I’m a nerd. Or a dork. Or a geek. Call me what you will under whichever definition you choose. I like things like science and Star Trek and comic books and video games. I am slightly anti-social. I wear glasses and work in a nerdy sort of job. That’s who I am and I wear that badge proudly any day of the week.
Verizon would have be believe that this is a bad thing and that, by simply knowing more about football, I can break the bonds of my stereotype and become another more socially acceptable stereotype.
Don’t believe me? Watch the commercials they’ve been throwing up during NFL games.
There are two. The first stars the prototypical office dork (thick glasses, suspenders, pomade-induced parted hair, squeaky nerdy voice, etc.) trying to interact with his co-workers at lunch who are talking about the game last night. He makes an egregious faux pas and his office mates get up and walk away from him, leaving him to marinate in his own embarrassing social disgrace.
But then comes Verizon to the rescue. The guy decides he should learn about football. The more he learns, the more he tranforms. They show him learning about football while exercising at the gym, while he’s getting his hair cut, while doing various other self-improvements, and by the end of the commercial, he’s best friends with the same co-workers who ditched him in the beginning, has his hair professionally coiffed, ditched his glasses, and seems like the kind of dude who would give his old self a swirly.
Apparently, knowing about football does all of this. The knowledge of football and its nuances are shown in this commercial to take you from zero to “hero” within one NFL season.
Oh, don’t think that we forgot about you, ladies.
There’s a sister commercial which stars a woman with (again) thick glasses, bad hair, and no fashion sense (iron-on puffpaint sweatshirts). This time, however, she’s shown to be a crazy cat lady instead of just the awkward co-worker. After learning football progressively the same way as the guy did, while working out or being social or getting her hurr did, she comes out the other side of the commercial as a well-adjusted, totally-not-shut-in, attractive, professional woman who has (again) ditched her glasses and her apparently less-than-desirable lifestyle based on the Power of Football.
Verizon, I get the zero-to-hero gag. I get that you’re overdramatizing a situation to make a funny commercial. You are forgetting one thing, however: Nerds, geeks, and dorks (some… most where I’m from) watch football. We know about football. We know the nuances of our roster. We could call in to a sportstalk show and ask an important question about the direction of the team or offer some insight to prior callers.
We already know what the fuck we’re talking about when it comes to the game, so I’ve got one question for you, Verizon: Where’s our social acceptance? Where’s our glory? You promised these things to us via commercial. Since we already know football, does that mean you owe us a haircut, some time at the gym, and a nice-looking new suit so that we don’t have to be stared at like the office freak anymore? I mean, it’s not like my glasses are getting any thinner or more fashionable. My geeky suspenders make my underwear ride up and they constantly bump my pocket protector. Or, maybe your reparations will include speech therapy for my over-obvious lisp or my hideous nasal laugh. Are you going to hand out spray tan or force my super pale ass into the tanning bed? Are you going to instill the growth of facial hair over my acne-laden skin?
Or, are you going to stop fucking stereotyping me? Because I’m a big, tan, bearded, football-knowing, no-suspender-wearing, video-game-playing, Star-Trek-watching nerd who is certainly not the office pariah you make me out to be. I may consider myself anti-social, but I still get out of my house quite regularly and have quite a few friends with whom I did not originally bond over football.
I am great friends with a number of people who know practically nothing about football or sports in general. They are certainly not the terrible shut-in characters your commercials would have us believe they are. They are amazing people who lead amazing lives. Just because they don’t watch football doesn’t mean they can’t own a very successful business or be an expert chef or climb Mt. Everest on their way to the Seven Summits (actually do have a friend who summited Everest). These are people who have great accomplishments under their belt and whose lack of football knowledge was never once called into question as a negative.
In short, Verizon, you suck. Your commercial makes adult life look like high school, where the cool kids don’t want the dorky guy to sit at their lunch table. Grow up. Advance your timeline beyond 1950 Join the real world. The lines are blurred. The social divisions aren’t as extreme as they used to be. Somewhere down the line, everyone watches at least one episode of Doctor Who, and that’s nerd enough for me.
Nerds of the world: Don’t let the man get you down. Especially not when that man is a two-bit bullshit phone company.
Keep fighting the good fight.
PS – Follow me on twitter @precizzion for comedy gold and rants about the continuing lockout.