For Christmas I received my thirty-seventh Nerdy Dad Shirt, a Vader for President Old Navy special. And I love it.
I love it along with my Star Wars shirts, Avengers shirts, Justice League shirts, Star Trek shirts – you get the idea. Even my Vonnegut shirt is a nerdy dad shirt (…he was a nerdy dad who wrote science fiction, I’m a nerdy dad who loves him). I love it because it’s not some in-your-face political statement or some hipstery design. Plus my kids get a little excited when they can figure out the cartoons on my shirt (whether it’s a large mushroom from Mario that someone has also tagged all over town on walls or a lesson for me to teach them what “Live Long and Prosper” means).
My daughter, three, is my nerdy sidekick for life (yes, her name is Zelda* and no she is not named after the game) because she’ll always sit down with me to watch Clone Wars and anything Star Trek or Star Wars related, while my son, five, currently likes his Star Wars only in the Lego or Angry Birds variety (he also protests watching Green Lantern but will wear the logo-centric underwear). He is in my grasp, however, and will one day out-nerd me in all things science and math and engineering. At four he could set up the chess board perfectly and each day he takes a big swig of my Earl Grey Tea (yes, hot.) He will most definitely come up to me at a later age saying something like, “did you know Star Trek is like this great Western about diversity and peace and understanding?” And I’ll tell him something along the lines of, “I’ve been telling you that since you were a baby.”
Oh, and two days ago there were having their first light saber duel. Zelda had her pink-and-silver custom-made saber and Harrison (no, not named after the comic storeor Harrison Ford – well, sort of but not really-) his green saber. It was glorious.
I didn’t wear nerdy shirts before kids – I wore thrift store shirts or black shirts or maybe something with a hipstery design or political message. I still do sometimes, but it’s not as much fun on the playground. Plus a nerdy dad shirt is the clarion call to other nerdy dads and moms – whether they be nerds of different varieties – that we can gather and commune over our own nerdy habits (writing, chess, science fiction, craft beers, tv series to Netflix) and be at peace.
And isn’t that what Vader for President is really about?
*The Legend of Zelda creator nerds chose the name from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s (The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise) wife, Zelda. So take that, English Lit nerds!