I have a confession to make.
I used to be a big-time dork.
The signs started early in my life. At around four or five I paraded around Minneapolis, armed with my metal, Holly Hobby lunchbox complete with a giant Stop Acid Rain sticker. Surely the cool kids would think that was dorky.
My fashion sense and genetic curse did nothing but enhance the dork factor. I was enchanted with wardrobe selections that others seemed to peg as quirky. To be sure, I was wearing all the right brands (Esprit, Guess, Pasta and my beloved Benetton), I just had an uncanny talent for picking all the wrong things (oh, how I remember these red and white checkered pants I loved that others said looked like a Big Boy restaurant tablecloth).
My hair didn't help much. I had the equivalent of a white girl afro. My grandmother used to call my mom and ask her why she was giving me those awful perms. My mom responded "But Mother, that's natural!"
In 8th grade I got a feature in the school paper for being one of the top five book checker-outers. I think back then I used to log three books a day between my time on the Loser Cruiser, study hall, and that time I spent between my sheets with a flashlight. Each book probably averaged 200 pages or so.
Later on, I went on to all the safe havens for dorks (Honors English, A.P. History, the school paper), the places cool kids wouldn't even think twice about checking out. I also volunteered at Safe Rides and Peer Advocates, two spots where the popular kids actually mingled with the do-gooder dorks.
I came to terms with my dorkdom towards the end of high school. My journey to college 900 miles from home gave me the opportunity to reinvent myself a bit. After years of wearing all the wrong clothes and having the worst hair, I figured out classy was better than outrageously funky. I also discovered a great highlight and cut can do wonders for even the most rebellious of hairstyles.
Still, you can take the girl out of the dork, but you can't take the dork out of the girl.
I still like to read the dictionary to learn new words and I get excited about stuff on the Discovery Channel (not that kind of stuff on the Discovery Channel).
This weekend I was at a great Derby Party. The festivities were winding down and most people had cleared out and I found myself sitting with some good friends. There we were, two engineers, an interior designer, a flight attendant and a journalist. I don't remember how the conversation came to the point, but I do recall throwing in how I was a dork back in the day.
My Honorary Big Sis' husband (one of the engineers) asked everyone there whether they were cool or dorky. Every person proudly proclaimed they were dorks way back when.
It's funny, because we're all doing pretty well in our chosen professions. We're not waiting tables or acting as the high school security guard, like some of the cool kids from my high school. It kind of reminds me of a chant I heard at a high school football game:
"That's alright. That's okay. You will work for us someday."
So I guess these days it's all the rage to be a dork.