March 22, 2013 by swingstatevoter
Growing up as a nerd in the 1980’s was a lot tougher than it is for kids today. Now it seems like being nerdy is trendy, with shows like “King of the Nerds”, “Big Bang Theory”, and “New Girl” showing how quirky nerds can be sexy. If I could have traded in my oversized pink rimmed glasses when I was 8 years
old for the knowledge that I would one day be able to let my nerd flag fly, I would have gladly stumbled around blindly for a bit.
Though I must say, brains can cause problems. I am living proof that there is a difference between having “book smarts” and “street smarts”. I really don’t like to say things that can come across as pompous, but in order to emphasize just how incredibly stupid I can be sometimes, I feel like I have to at least give some contrast as proof that I’m not just dumb 24/7. Dear lord, let’s hope I’m not just deluding myself…
I was always a good student, and at one time or another I remember some of my elementary school teachers predicting I’d be valedictorian one day. Spelling bees were my wheelhouse, and I rocked that “Around the World” math buster game we played way back when. Intrigued by Star Trek, spending my summers indoors reading books, isolated and unpopular (until probably my junior year of high school), there’s no question my brain power exceeded my fashion sense.
Due to a depression-triggered severe lack of motivation and a slight drinking problem in 1996, my high school GPA dipped from “Hey you’re a rockstar” to “Hey…are you conscious???” Perhaps I was spending too much time at Denny’s with my friend Angie, listening to RuPaul and sashaying with shante (in a manner that looked more like a seizure than an actual dance). Maybe that time I showed up to choir practice drunk on champagne that I’d hid in the ceiling tiles of the choir library was not exactly the best judgment…and I’m lucky I didn’t get caught, or get a mark on that “permanent record” educators are always threatening kids with.
I’m sure I should have spent less time skipping study hall to climb on the catwalk and rafters above the auditorium – as head of the light crew, I really abused my privileges and blamed my skipping class on the “need to adjust lights above the stage because I just can’t quite get them right.”
Alas, Valedictorian I was not. But despite the minor teenage angst-ridden setback, I still graduated in the top 10% of my über-large class.
(By the way, being head of the light crew totally labels me as a geek in and of itself. Geek power!)
Truthfully, I’m far too right-brained to be completely studious; science and math are very intriguing to me, but I have limitations in what I can fully comprehend. I am, however, like a sponge when it comes to artsy-fartsy creative things, and I have a knack for research that would make stalkers and CIA agents fear my ability to pluck detail from the nooks and crannies of the universe.
Don’t worry, I only use my powers for good…at least today 😉
Something in my brain allows me to pick up foreign languages and accents very well. One of my German professors in college told me my accent was so genuine I could pass for a native German any day of the week if I traveled overseas (trust me, that will be a good way to disappear if the U.S. government decides to come after me for that time I dressed up like Richard Nixon in a speedo and tried to reenact the Watergate break-in).
My emotional radar is highly sensitive, so I like to observe people’s mannerisms in order to find patterns for what I consider to be their “normal” behavior.This allows me to pick up on tension, sadness, and anger long before a person will even verbalize it. Sometimes I like to freak people out by telling them I know something is wrong as soon as I walk into a room.
Alright, enough of that…Hopefully I have provided evidence that I am not a total dummy. But I swear, there are so many things I do on a daily or weekly basis that, if plucked from my life’s timeline and submitted ceteris peribus as evidence to determine my intelligence quotient, I probably would be held under suspicion of public intoxication. My parents would
wonder if they had been raising an alien child (obviously with some superhuman ability to conform its face to a near-exact replica of my mother’s in order to avoid suspicion). Perfect strangers would say, “Wow, no one could be *that* stupid!” Yet those who know me well would reply with a hearty laugh, and a “Oh, hell yeah, she can be that stupid.”
First off, we have the previously blogged mac ‘n’ cheese incident here. I still swear I don’t remember it happening, but it’s believable. The worst of my difficulties is the sheer notion that the obvious sometimes isn’t that obvious to me. I’m the girl in the horror movies you’re screaming at to not go out in the woods without a flashlight or a weapon, because everyone but her knows she’s going to get pwned by some mass murderer.
One night in college I got a little too tipsy, and publicly declared my dissatisfaction that the local Kroger must have closed for the night because their sign was not lit. Forget the fact that right next to K-R-O-G-E-R was the “Open 24 Hours” sign…damn it, Kroger was closed and I was pissed about it!
Then there was the time my family and I were playing an 80’s music trivia game. The questions ranged from unbelievably easy (name one of the Beatles) to impossible (What was Elvis’s guitarist’s second cousin’s cat named?). It all came down to the final question, and I was about to knock the winning title out of my brother’s hands…and it happened to be the easiest question in the history of all time. We watched a 15-second clip of a music video for The Romantics’ “What I Like About You”, which is nothing more than watching the lead singer Jimmy Marinos bang on his drums in a semi-epileptic fashion. The entire room groaned because they knew how familiar it was to me – when I was little, I used to make fun of the video and imitate the drummer all the time.
The winning question? “What instrument is the lead singer playing?” To state this was obvious is like saying sugar is sweet, dogs bark, and farts smell. But my mind jumped immediately to the notion that lead singers usually play guitar. Contrary to all logic, I shouted out “GUITAR!! I WIN!!!”
My entire family thought I was just being a smartass at first…until they realized I was dead serious and had just completely tripped right before the finish line at the Olympics.
Captain Obvious was very disappointed when I sunk the ship that day.
My crowning achievement in ditziness, however, was when I decided to take a very detailed personality test. I breezed through the Yes/No questionnaire for the first two pages; Yes I am opinionated, No I don’t like public speaking, No I don’t find it easy to give someone bad news, Yes I have trouble sleeping sometimes. Then I came to the question “Are you indecisive?” No joke, this is how the next 30 seconds played out in my head:
*stare at the question*
Am I indecisive? Hmmm….
*look out the window*
Sometimes I am….
*look down at the question again*
Sometimes I’m not….I’m not sure how to answer that.
*look out the window again*
Yes or No, Yes or No….Maybe I’ll just skip that question and I’ll come back to it.
*move on to the next question*
Wait for it….wait for it….
Damn it!! Yes, I AM INDECISIVE.
I think some people are blessed to have an incredible brain and street smarts to match. These people are the ones who go far in life. They achieve everything they possibly set out to do, because they know how to maneuver the obstacle course of life. Me? I’m the one who always falls for the fake “Shortcut This Way” signs sprinkled along the trail.