Standing on the Cool Kid mountaintop or in the ditch of the Nerd–I rolled downhill easily into the “Ditch of the Nerd.”
So, it wasn’t surprising that at eleven, after Mom explained that I shouldn’t hold hands with my girlfriends, that it didn’t look good for girls of my age to hold hands with one another, and after a group of popular girls when they learned about my Lebanese heritage began to scream, Susi’s a lesbian! Susi’s a lesbian! that I simply jumped into to the nerd ditch and spelled out each word for them, explaining differences and enunciating each word s-l-o-w-l-y so they might understand better. Doing so helped buffer the effect of what could have been a 5th grade catastrophe but after 50-some years and still remembering each nuance of that scene to this day obviously it didn’t help buffer the embarrassment I felt.
It may have been at that point, at eleven, that the cloak of the nerd was forever placed around my scrawny shoulders. Like Superman’s cape but clunkier and not in the coolest color or fashion of the day–it wore a little too tight, too short and looked like last year’s cloak. Plus my shoes didn’t go with it.
Roll forward to present day… having married Bob the Jock, that same cloak still flutters about my shoulders. Of course it’s about five sizes smaller and the pattern and colors have miraculously come back into style, but still…
He crunches his nose and squints at the cloak. I never realize I’m wearing it until someone else notices. If I wore it on purpose, I could defend it proudly but it tightens around my neck when I make remarks that, to me, are nothing special but to others sound funny.
Like the other day when my dear friend Carol, who anyone can tell was one of the cool, popular kids in school, said to me, “My silly, silly little girlfriend.” I remember once one of Carol’s friends said to me, “If you would just keep your mouth shut [blah][blah][blah]…” Mortified, I’ll tell ya. Mortified. Because to someone who cannot gauge her own remarks, a barb like that can undo you.
Yet, it comes as some odd consolation that part of this nerdy way has to do with a titch of OCD mixed in with a wad of ADD. The OCD makes me need to do (or say) things and the ADD addles me as to what I’m supposed to do or say.
Socially I’m a moron. I’m okay one-on-one… sort of but at functions where there are more than two persons (or one more persons other than me and Bob), I’ll be fine. If I were allowed to just sit there and eat, I’ll be fine. If I didn’t have to speak with anyone else, I’ll be fine. If people would just refrain from turning their heads in my direction and involving me in a conversation and then asking me something…
You get it.
But, etiquette rules. Etiquette requires other people to be involved, lest why would we need etiquette at all!?
I have no answers here. I woke this morning, worrying, that’s all. About nerdy-ism? Sure. About etiquette? Okay. Weird though because after dreaming about Old Mr. Vogi, you’d think I’d want to write about something like property rights and irrigation ditches, not the Ditch of the Nerd (although I can see a slight correlation).
Mr. Vogi, you ask? Well, in my dreams he keeps pulling up our irrigation damper and upsetting Bob and Bill. Bill is Bob’s friend–Bob really needs a friend in my dreams. And, when Robert (our dog) jumped into the ditch and got his little furry white feet all wet and muddy, this I took to mean that Robert’s a nerd too.
- ZERO CHARISMA Movie Review: The Best Nerd Movie Ever (badassdigest.com)
- A Fashionable Nerd (blackgirlnerdy.blogspot.com)
- Okay, am I a nerd? (sdsouthard.com)