Featured in

Featured in: Tiny Buddha, Halifax Media Coop, Fine Fit Day, Simplify the Season, La Presse, Filles, Le Canada-Français

Friday, July 19, 2013

Talk nerdy to me

Flickr


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.


Flickr


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!


Flickr


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).



Flickr



  • 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:






32 comments:

  1. Well I am a Nerd just a different flavor than you are. I fall more into the computer geek, fantasy reading, authority hating field.
    I didn't have great marks in school because I hated to be told what to do. I would make sure I got whatever mark I needed that would mean I wouldn't be hassled. The last thing I wanted was to grab attention by doing too well. I just wanted to be invisible.
    Now I am more of a loud-mouth look at me sort!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, there are many different flavors of nerds! :-)

      I see you have found balance! LOL

      Delete
  2. Interesting insight into how we see ourselves. (Or at least how you see yourself) I can't say I'm nerdy, as I equate nerdiness with intellectual achievement. As a kid I was labeled the misunderstood bad boy / loner from the wrong side of the tracks, that would take on kids twice his size. I'd either win or die trying (ha ha) I have the scars to prove it:) And yes...your sexual fantasies are kinky. Some of my best make out sessions in high school were in the back rows of the library. Because no one I knew would find me there:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your depiction of your best make out sessions! LOL

      You should not underestimate your intellectual achievement; you write pretty well. :-)

      Delete
  3. You make nerds sound lovable! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love this! We ought to demystify the nerd!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yet another reason you are my long-lost French-Canadian sister! I have been a nerd, the teacher's pet, an overachiever, and perfectionist my entire life. As soon as I learned the meaning of valedictorian, I was determined to be one. And I was. And do you know who graduated #2 in my class? My future husband. Yep, he's a nerd too. And for all of those people who picked on the smart kids growing up, well, they can suck it because look who's laughing now?! Having said all that, I have become *slightly* more laid back as an adult and parent, but my perfectionist, type A, competitive tendencies are always bubbling just below the smooth surface.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, sister! :-)

      I have worked very hard at my perfectionism also. Contrary to what people think, being a perfectionist can turn you into an UNDER-achiever, when your fear of doing well enough paralyses you so bad you end up doing nothing at all, or self-sabotaging your own efforts. We could write a book about that (oh no, not another book idea!)

      I've always been attracted by smart/intellectual people, but I wasn't aware of it, because I thought everyone was that way. When I met my husband I was amazed to discover that he, like me, knew all the capital cities and all the flags for all the countries. Who else would waste their time learning that but a total nerd? LOL

      Delete
  6. I think I'm a half nerd! Growing up I was definitely a nerd. Now, I'm far more into mindless reality TV than documentaries!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We all need those non-nerd interests to help us keep balance! :-)

      Delete
  7. I listen to lectures on religion, physics, or social issues while I lift weights. Neandernerd....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! Love this!

      Just yesterday I listened to such talks... while cleaning my fridge! LOL

      Delete
  8. I was a nerd too. I would like to know : Did you get bullied ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, a little bit (some had it much worse).

      The "receiver" is never to blame for being bullied.

      I wish, however, that I had been more confident, so that I could have protected myself. I have built that confidence over the years. What about you? I sincerely hope you are equipped to deal with it; it makes everything so much easier. :-)

      Delete
  9. If all nerds were cute and funny like you, it would be a marvel!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, everyone is cute and funny if you look closely enough. :-)

      Delete
  10. I was never a nerd! However, my best friend in middle school was an extreme nerd. Actually most of the other kids avoided him, but not me.

    We won the year's science fair with a project we did together :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I say: if you're not a nerd, hang out with one! :-)

      Delete
    2. I forgot to add that he graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology and has worked all over the planet.

      Delete
    3. In high school I became friends with another 'linguistic nerd' like me; we loved competing against each other in spelling bees and writing contests. The school always sent 2 people to those, and it was always us. He studied linguistics, but then became a forest ranger! (It's true that he was the antithesis of gregarious)

      Before we parted to go to university, he wrote me a love letter. It was BEAUTIFULLY written.

      Delete
  11. I'm a nerd, too! I was known as the one that screwed up the curve in every class. I always had people clamoring to do group projects with me...because I always did them completely on my own. I embrace it! (and The Big Bang Theory!) --Lisa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa!
      I like that notion that you screwed up the curve! LOL
      In my strong subjects it was not rare that for me to be 20% above the class average. A good thing as I eventually started tutoring other students. :-)

      Delete
  12. Hi Julie! I'm a nerd at all times, even in the gym. I read a lot of books and research. I write several hours per day. And I always wear glasses, and I like how I look in glasses. When I sign emails on Hotmail, I often use the nerd smiley face that wears glasses. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nerds of the world (and of the gym) unite! LOL

      Delete
  13. I've definitely become more nerdy as I've gotten older and I love it! I was super nerdy as a teenager and then drifted away from my nerdy roots but now I am back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe it's easier to embrace who we are as we gain "old age" confidence; I know I'm more comfortable.

      Delete
  14. I definitely fall into the nerd category. Love tech things and I like to read/research. I wish I had had more encouragement to pursue a science as a young girl but it was just assumed that girls did not like that sort of thing. Glad that things have changed now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, hopefully more girls will feel confident to pursue their passion, science or other.

      Delete
  15. I was such a nerd in school. I remember a class in college where they pretty much hated me because the teacher graded on a curve and I always blew it for them. But nerd is cool these days, right? lol.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I can relate to this post so much. When I got "in trouble" one of the stipulations when I was sent to my room was that I was not allowed to read any of my books. And instead of not being allowed to go outside and play that sometimes WAS my punishment :) Ah, and the ever "We don't mind if you get a B, but you need to have tried your hardest and a B was the absolute best that you could do." *Sigh* Life.

    Nerd: One whose IQ exceeds his weight. That's the greatest thing I've heard all day. Sadly my IQ is about 5 or 10 pts lower than my weight so I guess I'm not a nerd :(

    ReplyDelete