Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves. -Henry Miller
Sometimes, well, often, my inner nerd surfaces from the onion skin layer of my public persona. I have always been a dork. I was a dork way before it was cool to say you were one. I see all these awesome internet mamas and writers telling the world that no, really, they're just one big nerd. Uh huh. Maybe they were, or are, but trust me, I made Sarah Jessica Parker in Square Pegs look like Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas.
I've been wearing glasses most of my life, and didn't start wearing contacts until mid-high school, and so I was not only unfortunate looking (I didn't perfect the smoke and mirrors/self-tanner/$200 worth of facial products until much later in life), but I wore these hideous large glasses that always had a glitter heart sticker affixed to the lower corner of each lens. My skin was bad, albeit not terrible, but the art of applying Cover Girl to my advantage was beyond me, so I was usually a greasy beacon (no, not bacon) with shimmery pale pink lipstick. Most. Unfortunate. My best friend, Julie, and I would spend our summers mapping out our goals for the next school year, competing against each other for the best grades, each shooting for straight As. Julie always beat me, but one semester I scored six As and one B. We took every AP class, and stayed late after school to edit the school newspaper, or rehearse a play, or prepare for some other event that was not prom-related. One of my proudest moments was at journalism camp, the other getting an A in Genetics and Embryology, easily the toughest science class offered.
It's been eighteen years since I left high school, but yesterday I was taken right back. I was in line at our local drive-through coffee kiosk, a place known for the nubile young college girls that work there. You know the type. Super tiny tank tops that wouldn't fit my twelve year-old, painted on groin jeans, and enough cleavage to make my baby think about cheating on me. They do an amazing amount of business.
As I waited my turn, I saw in the window of the kiosk a trivia question written on the dry erase board. Which scientist first proposed that the earth rotated around the sun? I made a mental note to answer the question when my turn came. Of course, motherhood has transformed my mind into a sieve, and while I ordered my iced coffee, I forgot about the trivia question. That is, until I overheard the man on the other side of the kiosk attempt to answer the question. He was clearly more interested in engaging Kiosk Girl, and as my girl handed me my coffee I heard, "Uh, it was Galileo, right?" At this point, I had taken a sip of my coffee, and that is when my inner nerd decided enough was enough and started answering for me before my coffee had been swallowed.
"It was Copernicus!" I barked, iced coffee dribbling down my chin. Kiosk Girl only nodded at me, I suspect because her diaphragm has petered out due to all those tight clothes.
"Do I get a prize?" I said, way too excitedly. Again, another cool nod.
"Ooh! Can I get double prizes if I tell you the name of the theory behind the question?" Blank look. "You know, heliocentrism!"
"Um, you get a quarter off your drink."
I didn't care that I was Napoleon Dynamite's mother. I was thrilled to have out-guessed some moron that didn't know Galileo from Copernicus. And it felt good.
I think I'm going to spend more time not worrying about what other people think. It's a lot of damn work, and frankly, it's one of those things you can never win. Being cool is so overrated. My freak flag? Flying high and proud. Snort. Galileo. Idiot.
Don't forget to check out my review blog this week. There's still a $50 CVS gift card up for grabs over at Parent Bloggers, and today's review covers the schnoz.