I’m not a touchy-feely person. On the Myers-Briggs personality scale, I “think” rather than “feel.” (ENTP, babies.) But watching the video for The Guild’s “I’m the One That’s Cool” put a lump in my throat and made me sniffle with what-the-hell-are-these-human-feelings emotion.
This song, courtesy of Felicia Day, musician Jed Whedon, and Day’s friends from her web series The Guild, is an anthem to the shift in attitude toward geekdom: We were once the social outcasts. Now we’re the high-scorers on the leaderboard of pop culture. This song celebrates that.
But if you think “I’m the One That’s Cool” is a feel-good video, let me stop you there. Interspersed with clips of the actors on stage, performing for an enthusiastic audience, are moments that punch me right in my soul. The toilet incident aside, the horrors I experienced in my youth were there in the video. The snide looks and casual cruelty? Check. Sitting alone in the lunchroom? Check. The innocent wanting-to-be-liked demeanor greeted with a dodgeball to the face? Yup, that 100 percent happened to me in 3rd grade.
Seeing it on the small screen brings home that my experience was a shared one. Today it’s easy for a young geek to reach out to an international fannish community. But when I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, geek culture was much more limited and harder to find. So when you were geeky, you weren’t just picked on for being different. You were also alone.
School-age children can be cruel, and I have no doubt that children right now are being picked on for all sorts of nebulous reasons. But now being a fan of (insert nerdy matter here) isn’t one of them.
“I’m the One That’s Cool” is the rock-solid proof you need that you’re no longer geeky and a social outcast. You can be geeky as hell with your friends, some of them nearby, others just a click away. And that’s absolutely wonderful.