Thursday, March 27, 2008

Back Before We All Got to Be Special...A Tale of Nerd P.E.

When I was in high school, I was considered “gifted.” Nowadays, with the smartification of America, every child is gifted. But once upon a time, you could gain enormous prestige by properly shifting bits of construction paper in a four-hour, demandingly inane standardized test.

Every other week, Imperial Me and I would spend several hours locked in a tiny, windowless room with between four and seven fellow nerds. We would have deep discussions on stuff no one cared about, thereby re-confirming our inherent smartyness. To this day, I am convinced this “classroom” was really a CIA laboratory, used to groom future covert agents.

Other signs of our enhanced status included nerd-only field trips, nerd-only class projects, and free time to fill out our abundant college applications. (True story: I applied to Harvard because I really had nothing else going on that day. No, I didn’t get in.)

But the greatest honor of all was “Nerd P.E.” Because our schedules were blocked together, all the gifted kids took gym during second period. So, theoretically, this should have saved me from all the humiliations of gym class with non-nerds. You know, being the last one picked for teams, being the last one to finish the mile run, being the only one to wipe out on the gymnastics equipment…oh, wait. Even in Nerd P.E., I was still the last one picked for teams, the last one to finish every race (a mile in 20 minutes! Go me!), and the girl who did an unintentional cannonball off the gymnastics horse.

And, of course, what all this really meant...Nerd Driver's Ed. Nerd Health. And, worst of all, Nerd Sex Ed. ("Boys and girls, here's the vital information the vast majority of you will not need until college, if ever.")

So what have we learned? I’m the Nerdiest Nerd Who Ever Nerded. I’m a Nerd Queen!


Anonymous said...

DUDE!!! I was in "gifted" too. And our "gifted" room didn't have windows either. I always assumed it was because I was "gifted" enough to either see through stone or better imagine what the outdoors looked like.

It didn't get in the way of my PE schedule though - which was good. I was in "gifted" and an athlete so basically I was a nerd-jock...a nock, a jerd, a neck? Who knows.

Today I'm an out-of-shape idiot. Oh to peak early. Now I know how Danny Pintaro feels. Except I'm straight.

Shannon said...

I have thoughts, I like "jerd." We had a few football players in the class, so it wasn't completely athletically hopeless. I think I may have been alone in being completely athletically hopeless.

imperialme said...

I did wrestle that one year(which is probably where 90% of your high school memories of me come from since I couldn't be bothered to show up at any other time) so I guess I qualify as a jerd too.

Lemmonex said...

Yeah, I was gifted...and always the last picked at gym. Well, except for flooe hockey. Iliked shoving people.

I am now queen of the nerds. They are my people.

Ibid said...

We shared the room with the Learning Disabled kids. Sure, it was all part of the Special Ed curriculum but it still seemed odd. I suppose socially we were all pretty much on par.

Shannon said...

Imperial Me, aside from gym, I will have you know you showed up for...really, just gym. And you never dressed out, so I couldn't figure out what you were doing there in the first place.

Lemmonex, I'll fight you for the title of Nerd Queen.

Ibid, social skills/lack thereof: the great common denominator.

Michael said...

My son, 8, recently took a daylong test for admittance to the Montgomery County gifted and talented program. It was like a bar exam for kiddies--with all the expectations of driven parents to help him adjust to "normal" life. Very sad, really.

milano miss said...

my school had test to find the gifted children and I kid you not I was one point to short to gain the title and so now I'm always called "almost gifted" (later the school asked me if I wanted to retake the test since I probably could do better, but I liked being "almost gifted" better than being actually gifted.)

Shannon said...

Michael, ugh. It does sound like taking the bar! When I took the test over 20 years ago, it was in California. It consisted of about four hours of shifting construction paper around and playing word games. All so I could have this annoying "gifted" tag hang over my head.

Milano Miss, I like "almost gifted." Don't feel too bad, as a child I missed Mensa membership by one IQ point. I'm still grateful I don't have to be a card-carrying nerd.