Sunday, February 28, 2010

Real Nerds of the World UNITE!!

A while ago, I had a conversation with my good friend and his girl friend. Before I go on, let me just tell you a little about our dynamics in high school.

Me- Fat, socially awkward, bad dresser, obsessed with Tevin Campbell and Tiger Woods (apparently my penchant for loving unobtainable men started early), spent many years with crushes that went unrequited, and picked on mercilessly
Her- Thin, beautiful, popular, hair and nails always professionally done, great dresser with parents that gave her more than enough to afford her expensive wardrobe, and could have any man she wanted

My Friend/ Her Boyfriend- Geeky, socially awkward, somehow he managed to score the hottest woman in high school (his current girlfriend) and he spent years with jocks and financially secure men with good jobs wondering how he managed to land a knockout like her, and thinking little enough of him to ask him such a question to his face

Needless to say, it was quite easy to see why he and I were friends. We were both such nerds, that we cancelled one another out enough to be equals. To this day I honestly have no clue what he and she have in common, but I guess that's just me.

Anyway, one day we all sat around chatting and she had the gall to call herself a nerd. Seriously. I let her rant about what a nerd she claimed to be because she likes to read. But inside, I was seething. For so many years, we nerds only had to cling to each other, lest we be viewed as friendless (hey, having two friends was better than none, so we clung to one another like cheap pantyhose). I wanted so badly to explain to her that being a nerd is so much more than liking to read. Being a true nerd consists of being tormented mercilessly for having shoes that your mother picked out of a bin. Being a nerd consisted of no boy in his right mind wanting to sit next to you in home room, let alone be caught dead talking to you in the cafeteria. Being a nerd is hating when people get to pick their teams in p.e. because it's always down to you and that overly asthmatic kid, yet you still end up getting picked last. Being a nerd is being that kid who needed the bus driver had to tell the other kids to scoot over, because they were being really mean to me- I mean them and not letting them sit down.

How on earth could this beautiful, popular creature dare call herself a nerd? I know what it is. Now that the world is hip to nerds, suddenly those people that made our lives hell want to encroach on our territory. Nerds spent so many years hiding from our oppressors, and now they're not only seeking us out, they're actually claiming to be one of us. Those bastards!! Since Bill Gates went from wedgie champion to gazillionarie, people understand that nerdom isn't as bad as they thought is was (or as bad as they'd hoped to make it).

But still, we nerds have persevered, yet there's something that really grinds our gears about having beautiful people claim to be nerds also. Every time some fabulous woman wants to call herself a nerd I want to say "take it back, you Prada wearing poser!!" Or I'd like to sarcastically tell her that things must have been really hard for her as she balances her yoga classes and her shopping trips at Dolce & Gabana.

What the posers don't get is that being a nerd isn't based on books, being a nerd is based on years of being socially inept. Nerds didn't have the social skills to fit in, which is what made us easy targets. We didn't have a lot of friends, so that whole "safety in numbers" mess didn't apply to us because a) there weren't a lot of us and b) those of us that did exist certainly weren't big enough to stand up to anyone.

For those of you non nerds, here's a little list to go by to let you know whether you're really one of us. If you don't fit at least four of these, I'm going to ask that you immediately stop calling yourself a nerd, and leave the rest of us to heal our emotional wounds.

1) Have you ever been publicly humiliated by someone you had crush on?

2) Was p.e. especially traumatic because no matter where you hid, the ball still managed to find you?

3) Have you ever had to eat somewhere other than the cafeteria to avoid the awkwardness of trying to find a table where people will let you sit down?

4) Have you ever played Pog, Dungeons & Dragons, or World of Warcraft on a regular basis?

5) Have you ever written the love of your life a note professing how much you love them, and somehow that note makes rounds to everyone in your class? (extra points if they xeroxed it)

6) Have you ever go the feeling that your teacher didn't like you for no apparent reason?

7) Were you a member of the Games Club or in the band at school?

8) Have you ever had a conversation with someone and you start talking about books and suddenly stop talking to you?

9) Have you ever attended any kind of Star Wars, Star Trek, sci-fi, or comic book convention?

10) If you are a girl did you never even pretend to want to join cheerleaders because you knew you didn't have a shot in hell, and for guys did you avoid any and all athletics at any cost?

11) Did you avoid the pool like pro athletes avoid paying child support because you were either too fat or two skinny and the thought of undressing in front of people gave you hives?

12) Five or more years after high school, can you still remember the first and last name of your tormentor (Shay Rodgers!) and you often read the newspapers hoping to hear that they've landed in prison?

So there you have it. Now those were only a few nerd tip offs. There are many other horrific nerd stories that we've endured. If any (or all) of those are vaguely familiar, then feel free to call yourself a nerd. But if you know in your cold cruel heart that you don't fit into any of those scenarios, and you were popular, attractive, outgoing, and well-liked, do us real nerds a favor and STOP IT.