Nerd is the New Cool: An Interview With Yo-Yo Master David Capurro

Pub date May 28, 2008
SectionSF Blog

By Justin Juul

If we’ve learned anything from the most recent technological revolution (Web 2.0 and stuff, duh!), it’s that nerds are way cooler than we thought they were. In fact, the word “nerd” has lost nearly all of its negative connotations, now defining a certain type of person with highly specific interests rather than a loser. “I’m a music nerd,” people will proudly say, or “I’m an art nerd.” Being a nerd, then, has become cool; and not just in an ironic hipster sense like when you wear glasses without lenses or pretend to like B-movies. The people who used to be nerds are now actually cooler than the people who used to be cool. Take skateboarders for example. Being a skateboarder in 1990 meant that you lived a life of dread, that you were a nerd, and that all the jocks, cheerleaders, and thugs got to make fun of you. But being a skateboarder these days means that you have the freshest gear before anyone else, you know about underground art and music, and you have a pretty good chance of being an extra in the next Larry Clark film. The same thing goes for yo-yo champions like David Capurro. He may not spend his weekends getting drunk and doing cocaine at clubs, but well, come on; that shit’s for nerds.

The Guardian caught up with Capurro recently to explore the subculture of competitive yo-yo players, who might just be the coolest people on the planet (next to skateboarders, of course).


SFBG: How did you get into yo-yoing?
David Capurro: I saw a kid playing with a yo-yo when I was ten years old. I was kind of a socially awkward kid so I traded him a pair of walkie-talkies for his yo-yo. I guess I just figured I’d rather play with a yo-yo by myself than go out and try to make friends with those damn walkie-talkies. Besides, yo-yos don’t need batteries.