Monday, March 7, 2005


Since it's Sunday and there's nothing on TV, I was watching My Coolest Years: The Geeks on VH1, where D-list celebrities, most of whom you've never heard of unless you watch tons of Best Week Ever and I Love the 80's, reminisce over their high school years. VH1 makes variants on these My Coolest Years shows featuring cliques like jocks and cheerleaders, rich kids, and metalheads. But I think the geeks episode is the only one I can really relate to, what with the twenty-sided dice, the calculator watch, the braces and weird skin conditions and glasses — dear God, the glasses! Entering third grade with thick-ass corrective spectacles pretty much brands you a geek for life.

I, too, in the company of fellow geeks, was getting all nostalgic for the cruel joke that was high school. It's strange, because I never noticed what a bipolar personality VH1 embodies; it's the only network on television where the likes of Jessi Klein, Andrew W.K., and John Tesh get as much screen time as Jennifer Lopez (or "J. Lo," as I've taken to calling her). Seriously, they run a show about high school geeks next to a show where Robin Leach narrates the "fabulous life" of the Olsen twins next to a show about obese celebrity has-beens. Which, in an odd, metaphoric way, made me even more nostalgic for the study in contrasts that was, and probably still is, high school. What I want to say is that it had its moments, but since I spent Friday at my alma mater feeling old and the weekend without any human contact, I can't say that.

I guess it doesn't seem all that bad when other people are talking about it, even though they're describing the same angst that plagued me just about every day of high school and well, well, well into college. It's like a checklist: Didn't know how to dress — check. Constant mortification in gym class — check. Hare-brained scheme to get cute girl to like me that included both (a) the classic geek fallacy of believing if I could just be her friend she'd see what a great big heart I've got and fall instantly in love and (b) making nice with her parents — check. Sitting alone at the once-in-a-blue-moon party, dry as if booze were the ebola virus, of course — check. Going dateless to the prom, then bitching about it to anyone who'd listen whether it be your best friend or the poor chemistry teacher assigned to chaperone the event — check. Video arcades, Dungeons and Dragons, buying your friends Christmas cards from The Nature Store — check. Needing a cop pose to you and your date for her junior prom photo ("Take your hand off her shoulder. What are you, her partner? Put it around her waist!") — check. Well, I'd never done it before...

But on second thought, holy shit was I fluttery actually freaking touching a girl — who wanted me touching her, no less. I guess that's the point in this whole exercise of geek nostalgia, finding those fleeting giddy moments that make waking up in the months-long funk that separates them worthwhile. And with that idea in my head, I'm going to bed. Good night.