Recently, this conversation actually occurred between my husband and I:
Rick: “I watched a really interesting documentary on oil.”
Me: “You mean oil prices, gasoline, that sort of thing?”
Rick: “No, oil for lubrication. There are a lot of uses for oil in manufacturing.” (NOTE: Rick is an engineer.)
Me: “Oh, shoot, I missed that one. I saw a really interesting one on milk production, though.”
Rick: “I didn’t see that, but I saw a great one on cheese.”
Me: “I saw that one too! Did you think there was so much involved in making cheese?”
At this point, our children began crying because they realized they harbor within them our genes. They’re getting the geek genes not just from one parent, but from both sides. They demanded we stop talking about geeky documentaries and do something remotely cool so they could have some hope that they weren’t destined to be losers like their parents.
I’m proud to be a geek. Recent scientific advances have proved that the geeks shall inherit the earth. That’s the geeks, not the meek. Ipads, Microsoft, the Geek Squad, Facebook, World of Warcraft — all geek stuff. Forget everything you’ve ever heard about geeks, all that stuff about Star Wars conventions and Trekkies. Geeks today are rich. How many billions did Bill Gates make? Steve Jobs? Mark Zuckerburg? Did any of these guys get a date in high school?
Could they get dates now? Oh, yeah.
I keep telling my kids, forget the football players and cheerleaders. Find yourself the biggest geek in school, and attach yourself to him/her like a burr. Hold on tight as they blaze through high school and college and start businesses and get rich. Where will the popular, cute boys and girls be? Sitting in their sad little houses after getting home from stocking shelves at the local grocery, looking at their yearbooks and sighing. When your best years are in high school, it’s all downhill from there. Geeks are like fine wine, they just get better (and richer) with age.
I wasn’t always proud to be a geek. In high school, I tried to hide it, but my grades were entirely too good and my dance card entirely too empty. So I went off to college to study engineering, and instead of going to Mizzou, the cool school, I went to Rolla, the home of every geek from every high school in Missouri. There were five guys for every girl there. And let me tell you, the cheerleaders and prom queens were pretty thin on the ground. Still, you could be an absolute dog there and have a date every Saturday night. I was once asked out by thirteen guys over a two-week period.
I’m not saying this with any feeling of pride. I know I never went to a single high-school dance. Not a prom. Not a homecoming. I had frizzy, 80’s permed hair, I was skinny and flat-chested, I wore glasses as thick as the bottom of a coke bottle. I had one date in high school, and it was a disaster. I suffered a shy attack and found myself struck mute. I mean, my date was a fellow skinny, classes-wearing, science-class-loving geek. We met in advanced chemistry. I was comfortable with him. Turns out, his brother was cute and popular, and his brother’s date was cute and popular, and we double-dated with them. How could I be expected to actually talk in that situation?
You know what they called us Rolla girls? The “Rolla tons of fun.” They said a Rolla 10 was a 4 and a 6-pack. On a dark night.
And I have to admit, I read Star-Trek fan fiction. I had a picture of Luke Skywalker on my bulletin board. It was hard for geeks then. Now we have cable. The Science Channel, Nat Geo, the Sci-Fi channel — I can stay up all night watching great geek programming.
I ended up running screaming away from engineering school right before my senior year, but all of that tech stuff didn’t go to waste. I got my English/journalism degree and went to work editing technical magazines. I got that job because of my technical background, so stop crying about all that wasted college money, Mom. It’s in the past.
But I didn’t leave Rolla empty-handed. I snagged my own handsome geek and stuck to him like a burr, and here we are, 27 years later, still watching cheese documentaries together, still talking about manufacturing methods together, still embarrassing our children together.
Find yourself a geek, boys and girls. You’ll never pine for a football player or cheerleader again.