Brick Heck, the youngest child on ABC’s “The Middle,” isn’t someone most kids would want to emulate. He’s socially inept, has several odd behavioral traits and makes the library his favorite destination.

Since I’m far removed from childhood — gaining a little wisdom along the way — and past the social anxiety of trying to fit in, I’m rooting for him. I realize he is just a fictional character, but popular culture does influence our society.

The appeal of Brick isn’t just because his favorite activity is reading, a necessary skill for our audience in the newspaper business. I also admire his infatuation with fonts.

Discussion on fonts has slipped into several episodes of the television series. In a very early show, he had a plan — that involved fonts, of all things — for winning over a girl. When, to everyone’s surprise, she showed up at his door, he chimed “Would you like to come in and I’ll show you my favorite fonts?”

Another time, he discovers that the rides at Disney World are “way more fun than I thought” because they have signs, and the words on them are in different fonts.

During the Super Bowl, he surprises his father by telling him a newspaper story on a star football running back is fascinating. The excitement of his son finally appreciating football turned to disappointment when Mike Heck discovered the fascination for Brick wasn’t with the content of the story, but the Copperplate Gothic font used in the story.

I can relate to Brick, in a way, as fonts have become an inseparable part of my life. Still, I don’t express that infatuation outside of work, except on Wednesday nights inside the home. My wife groans when I point out to her that I know a particular font mentioned in the show or add my own commentary whenever Brick brings up the subject of fonts. The grandkids just laugh at me.

Brick says that if you can talk about fonts, you can talk to anyone. The hitch is that few will listen.

In a recent episode, he decides to produce daily podcasts — called “fontcasts” — about different fonts. It turns out he only has one fan, who we discover at the end of the show was Jimmy Kimmel.   

After expressing his disappointment at listening to his final fontcast when Brick pulls the plug on the venture, Kimmel confronts a person holding a cue card who rushed into his office to warn him his show is about to go on. Kimmel spots the cue card and complains about the writing being in the Helvetica font again. He laments that he can’t even get Century Gothic once in a while. “What are we, animals?” he exclaims to end the segment.

Fonts are used for humor in “The Middle,” but the interesting part is that they are even mentioned in a hit television series. Although personal computers have elevated fonts to the general public, most people know little about fonts, and probably a good share couldn’t even define the word font.

However, fonts are a big part of our operations, thus they are always on our minds, even when some of us aren’t watching “The Middle.” Unlike Brick, we don’t share our enthusiasm with the world, which is why most people don’t realize their importance to us in the newspaper business.

Right now we are looking at a major redesign of two of our publications, and use of fonts has been a big part of the discussion. Most people think photographs and placement of stories and graphics are the things that matter in design, but even the shape of the type plays a role in the look of our paper.

Choices on using serif or sans serif type in stories and headlines are major decisions. By the way, serifs are the short lines stemming from and at an angle to the upper and lower ends of the strokes of the letters. The type you are reading right now is in serif type.

Drilling down even more and choosing a font, such as the serif type Century Gothic family or the sans serif type Helvetica family, is another major decision.

We don’t expect people to identify or name our fonts used in our newspapers. We’ve made changes before in some of our publications and some people notice, although most are only aware that something is different, but can’t pinpoint what. There are few people like the fictional Brick in the real world.

Still, the television character provides a valuable service by bringing up the importance of fonts, even if the subject is often the butt of jokes. I’m not sure the jokes will help people understand the important role they play in communications, but at least the subject of fonts has an audience.

Although I don’t entirely agree with Brick’s statement that “your choice of font says more about you than the words it’s written in,” there is some truth in his belief. The type style we choose definitely contributes to our image and can also help people more easily read what we write.

If Brick were a real person and a bit older — or maybe not since he seems wise beyond his age — he would be a good fit in our operation.

I’d just keep the font discussion internally since I don’t need to have everyone know — outside of my family on Wednesday nights — that I can also be a social misfit at times.