I once remarked to a friend while we were sitting on her couch,
“You know, nobody from school fits the “nerd” stereotype that you see in the
Silence. A count of one, two three.
“Erin, it’s you,” she said matter-of-factly.
Then we went back to eating popcorn and watching Harry Potter.
I thought about what she said, and I still don’t think she’s right. Unlike the nerds in the movies, I’ve never been slammed against a locker or had my head shoved down a toilet. I do wear glasses (the result of reading in the dark too often as a child), but I usually go for my contacts instead. I don’t think I deserve that kind of label, that badge of honor, because I’ve managed to survive high school without much effort.
Where I do match the idea of a nerd is in my enthusiasm for knowledge. I am a fiend for fun facts, an addict of text analysis, and maybe the only person in the building who gets excited about proofs. Seeing as we have a cockroach problem and the classrooms always smell a little funky, there’s plenty of reason to dislike school. The district could use better funding, or at least spend their money on air conditioning rather than brand new lacrosse fields every year. But I like being there anyway.
I am straight-laced. I don’t like to party and I feel more comfortable discussing the French Revolution than I do making small talk. That’s just how it is, and that’s just how it’ll be. It doesn’t make me quirky or better than anybody else. We’re all dumb teenagers, different variations of the same confused tune.
I imagine at a public school with over 1,600 students, people have talked about me behind my backs. It never comes back to me and I don’t give people reasons to dislike me, so it doesn’t matter. I have friends, not a lot, but enough that I’m never lonely and there’s always someone willing to offer up homework that I forgot was due. I always do the same for them.
Maybe I am a nerd. The definition is loose. I’m grateful to have floated by the social sharks, swimming and blowing bubbles on my way. Will I have a date to prom? Probably not. But I’ve learned that there are many things not worth crying over.