Note to the reader: no, no, I am not cheating at my new "2 posts per week" rule! This post has been written for a while, and today I am merely publishing it! That's all! Plus, the previous one was written by my kids, so that doesn't count, right?...
Nerd: One whose IQ exceeds his weight. (Urban Dictionary)
Hi, my name is Julie, and I'm a nerd.
I was that kid.
I learned how to read on my own, before I turned 5.
If nobody had forced me to go outdoors I would have stayed in with my books (and later, with my pen and paper) 24/7.
I was inordinately excited when I finally started school. Then in the evenings or on the weekends, I would play school. Sometimes I would play library. When summer vacation came I was always sad. I fell in love with all my teachers, one after the other. Most of the time they also fell for me.
Yes, I was that kid.
The one who raises her hand to point out a spelling mistake on the black board.
The one who storms to the teacher's desk to demand an explanation when she does not get an A, asking "Where did I lose my points?"
The one who complains, before a test, that she's gonna fail... only to end up with the highest grade.
Yes, that was me... until grade 6.
I knew it had gone a little too far when my classmates nicknamed me "Dictionary", and when a boy from my class wrote, in my elementary school yearbook: "You are very nice despite your superior intelligence". (True story!)
Other classmates were not so kind, and a few "Shut up, Saint-Mleux" were pretty efficient at humbling me.
Since being popular was high up in my priorities (even more than giving the right answer), I decided I would tone it down a little bit. There are limits to being annoying, and I had found my Waterloo.
|Napoleon at the St. Bernard Pass, by Jacques-Louis David|
(I did have one setback when my second baby was born, and they announced an Apgar score of 9. Why only 9, I asked. Where did she lose her point? Turns out she had swallowed a full serving of amniotic fluid on the way out; apparently that will make you slightly less responsive. Plus, I later learned - the nerd in me, again! - that the common transient cyanosis makes a score of 10 rather uncommon. But back to our topic.)
I soon realized that doing better in one domain does not mean you're better at everything. I sucked at arts and sports. I was also very shy. Especially when I had a crush on someone. When people started french kissing in the school yard in grade 6, I looked at them from a distance, bewildered, still stuck in my fairy tales where the prince never sticks his tongue into nobody's mouth!
Still, whenever I brought back a report card with anything under 90% (or 95% in my strong subjects - languages and humanities), my parents would sit with me and invariably ask the same 2 questions:
- How do you explain that grade?
- What are you planning to do to bring it back up for next semester?
So getting good grades remained central to my life... but I became silent about it. Magically, I made wonderful friends during my teenage years, and each and every one of them was smarter than me in at least one way. (One common quality they had that I did not have was common sense and personal discipline - compared to most of them, I was a scatterbrain impulsive wreck!)
Eventually I found my second Waterloo: having always done great without putting in any effort, I did not understand why I suddenly had to study and actually read the material in order to pass Advanced Math, Physics and Chemistry. Ouch, that was painful.
I can't say how grateful I am for the friends who taught me how to study, and that yes, you CAN remain seated for more than half an hour working at the same term paper. Thank you, hard-working friends!
That story goes to show that being nerdy is fine, but that finding some balance is better.
Now you must be wondering. How do you know you're a nerd? Here are some examples:
- The only TV shows you really enjoy are documentaries, with the exception of The Big Bang Theory.
- Your favorite place to go is a museum. You could spend a whole day there and completely forget about the outside world.
- Your idea of the best possible intercourse is intellectual intercourse.
- Your most kinky sexual fantasy consists of a foreplay period of poem reading, followed by some "action" between 2 rows of bookshelves in a deserted library (don't forget to cover your mouth with some duct tape first).
- So, are you a nerd?
- If not, do you know any?
- What do you like about nerdiness, and what gets on your nerves about it?
- No matter what you are and who you are, be proud of it!
More on pride to come shortly... and here's a hint on the topic we will touch upon: