I know I have mentioned this before, but I was not very cool when I was in middle school. Or high school. Or college. I mean sure, I can be pretty funny and I can talk to people and make friends but I also do well in school and I not very good at sports and I don't have any cool talents like superb painting skills or fabulous acting skills or even numchuck skills. So while I was certainly not the Creepy Dark kind of nerd and I was most especially not the Awesome Band Geek or Skateboarding or Art Girl kind of nerd, I was definitely a nerd. I was an I Read All The Assigned English Books And Liked Them kind of nerd and a Why Yes I Am In Choir kind of nerd.
I was the kind of nerd who won the school geography bee. The kind of nerd who not only won the school geography bee, but who also, by some weird chance happened to get to go the state geography bee. I think the actual representative got sick or something. I don't really remember, you'd have to ask my dad. But still, I got to go to Albuquerque to represent my region in the geography bee. I had inordinately high hopes for myself when I walked into the preliminary rounds in my red sweater with my dad proudly waiting in a chair near the back. I allowed myself to consider the possibilities: I could win these rounds. And the next. And go the State finals which would be held later that day. And maybe I would even get to go to Nationals which were held in Washington DC and were hosted by Alex Trebek. Wouldn't that be something!? I would no longer be an ordinary nerd, but a fantastically awesome nerd who got to see Alex Trebek in real life!
Those hopes were quickly dashed when I was asked a question about Aborigines and did not take that hint to determine that the correct answer was of course, Australia.
So I bombed out of the preliminaries and lost all hope of being an Awesomely Fantastic Geography nerd but I was still very proud of myself for being a winner, even on a small scale. I took my medal at the end of the year with excitement and joy and perhaps a bit of arrogance regarding my geography skills. I thought that the next year, my eighth grade year would be the year I would take state.
Unfortunately, when the geography bee rolled around my eighth grade year I lost the school champion title when I forgot the capitol of Peru. (LIMA!)
And I suppose it is the latent geography bee winner in deep in my soul that is so excited to be taking a geography class this semester. A freshman level, required, evening geography class that by all accounts should be motivating me to slip some of that bourbon into my in-class coffee cup. But! I get to make a detailed topographic map of the Ukraine! And I get to do it however I want! Which means I can hand paint it! And make it look authentic and old and really really cool!
Dad, I hope you are proud.