Revenge of the nerds

Since joining the blogosphere in 2008, I’ve made no secret of my awkward childhood days, which included my 11-year-old self carrying around and having one-way conversations with wrinkled magazine clippings of Frankie Muniz, covering my bedroom walls with celebrity collages, and scrawling my signature animal “Wet Porky” onto homework assignments.

From left: Nikita, me, Frankie Muniz on my lap, Lauren, and Crystal.
Circa 2000!

I had an interesting junior high experience in northern California, and one of my memories was awful enough to make the cut for Gawker’s “Most Terrible Back to School Tales” contest, which began yesterday. Though my story wasn’t the winner, I received honorable mention among several others for sharing equally traumatic stories. I was happy to see my name on the list of runner-ups, so here’s the dreadful memory that still haunts my dreams:

“In 8th grade P.E., I paired up with a 160-pound girl named Danielle for scooter hockey. The teacher ordered his students to partner with people in our weight group, but because I was the uncoordinated, freckled, unpopular 95-pound class ginger, no one besides Danielle would work with me, so we stuck together. For the game, Danielle tied a rope around her waist and dragged me through the gym on my scooter. Without warning, she sprinted full speed inside the giant auditorium, sending me flying face-first into the wall. The class erupted with uncontrollable laughter as I hit the wall, the scooter whacking me in the head seconds later.”

That’s nowhere near the most humiliating thing that ever happened to me back then, but it’s one of the funniest. A not-so-humorous moment was when shorty Timmy shot staples into my ear, “accidentally” stumbled into me, and placed a “Kick me hard” sign on my back. That’s more of a downer than an example of character building, so I’m glad Gawker asked for goofy embarrassing recollections. It’d be easy to just type away about all the pointing and laughing, but where’s the humor in that?

Oddly enough, my mortifying decade-old story made my day this afternoon. The rainstorms and changing of seasons have taken a toll on my sanity and I haven’t been in good spirits. Though well rested, I’ve been a bit morose about winter’s approach, so seeing my name on Gawker’s post boosted my morale. Awkward situations can be funny later on down the road and give others a good laugh, but not for the same reason that all the bullies laughed at you. As adults, it’s easy to sit back and giggle at these kind of stories because we’ve all been there.

But, if you were never flung into the wall by a heavyset, equally disliked classmate in junior high, consider yourself lucky. I could have done without that incident, but finally feel good about it. In the words of Alexandra Robbins, “The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth.”


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