10-year-old Dan walked towards the small group of older boys that were sitting around in a circle. Although I knew them, I was not really friends but I approached because I recognized they were listening to side three of the Beatles White album on a bright colored plastic portable 8-track tape player. I’m sure I was adjusting my ever slipping very out-of-date horn-rimmed black eyeglasses and scratching my ever-present array of swollen red summer mosquito bites. My short greased down haircut most certainly stood out among the other’s groovy long early 1970s coiffures. I opened my mouth full of shiny metal braces and asked the guys about the funny little cigarette they were passing around.
Not because they were protecting me from the evils of illegal marijuana, but more out of fear that an untrustworthy blabby little brat might tell an adult or worse their parents, one of them chimed in that it was just an ‘unusual brand’. The others laughed and quickly shooed dorky Lil’ Dan away. Proving my dorkdom, it literally was years and years later when it hit me that was my first exposure (obviously not experience) to drugs.
I mean, this was New York City during the early 1970s… drugs were everywhere! The only place and time in the universe more known for drugs was Miami in the early 1980s…. oh wait… I lived there too. Don’t worry scared and scarred readers, Dan did not become an addicted user /addict / junkie. No Sir, Ma’am or other, I was an oblivious dork.
I do not think it is any secret that I am a bit of a dork. Unfortunately, you don’t grow out of Dorkism. It’s not like all those other things that with no work you simply get past. Like everyone says babies are so beautiful but the truth is most new-borns look like a red slimy blob of ham slid out of those odd eggish-shaped corner-less metal cans. Luckily most (not all) quickly grow out of it and become pretty darn cute.
Most little boys have that odd year or two when their bodies are way out of proportion with unproportioned gangly arms and oversized heads protruding from their scrawny bodies looking a lot like those aliens stepping off the ship in Close Encounters. But most (not all) grow out of it. Even teenagers overwhelmed confused directionless during the hormones-gone-wild years somehow magically grow into somewhat productive adults that are just ever so slightly less overwhelmed, confused, and clueless.
But no, you don’t grow out of being a dork. Out of practice you might learn how to hide it better but deep down in your heart of hearts, no matter how successful, strong or suave you might become on the exterior, throughout the rest of your life whenever you look in the mirror a chunk of your brain will always cause you to see that little dopey dork.
Those little internal voices and feelings are what motivates some folks to strive for success and what causes others to never move out of their parent’s basement. Personally, I’m not looking to celebrate my inner-dork with banners and parades but I’m not really trying to hide it either. I mean, someone trying to keep dorkiness tendencies under wraps does not post 580 consecutive weekly blog posts about the foibles of their own life. Capiche?
That’s the perfect example. Who, besides a dork or 1970s TV tough guys like Kojak or Mr.T use term ‘capiche’? Now if you need any other dork documentation please look at any photo taken of me between the ages six and sixteen or ask my wife, siblings or pretty much anyone that has had more than a passing conversation with me.
So that leads me to my point. Is there anything wrong with being a dork? Well aside from things like spending most of 8th grade being the butt of jokes or getting very used to receiving groans and eye-rolling responses to a lot of what I think are good attempts at humor, no, it’s not so bad. As an adult, I might still hear those groans but at this point I am kinda used to it. I recently read that nerds are this up-coming generation’s leaders with people like Gates, Jobs and Zuckerberg having led the revolution of change. Where do dorks fall in the change of the guard. My luck, still on the bottom.