by cheri block
You know, the other day (when I wasn’t slaving over Chapter Two of my thesis), some of my closest friends (all two of them) were talking college football. Out of the corners of my eyes (the ones that glasses fit over), I heard them say the most insulting thing:
“The Nerds lost.”
They were referring to the Stanford football team as Nerds.
Deep in my heart (the one with 2 ventricles and 2 arteries), I experienced psychic pain.
My feelings were hurt.
Nerd is nasty word, especially in this week of Nobel Prizes during which nerds receive money and credit for their academic contributions to humanity.
In honor of all nerds, I am going to reprint one of my favorite essays about a nerdy girl who, when most of her girlfriends were shaving their legs and curling their blond hair in anticipation of the Friday night dance at Centerville Junior High School, was memorizing the Gettysburg Address.
I wrote this in 2009, so if you have been a reader that long, please forgive the repetition (but then again, we know that repetition is one of the ways to learn our multiplication tables).
The Nerdy 8th Grade Girl’s Plan for Popularity
Nerds love to memorize things like the Gettysburg Address, all prime numbers to 7919, eighty vocabulary words a week, and Walt Whitman’s O Captain, My Captain and the nerdy 8th grade girl was no exception.
Learning all 53 of the most commonly used prepositions was, as her father said, chickenfeed.
Out in the hallway by Mr. Mims’ classroom, Mr. Mims popped out the door and asked the nerdy 8th grade girl if she had finished her origami project, folding a lithe perfectly pressed swan for a class mobile.
Absolutely, Mr. Mims. My 100 pastel swans are in this shoebox, ready to turn in to you. Can you imagine what my mobile will look like with 100 swans?
I have also begun a gum wrapper chain that extends from my bed to the family room, so if you know anyone that chews Juicyfruit, Beemans, Blackjack or Clove gum, I need their wrappers. My goal is a 50-yard gum wrapper chain. Ok, Mr. Mims?
Mr. Mims raised his feminine eyebrows and winked, imagining the glorious mobile, and then sashayed back into his classroom, followed in by the nerdy girl.
Just then, Dennis and David Kennerson, the cutest twin guys born in this century, walked past the classroom door on their way to Algebra 1 Honors class. Wavy, but not too wavy, blondish brown hair and big soft blue eyes (the color of the Beeman’s gum wrappers), outlined by long soft lashes ,drew the nerdy girl out into the hallway.
All the swans in her box couldn’t have attracted them to her. The boys were interested in Kathy Delfs, whose body had a shape not like an origami swan.
Hey Dave, are you ready for Mrs. Poier’s quiz on the 53 prepositions? Kathy asked. She shook her blond ponytail from left to right and then put her finger in her mouth.
Naw. That assignment is garbage. When the heck are we ever going to use 53 pronouns in real life? asked Dave and Dennis nodded too. And then, just to be ultra cool, they said the word crap.
Out of Mr. Mims’ door jumped the nerdy 8th grade girl.
Did someone say crap?
Yeah, we did. We are going to flunk this quiz and we don’t care.
If you flunk, you can’t go to the dance on Friday and I hear that Mr. Schnabel is going to allow 5 more slow dances, including Andy Williams’ Moon River, said the nerdy 8th grade girl.
Come over to my house after school and I will teach you a special way to learn the prepositions.
The Kennerson twins and Kathy Delfs, Dede Spellman, and Christine Stephenson all converged at the nerdy girl’s house, her fame from the Mayor Art show just a dusty childhood memory.
OK. To remember long lists, poems, and vocabulary words, I use a method called Memory by Association. It works! I have never had any grade less than an A on any assignment.
Kathy yawned. Dede signed. Christine was skeptical ( I observed the lack of parallelism).
The nerdy 8th grade girl’s mother Joan pulled some chocolate cookies out of the oven.
The Kennerson twins sniffed and eyed the tall glasses of ice cold milk from the Cloverdale Creamery on the table.
Ok Guys, come on over to the table, have some cookies, and I will teach you Memory by Association. It really does work ( I observed the misplaced modifier).
Ok. So the first three prepositions are above, across, and after. Can you think of a sentence that you will remember that includes those prepositions?
Let me help you get started.
At the dance on Friday night, after the music, Dennis came across the floor to ask someone to dance…and then….