(Original post date: Wednesday, December 26, 2007)
I've already dealt with the following examples of my inherent dorkdom:
- I love online Scrabble. I'm familiar with a wide range of Scrabble specific terminology and text lingo, have memorized two different sets of eligible 2 letter words (for the American and British official Scrabble dictionaries), and have gotten into the occasional chat spat with other Scrabble players. There are actually people who will say nasty things to you about how you're playing or just in general... in a Scrabble site! Are these people afraid to get out there into a real chat room and call people names? Doesn't their choice of forums make them even more wimpy? Ooooh, you're so tough, picking on the Scrabble weenies. Puh-lease.
- I look things up in the dictionary all the time. I read constantly, and when I get to a word I don't know and can't figure out from context, I look it up and then am all happy that I know what it means. Honestly, we have dictionaries all over the house because you never know when some stupid radio show host will pronounce something in a way you've never heard before, prompting you to verify whether or not the host is even more of a clod than you'd previously believed. These missions generally lead to entire discussions about how weird it is that negotiate, negotiated, and most other conjugations of the word are pronounced w/a "sh" sound (ne-go-she-ate), while negotiation can be pronounced w/an "s" sound (ne-go-see-ay-shun). That is weird though, right? Do you think Sean Hannity or whichever moron it was actually looked it up and decided to use the alternate pronunciation just to be cool? My husband and I have friends who do the same thing... look things up, I mean, not pronounce things oddly. In fact, we've had whole conversations about words that one person uses and the other one looks up, only to find that while it is there, its usage is arcane or archaic. And then, if one of us finds the word in use in current print, we'll call or save clippings for later ball-busting. True dorkdom, I know.
- One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday night is to drive up to an hour to go to Wegmans (yes, the supermarket) with a friend of mine, spend an hour or two shopping for stuff we can't get at our local supermarket (Kosher deli, decent bread, organic ginger candy, etc.), bring the stuff to the car (placing perishables in a cooler brought along for that express purpose) and head back inside to find some really yummy take out for dinner. After sitting in the "supposed to look like you're outside" dining area eating and chatting for another hour or so, we're ready to call it a night. It's awesome, we talk about all sorts of things w/o kids interrupting every 10 minutes, and no one's hung over the next morning. I am, however, aware that hanging out in a supermarket, even Wegmans, is NOT cool.
There are many more examples (my lack of coordination, for one, and my love of the movie "Dances With Wolves," for another), but the above examples most clearly illustrate the level of dorkdom I'm talking about. However, as of late I've discovered another dorky tendency: I download the dorkiest podcasts and audiobooks you've ever seen (or, I guess, heard). Here are a couple of examples:
Millie's Yiddish Class. This guy basically follows his 80-ish year old mother around asking her to explain things in Yiddish (there's also another series called "I Can't Open It" where he has her gather things she can't open… bottles, cans, etc., and then films her explaining that she can't open them, and then opens them for her – no, I'm serious… it's on YouTube, check it out). I love this lady, and while she looks nothing like my grandmother or great aunts, the Yiddish reminds me of holidays in their homes… it's amazing how you can be unable to speak a language, but understand when someone tells you to get out of the kitchen before you make them spill the soup ("but come back later, bubelah, and I'll give you a rugelach, now scoot!").
Anything from NPR (or PRI). I think subscribing to "This American Life," or "Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?" qualifies you for super-dorkdom. Especially when you listen to "A Very Special David Sedaris Christmas" as you cruise up Rt. 78 and laugh your head off while your children doze in the back of the minivan. But you know what, some of this stuff is hilarious, and if someone other people don't like it, they can go download "Ask a Ninja" or "Bikini News" or something. No, I'm not making either of those up. If you're even a little bit tempted to see what I'm talking about, go to iTunes and download "This American Life: Angels Wanna Wear My Red Suit" (it's like a buck 99 or something), fast forward to about 47:45, and listen to David Sedaris read a version of one of his stories. Holy crap - I laugh out loud at that one every time.
But here's the thing…. I'm totally okay with being a dork. Truly. I'm just not cool. I never have been and I will never be. I can be nice. I can be funny. I can be generous. I can be a total bitch. But I can't be cool. If I get a decent cool streak going, within minutes I will fall down or make some arcane reference or say, "Oh golly, are you okay?" (Never say "golly" if you're trying to be cool). It just never sticks. I'm not even sure what the lure of coolness is, anymore. My mom says that sometimes just being yourself and being okay with who you are is cool in its own way, but let's face it – either that's a different definition of cool (like the after-school-special version of cool) or just a way for uncool people to rationalize their dorkdom. Plus, I might be wrong here, coolness not being my thing, but I've got a hunch that just talking w/your mommy about whether or not you're cool is a marked sign that your instincts are right - you are a dork, which, as I have been trying to point out, is just fine.