Why be normal when you can be gay?
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When did I become a nerd? Don't think the word had its present place on the tip of folks' tongues. Somewhere I went from being gregarious to quiet to feeling completely outside every social norm.
Nerd may not have been the label that fit me. Oblivious to sexuality I didn't stutter around girls (though one very popular one made a failed attempt to humiliate me). As far as I know I wasn't keeping a close eye on the bulges on guys' crotches.
I wasn't one of those nervous guys from the nerd movies of today but a hardcore misanthrope. One of the few things that make me blink twice when I look back at this time in my life is the depth and invincibility of my ego. Having outgrown it I'm grateful to have been that way. My hard shell of self-respect kept me from being as bruised as the rest of me was by life with my father. (NB: no self-pity here: I knew much worse and turned out tolerably well.)
This evolved in junior high. I was mostly invisible then. By high school I became an almost reverse celebrity. In the imaginary California of the nerd movies being smart is always shown as laughable. Can't say I ever saw a sign of that in public school.
Perhaps my teachers helped. More than one publicly treated me as a person of rare ability (yeah, I know how vainglorious that sounds*). One was my accomplice. He hated his students (you knew those guys were there didn't you?). An astronomer who found myself forced to teach high school for a couple of years, he enlisted my aid to screw with them. He'd devote time in his classes to come give a lecture explaining to his students that I'd come from the planet Venus to evaluate the human race. And once during a mid-term he had me hide in a storage closet to make weird noises making it harder for them to pass the test.
Clearly I was the school's weirdest student; there wasn't a runner up. But aside from my biology teacher who cultivated the cheerleaders and football players my teachers treated me with visible esteem.
I've always assumed that was why jocks whose name I didn't know always greeted me like a friend when we'd pass in the hall. Not that I noted it back then. A little puzzled I took it for granted until maturing and replaying my life.
When I discovered that I wanted to get in other guys' pants my feelings about the people around me ranged from supercilious detachment to outright disgust. I didn't want to be like those people (or, perhaps, like you - but I'm a much nicer man than I was a boy).
Finding myself a fag felt just right. For me it was an affirmation. As I've written earlier I went and told all the people who'd despise me for it. Not for the sake of being despised. That did occur to me anymore than I would've cared. Years ago I was a boy in a small southern city who found himself happy to be a homo.
You there, young Mr. Straightacting! You see that weird kid over in the corner all by himself, his face stuck in a book or a comic? You two get back together in a few years and compare notes.
* Like many bright kids I'd go on to accomplish nothing noteworthy.
(About the photo: I hate to shave and cheap webcams are a pain aren't they?)