I'm getting pretty pissed with human beings right now. Pretty damn pissed. Once again, society has screwed me over.
Get out your teeny tiny violins, because it's time for a sob story.
I can finally say, that at the wise old age of twenty, I have managed to adjust socially. Despite the minor hiccup every now and then, I am now 100% able to converse with people, make friends, open a bank account etc. Leaving school let me shake my old nerdy persona and make myself COOL! Yeah, COOL. Fonzie cool. I drive a car. I go out and buy shoes, sometimes for no reason. If I wanted to, I could smoke a cigarette. If I bump into the postman, I can converse with him. Maybe share a joke or two, what of it? I have my own keys to the flat where I live now. And bar one waffle related incident, I haven't even set said flat on fire.
And I struggle to pass as a functioning member of society, all to be told WHAT? Oh yes that's right. Apparantly, according to all these young sprouts with their twittering Tumblrs and their blogging facespaces, being awkward and nerdy and socially incompetent is actually really cool now.
Are you freakin' kidding me? There is NOTHING attractive about being awkward. Awkward girls do not have 1,763,899 friends on their profile and are not capable of taking pictures of themselves and writing poignant shit over it in Verdana. That's not awkward.
Since my first experience of social interaction, I have been one tragic fumbling disaster.
For first five years of my I'd been a solitary creature. All I needed were my doting parents to constantly assure me of my awesomeness and read me books enough times, until I'd learnt them off and could 'read' them to myself. In September '95 I was duped into attending school, with the promise that there would be many more books and also crayons. My first day proved to be nothing but disappointment. From the other children to my dirty double-crossing dad who LEFT after the first five minutes, letting me fend for myself. The only redeeming factor about this awful place was my teacher, the snuggly smiley Mrs McGrath. I knew just by looking at her, this woman was surely a mammy. I sat and coloured to myself for most of the day, avoiding the gormless dribbly stares of my classmates.
As I sat and tried to digest this new level of hell, a foreboding bell started to ring. Everyone else seemed to have been briefed on this bell and started to stand up and cheer. Only 2 hours in school and I had already been socially conditioned to participate in the accepted protocol.
'Yaaay?' I called out, with my arms in the air.
My enthusiasm turned genuine when I saw that we were being led outside. YES! Maybe this hellish day was over, finally.
No. It seemed my living nightmare was about to get several degrees worse. People have argued for years on the Nature vs Nurture debate. The feeling of dread that I felt when I walked out of those school doors and saw those weird wooden things on the grass will always support my opinion that my hatred of sport was in my nature from day 1.
What the Christ was this? Other people, the boys especially were picking them up and swinging them around with reckless abandon. What's going to happen now? I sized up the rest of my class. Maybe we were going to engage in some sort of battle. I picked up my weapon, which was easily half my weight, and balanced myself ready for the inevitable fight to the death.
I was just thinking of some fight tactics, when an earth shattering boom interrupted my thoughts. I turned around, petrified, to see the source. It was laughter, which was coming from a person who at that time, was the scariest man I had ever seen in my life.
He was a massive man, with the body of a snowman squished into a matching blue tracksuit set. He had wild white hair sticking out at crazy angles from his scalp, the colour contrasting with his bulbous blood red face. To me at the time, he looked like he had Bosco's face and hair, but with the colour reversed. He walked around ominously singing old Irish folk tunes, punctuating each line with a booming laugh that went 'AHOO HOO HOOOO' for no reason. To me, he was the anti-Santy.
And he was to be my P.E teacher for the next 6 years, after which he would be replaced under mysterious circumstances by an even scarier woman who was seemingly made of stone. (I didn't have a word for this woman at the time, until years later when I learnt what an 'angry lesbian' was.)
His massive porous blackhead dotted nostrils flared and he turned to me with a bloodcurdling smile. He must have smelt my fear, or heard my cotton socked knees knocking together in terror. He started to stumble towards me. In my world, no creature ever walked like that without being accompanied by the words ''FEE! FI! FO! FUM!''. I was scared to death. If you could imagine what it would be like for a small child to be approached by a snarling laughing Father Jack Hackett in a plastic blue outfit, you'd be bang on the money.
He started to lean down towards me, agonisingly slowly.
Oh my god. Oh my god!
'Helloooo dere, little gurl' he breathed on my face.
My eyes started to water from the smell of what I recognised as that weird stuff that Mammy and Daddy drank at Christmas time.
'Are you goin' ta play a bit of hurlin' for me, ya are?'
I nodded my head as fast and as eagerly as I could. I had no idea what hurling was, but sweet Jesus if this monster wanted me to play it, I was going to play it.
'GOOD GURL YOURSELF!' he boomed and walked away laughing, menacingly. I looked to Mrs McGrath helplessly but she just beamed at me innocuously.
You must understand that this was at a time in Ireland when Garda vetting wasn't seen as necessary for anyone working with children. Mr Monster used old school military style 'warm ups' and humiliation as motivation. He also had no awareness of the physical capacity of five year olds. Often our P.E lessons would end with tots lying scattered across the school field, gasping and twitching from the sheer physical exertion, and he would stand over us in disgust, baffled at how he ended up with such a class of 'lazy bastards'.
'I'll make All Shtar's of ye yet!'
His memory often left a lot to be desired as well, and he was famed for calling children the names of siblings who had left the school years earlier, or relatives who had since died.
The best thing about Mr Monster though, was that a lot of his lessons were spent doing nothing as he chatted with Mrs McGrath about the weather.
On this day, this was the case. As it happened, it was a particularly gorgeous September day with the sun still baking down after a scorching summer. I saw that a group of girls in my class were huddled together chatting, and I decided to go and attempt to socalise. They took one look at me and decided, (probably because of curiousity) to let me join the group. Yes. I had infiltrated their clique. Now time to make millions of friends.
I had never had a friend before, other than my dog and my mother. I thought I had lived in a world where everyone would love me unconditionally. I'd have to try harder with these girls.
'Woooow' chirped the ring leader. 'It's soooo warm today'
All the other girls chorused agreement. I knew my que.
I stood with my hands on my hips and nodded wisely at the sun. It was indeed, warm. They looked at me in approval. We all understood what was going on here.
Another girl decided to step it up a notch.
'YEAH. I'm going to take off my jumper.' And with that she did. She followed it up by tying it around her waist, which was the coolest freakin' trick I had ever seen! How did she do that?! This girl was obviously some kind of warlock. I made a mental note with myself that she would be my best friend. Luckily for me, everyone else was as awestruck by this mind bending alteration of a jumper, so after some step by step instructions, we all managed to tie our school jumpers around our little waists. I stood there proud as punch with the ugly maroon cotton monstrosity hanging from my waist. I should have stopped there.
I should have known when I'd gone far enough. How different would my life had been if I'd just stopped there? No, I needed more. I was turning into a socialite, I fended on approval from my peers. I needed more and more. I got too selfish.
My next move would prove socially fatal. We were all now standing in our uniforms, minus our jumpers. This consisted of a grey cotton blouse, a grey skirt, a maroon tie and finally, a grey vest which buttoned at each shoulder.
The ring-leader decided she was going to push things one step further, in this disturbing strip tease game, where she who dared to bare the most won.
'YEAH. It's really REALLY really hot.''
And with that we all watched in amazement as she unbuttoned her grey vest at the shoulder and took it off, leaving her in her shirt, skirt, and tie, with the jumper still around her waist, of course. We were stunned by her level of ingenuity and one by one imitated her. I was so excited. Is this what friends did?! If I'd known the trauma games like this would bring me in ten years time with stolen bottles of vodka and puberty inspired games of dares, I would be far less excited. But all I was focusing on now was how I was after making friends! This school thing might not be so bad after all....
I unbuttoned the button on the shoulder on my left. I turned back to the group of girls, who all had their eyes on me, and with a triumphant flourish, unbuttoned the button on my right shoulder. TA DA!!!
Unfortunately, in my excitement I neglected to notice that my uniform wasn't actually as nice as the rest of the girls. My uniform was bulkier, more ill fitting. And my pinafore, was a one piece.
That's right, dear reader.
With the added weight of that stupid jumper around my waist, my one piece pinafore dropped to the floor with a dramatic whoosh, leaving me standing there in my shirt, tie and cartoon pink Cinderella knickers. Unaware of my exposed self, I confidently put one hand on my hip and theatrically wiped my forehead with the back of my hand.
'Pheeeeeew! It is hot.'
The girls were all staring back at me with their jaws dropped. Obviously this was a level of avant garde expression that the world just wasn't ready for yet. I was the Lady Gaga of my time.
Silence fell across the playing field and I turned to see all the other girls in my class staring at me in horror, and all the boys scratching their heads and staring at my, ah, area, absolutely baffled. I looked down to see what all the fuss was about, and my jaw dropped myself. What?! Why had my skirt fallen down, and the other's hadn't? I looked back at my stunned classmates for explanation, just in time for the awkward silence to be broken by a hearty spluttering.
Mr Monster had dropped to his knees and was gasping and bellowing with laughter, his usual scarlet visage turning purple. I pouted. Despite my limited experience in the real world I knew what it felt like to be laughed at, and I knew it wasn't nice. My eyes watered and I turned to Mrs McGrath for that famous smile. To my despair she was furious.
'SAUCY. Come here and put your skirt back on!!!' and with that she caught my hand and strutted back into the classroom, I, trailing behind her. Tripping pathetically over my own skirt which was wrapping itself around my ankles.
That was Day #1 of school, readers. It's a hard nick-name to shake, you know, 'knickers-face'. And my life being the bad sitcom script that it is, all I did was reinforce the public image I had as NERDY MCNERD NERD over the coming years. The tragedy.
And that, going back to my original point, is why 'cool nerds' annoy me.
The Saucy Cow