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Monday, April 25, 2011

The Day I Didn't Go to Nerd Camp

I'm sorry to announce that I don't have a real entry for today. We spent the weekend driving 4 hrs to visit Husband's family for two days, then driving back, in the middle of a storm, in the Ozarks, in the dark, and our GPS tried to murder us (again) by sending us on crazy, non-existent back-roads. Also, my computer died, so I didn't get a chance to write anything while we were there visiting. I'm on Husband's computer now, and a new power adapter has been ordered. Hopefully that will solve the problem (but since the battery died over a month ago, I can't tell if it's the computer or the power adapter that is the current issue).

So here's a quick anecdote from my youth (I apologize in advance for its lack of hilarity).

In 7th grade, we had to do some kind of week-long standardized testing thing. Turns out, the tests thought I was fairly smart. We lived just outside Baltimore at the time, and Johns Hopkins University did some kind of summer program for nerds, and I had met the nerdquirements and received a congratulatory letter of nerdiness and an invitation to attend Nerd Camp. They recruited based on the standardized tests, and the winning nerds were selected to spend a week or so at the University, being nerds (this is only my assumption, since we ended up moving half-way through my 7th grade year, so I didn't get to go to Nerd Camp).

A week or so after receiving my Nerdvitation, I went to see a movie in the theater with some friends. I have no recollection of what the movie was, except that it was boring, and none of us were interested in watching it, so we were goofing off, instead. (In retrospect, I realize now that we were those infuriatingly annoying pre-teens I dislike so much, at the movies, disrupting the show for everyone else. For the other 10 people in the audience that day, you have my heartfelt apologies.)

Someone had peppermint candies, and they handed me one. I dropped it on the floor (still in its wrapper), bent down to get it, and completely forgot that seats in movie theaters fold up when not in use. I went to sit back in my seat and missed it completely, falling onto the sticky, stale popcorn-infested floor. Everyone laughed. (Well, everyone in our group. I imagine the rest of the audience was growing increasingly more frustrated with our disruptions.)

As we were leaving the theater, I was joking around with one of the other girls and talking in a stupid voice (as I am frequently wont to do). Little did I know, a middle-aged couple in front of us could hear me, and had seen my display of intelligence as I fell on the floor of the theater earlier.

The man leaned over to his wife and said in a not-quite-hushed-enough voice, "I feel sorry for the mentally retarded girl." The wife nodded, knowingly.

Take that, Johns Hopkins.

This incident has stuck with me for years. I think it's been good for my sense of self-awareness. It's hard to become too full of oneself when you know in the back of your mind that your public persona can so easily be mistaken as mentally handicapped.

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