Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Quintessential Guide to Geekdom

I could have written a book by this title in junior high. Now, I know many of you are thinking "We all could have written this." But, trust me, I could have been The Expert on all things nerdy during those painful years I spent transitioning from child to awkward adolescent. Add to the mixture that I used words like "serene" on a regular basis (I was always a book geek) and that my parents were poor/I was the youngest (i.e. hand-me-down central) and you start to get the idea.

A Testament in Ten: The Pain that is Junior High School

1. In seventh grade, still believing that proper hygiene was for sissies, I managed to go nine (yes, 9!) straight days without showering/bathing during Christmas vacation. How'd I manage this without my mother/older sisters putting a stop to "my run"? Who knows. My strongest memory of this time is the sensation of incredibly oily hair through my fingers. (No worries, by 8th grade I'd discovered the joys of a daily cleaning ritual).

2. I wore a flannel shirt with cut off, fringed arms and thought it was "soooo cute". (Hello: Joe Dirt called. He wants his shirt back).

3. My coke-bottle-thick glasses had only one inspiration: Sally Jesse Raphael.

4. During a severe bout with a nasty case of bronchitis during 7th grade, I shot off a deafening fart in Mr. Shields' Utah Studies class--I will never forget an eruption of laughter, a certain Chad G. sliding the entirety of his desk aside and shouting "WHOA!," followed by a sick and pleading "swallow me whole" vibe sent to the industrial carpet beneath my feet.

5. My athletic prowess (or the lack thereof) can be manifest in the following examples. I tried out for (on multiple occassions): volleyball, basketball, cheerleading, softball. I made...none of them. Yet I returned, year after year. I did, however, spend two weeks on the track team (no try-out necessary). I also made choir.

6. In 8th grade, my gym clothes, after a weekend of washing and a trip through the family may-or-may-not-work-dryer, returned to school on Monday with a few singed holes. Because my parents couldn't afford a new uniform, I wore the burned version for the remainder of the school year.

7. I wore hand-me-down sports bras all through junior high because regular bras "itched." Nevermind that my abnormally large C-cup should have been strapped down long before that. I didn't seem to notice much difference. (Now that I think of it, perhaps THIS contributed to me never making the team--the coaches were probably too distracted by the girls swinging).

8. I lied. Frequently. About really stupid things. I once said that I was going on vacation to Florida over Spring Break (Not entirely my fault: my mother was going to a conference and said I might be able to go too...which never panned out). I spent the entire long weekend not daring to go anywhere lest anyone saw me when I was supposedly in Utah. Furthermore, March in Utah is nothing like March in Florida. I laid out in the early spring sun to make my lie seem "authentic" and received absolutely no color.

9. In 8th grade, as a result of severe self-consciousness and adolescent hormones, my arm pits began to sweat. Horribly. And when I say "pit rings" I really mean soaking spots that ran down to my elbow. This persisted through high school and into my first year in college until discovering a certain clinical strength prescription that might potentially cause me cancer later on in life. This stuff turned my night shirts bleachy colors in the pits and eventually ATE THROUGH the material. But my pits are always silky dry.

10. I was a chubby kid. The majority of this chubbiness manifested itself in my boobs, thighs and butt. (Black boys typically crushed on me). Because of this development beyond the years of my flatboard counterparts, I became the victim of merciless teasing (Nick C. and the "Shamu" nickname were coined during junior high). This teasing included "I dare ya" butt-slappings from the popular boys my age while walking down certain halls of the school. Was this sexual harrassment? Absolutely. Did I know this at 13. Of course not.

Carol Burnett once said, "Adolescence is just one big walking pimple." I have to agree with her. For four years of my life simply waking up each day and facing what the world had to offer hurt (except during Summer Vacation). I hate to think that in my classroom there are kids in the thick of it every single day.

The one good thing about adolescence is that it does eventually end. And for this I am eternally grateful.


LovingTheChaos said...


Oh this was GOOD!! You made made a grown-up now! HOORAY!

Lanie Painie said...

ouch. How did you get through??

Mrs. Bennett said...

Ahh, nerdom. We could've definitely been friends in Jr. High. Except maybe during your 9 day run.

Alice said...

Oh kid that kind of makes me sad. I am so glad you made it.

Besides, farting in Mr. Shield's class is quite funny to think about now, and not showering for 9days? Only a seventh grader.

Thank heavens for our pit fix, and that you now preach a good bra is essential! :)

Heidi said...

You made me laugh so hard I was crying. I'm glad that you made it through. I guess I should be glad that most of us make it through. There is life after Jr. high.

marcia said...

that was one of the most honest saddest/optimistic portrayal's of everyday life for most preteens thanks that was great

Jen said...

1. I would have laughed if my adolescent scars hadn't been tingling while reading. I totally did the no shower during Christmas break trick once in Junior High before I gained a testimony of personal hygiene. (I can't remember how long I lasted though, you might have beat me.)

2. And I wore a blue flannel shirt to jr. high every day until my mom forbade me, and then I kept it in my locker and just put it on when I got to school. I was like an adolescent hobo, only I had food and a house to live in.

3. My hubby likes to call them "sweat tacos."

Willis Family said...

Brooke I love you - you are hilarious! This was great. What are you up to this summer?

Heidi said...

I'm sorry I haven't commented earlier, I have been to wrapped up in the adolescent flashback pain that this post caused in me.

And why did you not shower over Christmas break? I'm pretty sure I did that DURING SCHOOL.

Heidi said...

Now I'm more embarrassed that I put "to" instead of "too". As opposed to being embarrassed that I didn't need a bra until I was in like eleventh grade and just wore one for show and sometimes I'd forget it, and wasn't that fun in gym class?

Adele said...

Well!! I'll be!! I guess I didn't find some of this funny. You know how sensitive I am about using the "poor" word.

Anyway, you ought to have tremendous ability and empathy for your students after all that!!

It was nice to have you declare that you are not perfect after all.

Mother, the "poor"

Anonymous said...

This posting was a laugh out loud, go down memory lane, and I am so sorry for you read; you poor, dear little sis. Why on earth do we need to go through such humiliating experiences in our adolescents.

Mine was in Mr. Kellet's class and it was 9th grade. It had something to do with that time of the month. Ladies I think you will empathize with me on this. If it wasn't for my dear friend, I might not have gotten out of class alive. I think I might have died there on the spot.

Hopefully we learn something from these awful times. Dear little sis. I love your expressive abilities. Keep us laughing.

Love Ya!!

Kimmy said...

I love how you just put it out there and tell it like it is. I'll have to blog about that, too. You were not alone in your geekdom, although I was too far away for us to be friends then. I guess it's good that we can laugh about it now.