performance, good grades, and science in general, I wasn’t the coolest kid in my community. I wasn’t some social outcast or bullied pushover, either, but I was, for lack of a better term, the stereotypical definition of “a nerd” in the 2000s. Whenever I excelled in athletics (I was a competitive swimmer, played baseball, etc.) or botched an assignment (I earned a high grade point average throughout my childhood), those events were interpreted by my peers as exceptions to my geeky lifestyle rule, regardless of how fair or unfair those perceptions were. That’s the gist of most if not all stereotypes — they’re always unfair on some level when applied to a specific individual, though stereotypical labels often have a grain or two of truth to them.
  • As such, while I didn’t hate my childhood and do look back on certain youthful events with fondness as an adult, I never enjoyed the connotations of “nerdiness” applied to me by friends and random classmates; comments regarding my nerdy interests or mannerisms (e.g. Why do you use such fancy words? Why do you like weird stuff? Are you a science guy or something? What’s a preposition?) always reminded me of my relative social isolation or weirdness relative to an alleged mainstream group. I often found myself wishing I had different interests or gravitated toward more popular social phenomena naturally, maybe a version of myself where I had charisma to compliment my academic achievement.
  • These feelings persisted into undergraduate education (i.e. college) somewhat due to my realization that even academically talented individuals often had the same bland, generic, mainstream, fair-weather interests with regards to music, movies, and popular culture in general that my K-12 peers had. My interests in wildlife biology were odd relative to my pre-medical/dental/veterinarian classmates, I had to hold my tongue at every generic blockbuster my friends suggested for movie night, and I drowned out the terrible, awful, no good, very bad pop music that played at every free-weight room I attended with Nine Inch Nails because I had to.
  • In other words, the nerd-concept with which I am familiar, with which I grew up, was something that was applied to you against your will as a sign of social exclusion. Your interests were niche, your mannerisms were niche, your overall style, was, well, not mainstream. You didn’t gravitate toward non-mainstream ideas because you were a contrarian (i.e. the hipster cliché), but because that’s how you developed organically and you were stereotyped in some negative way because of that. The modern Internet clickbait phenomenon of bragging about one’s supposed nerdiness — however inaccurate that self-proclamation may or may not be — never made sense to me because of that upbringing.

    Sure, the ride itself is fun, but the two hours of waiting in line aren’t.

  • And finally, if you think of yourself as a “nerd” because you watch incredibly popular, successful superhero movies or because you have a Master’s Degree or because you know how to work a microscope or because youfucking LOVE science“… then I have a Live, Laugh, Love welcome rug I’d like to sell you.
  • Collecting Ticket Stubs from Movie Showtimes = Speaking of stereotypes, one of the most cliched hobbies of cinephiles is the cataloging of one’s trips to movie theatres by collecting the paper ticket stubs of those showtimes. I find this habit, seemingly one of the most quintessential behaviors of moviegoers, inexplicable. While I can sort of understand this fascination with a physical record of one’s trips to live events like operas, stage musicals, concerts, sports games, etc., archiving the purchases of one’s entrance to recorded media never made sense to me. But then again, the complete and insincere infatuation most cinephiles have with movie theatres themselves never computed for me, either.

About The Celtic Predator

I love movies, music, video games, and big, scary creatures.

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