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To Jesta, with care.
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posted June 19, 2002 16:58
Dear Sweet Jesta,
I start a new thread here, because the one that began with your question touched my heart and pinched a memory, then went OT. I wanted to make sure you saw my reply.
I think the Annoyed Cockroach speaks great wisdom. Geek truly is a state of mind. And once you reach a state of total geek enlightenment, you will posses the ability to identify other geeks who have no outward appearance of geektosicity. And with an odd comfort akin to deja shoe (the reassuring feeling you have worn a particular pair of shoes many times before because you have) you may achieve the ability to relax in absolute comfort in front of a near total stranger who you just know is a geek and sigh without a single reservation, "Mmmm, I sure miss Scully and Mulder" Or something like that.
Me, I'm a closet geek now. The kind of fellow to whom "clubbing" once meant staying after school to play chess with other geeks. I flew model rockets and once dreamt of earning a Master's degree in Science.
I had a problem similar but opposite of yours. I was skinny and geeky in every way and dreamed of going out for the track team. It took until my senior year in High School before I had enough courage to go out for the team, and when I did all my geek friends thought I was a traitor. I hoped that since it was Spring of my Senior year nobody would notice, but they did. And you know what? Golly, I wish I could say the coach was skeptical of a skinny geek coming out for the team the last semester of high school and the jocks all made fun of me, and gave me a swirly because I was a geek and then I quit the team and that's life and that's real.
But I can't.
See all that stuff did happen, except I didn't quit the team. Instead I anchored the relay team at the big all-city meet. And that was special -- very special.
Just like a Disney movie, the score of the meet was close between us and the "Team that wore black" (truly, and the City Championship came down to this last relay -- my relay, the one the coach chose for me to anchor. The race was close and when my teammate Chucky and the guy from the "Team that wore black" came around that last turn they were even, stride for stride, and I was so very nervous, because like a lot of geeks and a lot of normal people this is something you only dream about so you can impress the cute person in your life that you are too shy to talk to, only this was REAL, and it was not a movie and the script wouldn't be finished for another 9 or 10 seconds, and me and the guy from the "Team that wore black" were writing it!
I remember Chucky handed me the baton and the last thing I heard for 9 or 10 seconds was Chucky yelling, "Go Colonel Panic! Go!" And then everything in my head got really quiet. I could see people yelling, but I could not hear them. And I could see the rythmic flash of the silver baton carried by the guy from the "Team that wore black" and it scared me that I was the skinny geek and everybody was yelling at me and I could not hear them. And I ran, ran like in a nighmare in slow motion. And I was scared because I seemed so slow, and that flash from the silver baton would not go away. The closer I got to the finish line, the more excited all the people in the stands got, but I still could not hear them, and I still could not lose that silver flash in the corner of my eye. And as I came to the finish line, I saw people freeze and put their hands on their cheeks and I saw that flash of silver one more time and I lunged. And you know what? The sound came back.
And they told me we won. We won the big city meet. Skinny geek and all. We were the Champions and they -- the "Team that wore black" were the losers of the world. Just like in a Disney movie, and that song by Queen. Except that song was not written yet, so we, the team, ran around the track and sang, "Isn't it nice you did something nice for your tummy, tell it thanks a lot for all it's done for you? Let Elias Brothers feed your hungry mouth. They're all over Michigan, up North and to the South. Elias Brothers is the Home of the Big Boy and a lot of other very great stuff." I can't tell you why we sang that song, except for the fact that Queen was not even a band at that time. So without a "Champions" song to sing, we must have taken the first jingle we heard and made it ours.
At the end of the year, at the awards ceremony when the Coach handed me the Letter Sweater I'd never wear to impress the cute girl I was too shy to talk to because the ceremony was the last day of school, Coach talked about how skeptical he was, and how I was the butt-end of plenty of mean practical jokes, but I never quit, and got stronger and faster and became a winner and we would not have won the city meet without me. I remember that clear as bottled water, and how the jocks cheered the loudest, and my geek friends who thought I was a traitor came to the banquet and cheered because I showed them that geeks can be jocks and still play chess.
Most of all I remember how an entire ocean came out of my eyes right then in front of eveybody, and the more everybody cheered, the bigger the ocean got, starting with the Gulf of Tonkin and becoming the entire Pacifc Ocean. And now I think it started up again.
Listen to your inner geek. Follow your heart. Maybe when you are a Senior at the big High School Quiz Bowl and the score is tied and it's down to the last question and it's up to you to answer, "Where is the exact geographical location of the far-flung Isles of Langerhans?" You, Jock-Girl-Jesta, you will be able to answer, "Hey! My pancreas, and if you're not a full-blown, insulin-dependant diabetic, in your pancreas, too!"
Take care, little geek.
My 30th High School reunion is coming up in a couple of weeks. I hear that cute girl might be there.
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