March 4th, 2003

A Pocket Full of Murder

(no subject)

Nerdiness seems to be a good blogging topic. I've been wanting to respond to this, from the comments on my last post, for nearly a week:

I can't see how people could POSSIBLY think YOU were a nerd... You've always struck me as a person who would have been phenomenally popular in high school.

Oh, you have no idea the extent of my nerdiness. In grade seven I was so weird that none of the other nerds in my weekly "gifted" class (and what a joke that was -- we never did anything except solve a few word and logic puzzles and play "Space Invaders" on the Commodore PET) wanted to hang out with me. In regular class, where we all sat in alphabetical order, the girl behind me continually pulled my hair, whispered insults, and generally made my life miserable. At recess in the schoolyard, I was more than once surrounded by a circle of ten or twelve girls who took turns shoving me around until I fell and scraped my hands and knees bloody on the gravel. In grade eight, when I auditioned for the lead role in the class drama production and won, all the other kids dropped out of the play rather than be seen on stage with me. (No, I am not exaggerating. I wish I were.)

In retrospect I'm glad that I was not popular (much less "phenomenally" so), because being an outcast spared me a lot of hassle with peer pressure. By the time I reached high school, all the bullying I'd experienced had convinced me that the popular kids were cruel, ignorant, and self-absorbed -- so why would I even want to be part of their crowd? At that point, telling me "all the popular kids" were doing something became the surest way to get me not to do it. In the end I learned to wear my eccentricities with confidence, and really enjoy marching to a different drummer -- in fact, I still do.

Ultimately, I have to say that (by the Lord's grace) being picked on and ostracized actually did a lot of good things for my character -- although I wouldn't wish those experiences on anyone else, especially not my own child. Still, it may be inevitable. Nicholas isn't even three yet and already he's showing a passion for long words. The other day he was trying to explain to me (presumably echoing his father, the agricultural biologist), that the plant in our living room was taking in light and "photothisisissing" it. I just about swallowed my teeth.