When I was but a little bitty sweet thing, I could hardly wait for the chance to grow up and STOP BEING THAT. Images danced through my head of crazy college parties, endless clubbing, a boisterous sex life, and experiences that I would be too embarrassed to describe to my future children.
And these were some mighty fanciful dreams, coming from a kid like me.
I had one boyfriend in high school, and broke up with him in two weeks because he reminded me too much of my brother. I was never, ever invited to any parties that might have included alcohol, and my mother never, ever had to worry about me sneaking out, because I was a good kid and would have let her know exactly where I was going and what I would be doing. Not that I could have gotten away with anything rebellious, anyway. Have you ever tried to be misbehave in a small town? It ain’t tolerated, folks. You’ve got yourself a brand-new reputation before you set foot back in the house.
Or so I’ve heard.
Anyways, you get the picture. I was an uber-nerd. Still am. Always will be. Not ashamed any more, because I have achieved a fantastic thing:
I have a nerd posse.
Now, I already know that some of them are going to object to being called part of MY posse. Also, at being called “nerds.” If you are more average (see: boring), you might not know that there are different stigmas attached to different classifications. Nerds ARE NOT dorks, and they are not geeks, and yes, you can be shamed WITHIN this stratum.
I was sent the above pic recently, and it turns out that I am, as I had always assumed, a nerd. My friend Jay is a geek. Chelsea is a nerd like me, which comes in handy whenever I want to FORCE--erm, ENCOURAGE someone to try something new and nerdy with me. Brownie claims she is already solidly in dork territory, and since she has committed to watching and loving some Dr. Who, I guess I can accept that. Erica’s somewhere within the hierarchy, but she’s keeping her options open until she sees the different t-shirt designs. Either way, we all share a lot of off-the-wall pastimes, and thank whoever’s listening for that, because otherwise I’d be really sad and lonely and weird all by my little ol’ self.
As it is, we spend a great deal of time NOT having standard college parties, NOT clubbing, and NOT doing a variety of other things that some of us swore we would do as if we were going to die tomorrow. And in retrospect, it is not surprising that this is entirely okay with us.
Clearly, we were BORN to be this silly.
Anyway, I like lists, so here’s a bit of a list about some of our favorite activities.
My current roommate, Chelsea (NOT to be confused with the other two Chelseas who were my former roommates; GOOD GRIEF that’s a lot of Chelseas), is doing her damndest to turn into an adorable little old lady before she hits 25. And she’s taking me with her. Since she has some sort of vendetta against proper heating, we spent all of last Christmas break sitting around, crocheting or knitting, while drinking tea and watching Dr. Who.
Now, we’ve incorporated these practices into larger parties, inviting people over for scones, board games, and foreign films, where fake accents are welcome and well-rounded culture is lauded. And people keep coming to them. Who says our generation has to be degenerate? Not I, good sirs and madams. Not I.
RANDOM MOVIE NIGHTS
It never fails; one person in the group will mention a movie or show, and somebody will have never seen or even heard of it. That’s how movie nights get started. There are cinematic tidbits that must be seen by EVERYONE, or some cinephile or other will have a permanent panic attack.
Lately, our obsession has been “The Story Teller,” mainly narrated by John Hurt, the scary old Chancellor from “V for Vendetta,” and chock-full of Jim Henson puppets.
By the way, have you seen “V for Vendetta”? Because if you haven’t, you MUST DO SO VERY SOON. Your very happiness depends on it. JUST OBEY MY DEMANDS.
Whew, deep breath...okay, I’m alright now. But really, go watch it.
Anyway, the best thing about movie night is how it tends to evolve into something entirely different. For example, the other night a small group of us was innocently watching “The Storyteller” from my epic brand-new used couch. At about 1:30 am, we started making noises about splitting up and heading for bed, but then…there was a poke.
Just a small poke, one finger, innocently poke-poking into somebody’s arm.
However, sometimes, all that’s needed is a poke, and the powder keg catches fire. From that poke, there exploded a violent and grueling game of “Gender-Neutral Ruler of the Couch,” which lasted for 3 more hours and may have permanently damaged said item of furniture. However, it was worth the broken couch, and the bruises, and the lack of beauty-sleep preparation for the next day’s workload. If you don’t have friends that will spend the wee hours of the morning beating you up like you’re all 10 again, then you don’t have much. Trust me on that.
An added benefit is that, since I can only IMAGINE how the whole thing sounded to the neighbors upstairs, I am forced to be more tolerant of their suspicious squeaky-squeaky noises at weird hours of the day. Yay for community living!!!
BOARD GAMES AND CARDS
I’ve been playing or watching non-electronic games for as long as I can remember. Whether I was on someone’s lap, looking over the edge of a table, or even sitting in a chair of my own, I spent a lot of time in my formative years observing my older and more venerable family members play cards.
Now, I was something of a natural at the complicated and quick-witted Uno, but things like pinochle and dominoes and poker of all kinds were over my head for a number of years, both figuratively and literally. I was often torn between the mysterious intrigue of these adult games, and my disgust when it came to learning new rules and doing simple math, but regardless, when I was finally allowed to sit in a grown-up chair and hold my own hand of cards, I was understandably excited.
One of my very first challenges was to learn cribbage. As I mentioned in a previous post, my granddaddy ruled Cribbage Land with an iron fist, and took, so it seemed, very little mercy on poor little beginners like myself. However, like a Padawan to his Jedi Master, I have become mighty and powerful in a game that few people have ever even heard of outside of nursing homes.
However, when my friend Bob read that I, too, was afflicted with this obsession for wooden boards and little pegs, he stated something along the lines of “you are an awesome cake with awesome frosting filled with many kinds of awesome,” and we have begun our own personal cribbage-off. Secretly jealous of our dated skills, our friends have graciously allowed us to force the game upon them, and we now have a group of about 5 people who actually know the rules well enough for us to kick their asses in the name of “learning.” Muahaha… Also, we sometimes punish transgressors by licking. Or maybe that’s just Erica. Don’t ask me how that works.
Anyways, we also tend to play a lot of Scattergories, Guesstures, and my current favorite, Heart Attack. Do you play Heart Attack? Oh, you wish you did.
Trust me, you do.
Hint of awesomeness: this game is where the blood comes in.
Heart Attack is a card game similar to Slap Jack or Egyptian Rat Screw. The cards are divided evenly among the players, and going in a clock-wise direction, each person says the next number/figure in the traditional Ace through King order of poker cards. So I could lay down a card and say “Ace!” and then Erica would lay one down and say “Two!” and so on with three and four and all that good stuff. However, if the card you lay down is actually the card that you said, everyone has to try to slap their hand down on the pile. If you are last, you get the pile. You do not want the pile. The game ends when one person has all the piles. So, there are no winners; there is only a loser. A sad, sorry shell of a human being.
However, winning comes at a price. If you’re not on the top of the pile, you’re somewhere in the middle, or even on the bottom, and there are lots of really jumpy people doing their best to drive your hand right through the table. Especially if you play with Jay, cause he’s ginormous. However, if you play with girls, like Chelsea or Erica or Brownie, you have to be especially careful of the daggers they keep on the ends of their fingers. And if they’re wearing rings, you may just end up with interesting new scars for your trouble.
Last time we played, the hand of cards was entertaining, but actually a bit less boisterous than usual. However, after playing a few rounds, we began to notice some odd stains on a few of the cards. As a professional in a field involving a variety of bodily fluids, I had no trouble identifying the substance.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” I said. “Who’s bleeding?”
Cenk, the only man in the group, was bleeding. His poor wittle masculine finger had been sliced by the dainty fingernail of an unknown femme fatale, and as a result, our cards were all sticky and gross. Did we stop playing? Hell no. We even forgot to clean the cards. We just keep giggling every time we see the bloody ones again. Cause that’s what Heart Attack does to us. It turns us into heartless, puerile heathens. And we LOVE IT.
The game gets even better the longer into the night you play. After a while, your brain gets fried from focusing so hard and getting smacked so many times, until every phrase out of your mouth is funny, and every sentence can be turned into a “that’s what she said” joke. It’s a lot like getting drunk, only cheaper.
To truly demonstrate how fantastically ridiculous these conversations can become, here’s a condensed example, incorporating some of my favorite quotes.
Setting: The hour is late. The lights are low, the tension is high, and sugar has been consumed in abundance. Pain is no longer a problem, because our fingers are numb. The only goal is to destroy; destroy all those who stand in your path to not losing.
Me: Okay, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go. I need my fix.
Brownie: Okay, three!
Jay: You have to start with Ace. That’s how the game works.
Brownie: Okay, fine…three!
Chelsea: I am going to kill everyone here, and then I am going to go find some kittens and LOVE THEM.
Me: …Stay away from my kittens.
Erica: If this doesn’t get moving, I WILL pop a cap in somebody’s ass.
Brownie: Well, how can we play when I can hardly even reach the card pile? I’ve got little arms and a huge head! (cue cute T-rex impression)
Me: There’s no point in going on. Every man for himself.
Brownie: Alright then…THREEEEEE!!!
(She slams down a card, and it is, indeed, magically, a three. All hell breaks loose as we are roused from our fugue state to attack the card pile. Jay is left on top, the loser, the sad, sad loser)
Jay: I…I don’t know what just happened to me.
Me: You were thinking about my sexy knee massage, weren’t you? WEREN’T YOU? Admit it!
Jay: All you did was kick me! (cause he’s a big baby)
Me: Whatever, you liked it…
(It’s not a three, thank whoever. The game continues, finally coming to…)
Chelsea: Twelve. Wait, no…fuck.
Jay: ...Nobody even said "eleven."
(Guess what? Jacks are not elevens, and queens are not twelves, and if you say “twelve,” you get the pile.)
Brownie: Your cards are multiplying…like rabbits!
Jay, the Lutheran: Or like Jesus!
Me, the Wiccan: No. No, Jay. There was only one Jesus. You really should go to church more.
Jay: But…the fishes…
Erica then pops a cap in everybody’s ass, including the fishes. Thankfully, butt gun shot wounds are usually not fatal. We live to play another day, albeit sitting on little rubber doughnuts to protect our asses.
And that’s the way Heart Attack works. If you can’t stand the violent physical attacks, stay away from the table. We take no prisoners.
Whole oodles of adults told me that the best years of my life would be in high school. Screw that. High school sucked. I’m hitting my stride in college, and I’ve found some people to walk with. But it’s not going to end there. I am going to be a legitimate awesome adult, with friends who march to their own drums, and I’m going to be the most off-beat influence that I can be. Eventually I’m going to be an epic old lady who still knows how to party like a nerd, playing Dance Dance Revolution until my hip replacements give out and teaching my progeny how to play cribbage with a vengeance.
Reality now is entirely different from how I dreamed it would be, and it’s a damn good thing, because this is much more fun than I could have imagined.
Although, come to think of it, it would still be kinda cool to be an astronaut…or a ninja…sigh. Well, I’ve still got time.