Sunday, April 20, 2008

To The Nerds

I have a niece who is 15 and she's in high school and let me tell you after listening to some stories from my brother about her experiences, I'm thinking about binding my daughter's entire body and lying about her age so that we can skip the entire thing and go from Jr. High straight to College.

As a parent, it occurs to me that we want our children to be popular. To be able to hang. It may not be at the surface, but it's there. Of course we want our children to be independent and we want to celebrate their differences, but there it still is in the back of our brains, the desire. We measure ourselves as parents by how are children are received. So there is desire. The desire for busy schedules and busier weekends. And it's an honest desire. Because we've been taught that our kids should be popular. That they should fit in.

And there are the movies. The Weird Science's, the Breakfast Clubs, the Sixteen Candles', the Revenge Of The Nerds', the Never Been Kissed', the Lucas', the Can't Buy Me Loves'. These movies teach us and have taught us that it's okay to not be popular. To be different is the thing. But that's Hollywood and this is the real world and in the real world parents sleep a little better knowing that their kids fit in.

Well, I'm here to tell you that Hollywood got it right. I think about when I first saw Breakfast Club and I listened to Molly Ringwald talk about the pressures of being popular and how she had to act a certain way or face ridicule from her friends. And when I heard that monologue, I remember rolling my eyes a bit because it seemed so foreign to me. Sure my school had its cliques but the lines were pretty blurry. And I just don't think that's the case anymore. My niece attends the same high school I used to back in Lincoln and from what I've heard, the school has changed drastically. It's now a lot more Mean Girls than anything else. I'm not sure how Mean Girls would have played 20 years ago. It may have been received as too nasty. But fast forward a little and suddenly you have a movie that's a perfect window into today's high school society.

And when I think about that and about my children's futures in high school, I want nothing else than for them to be straight up geeks. Right now as I write this, I'm contemplating going out and buying two 20 sided dice, drilling a hole through them, attaching them to a string and putting them around both of my children's necks as some sort of garlic from the A-Listers. They'll thank me later.

Linday Lohen's character Cady in Mean Girls often draws the parallels between high school and the jungle. In hallway warfare it truly is survival of the fittest and I say it's best to go straight nerd and steer clear of the fight all together.


Megan said...

I am one thousand percent with you. That's a good idea about the D20's, but the problem is, what if it gives bad mojo to the "real" dice?

Jeremy Fuksa: Creative Generalist said...

That's so weird that you bring this up. I've noticed over the past couple of months with my new son that I think I've subconsciously been setting him up for nerddom.

From the Apple Computer onesie that I bought him in Cupertino to the types of music I'm exposing him to, it's all nerd all the time, baby.

Some might say, "but he's only three months old!" True, but subconscious efforts lead to subliminal programming, and by the time he's 8 I'll bet he's some sort of fanboy debating the merits of old-school gaming systems or the superiority of new wave over whatever Hannah Montana crap his friends are listening to.

Or, at least, that's what I envision.

Patton Oswalt has a good bit about children being the opposite of their parents, and if that is the case, then yeah, my kid'll be like his imaginary son in the bit... throwing ol' dad's Blade Runner gun up on the roof and then making me do pushups before letting me go get it.