Worship me, fools.
Really, there was no hope for me. My path to nerdocity was shaped by older siblings: my late sister who was a junior high school math and science teacher (originally wanted to be an engineer, but in the late 50’s/early 60’s, this wasn’t exactly encouraged) and my brother who is a physicist. At age 6, I played chess with my brother who was a member of the high school chess team (if that doesn’t say “Kick me,” I don’t know what does), and poured over my sister’s college biology textbooks. I waxed poetic on the various species of dinosaurs in my first grade class circa 1960-61.
I read many of my brother’s pulpy sci-fi books. I owned The Hobbit, The Lord of the RIngs (hardcover), and Bored of the RIngs which I consumed multiple times in the late 60s through early 70’s. I could spell my name in Elvish (Sindarin). I subscribed to Analog and later Asimov’s Science Fiction. My brother and I ground a 6 inch mirror and made a reflective telescope. I tried to decipher his college physics books when I was in 6th grade when my biology texts became too easy.
I hung out at the university computer (as in reel to reel storage) labs with my brother whose grad student gig was to babysit the whirling machine in the evening. My next computer experience was with FORTRAN and card readers as an undergrad. That’s right. Card readers. Oh, and I learned how to use CALCOMP (marginally learned, that is) for drafting. All on cards. The first PC I tickled was my grad advisor’s machine. This was a North Star (ZBASIC language) which was hooked up to acquire data from a stopped flow spectrophotometer. The fact that I know what that is and how to use it already vaunts me into the nerd stratosphere.
My social life in high school was truly nerdsome. Dates were scarce. Very scarce. Between my average at best looks, “good grades” and sarcastic demeanor, I wasn’t exactly every high school boy’s dream. College was different. I met others of my own species. Intellectual oneupmanship and who had the best calculator (HP/RPN all the way, baby!) became the stuff of pillowtalk. Not that I was competitive or anything.
And so here I am now on Science Blogs competing in a motherf*ckin’ nerdoff. I think my 15 year old daughter put it succinctly after I was prattling on about some drug’s mechanism of action which segued into gene regulation…
“Mom…you are such a nerd.”
And proud of it!
Note that I beat Kevin by 3 points. Boo-yah!