I’ve always been a dork. Generally likeable, but never popular. There were a few times in my life I had the new girl novelty, making people curious and interested in what I was all about. I quickly set them straight by announcing my status as a loser, and then took my place among the outsiders. I’m more comfortable there, with the weirdos and napkin eaters. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to reinvent myself, but operating on the fringe of what’s socially acceptable works for me, so why change it?
When I moved away to college, I remember how odd it was – the mixing of the social groups. The soccer players, the cheerleaders, and the potheads all trying to sneak into bars together. It was a young person’s utopia, yet I felt less cool than the rest of them because of my beloved label of loser.
I still own that label. I am uncool. The opposite of Paul Newman or Tommy Chong. I mean, the fact that I use those two individuals as my gauge of coolness probably says a lot.
I’ve got these two cousins on my Mom’s side. Way cooler than me. One grows her armpit hair out and lives on a hippie commune, and the other is a harpist with two young copies of herself who are martial arts practicing harpists. I got hand-me-down clothes from my cousins when I was a kid, but I just wasn’t cool enough to wear them (or blame growing out instead of up between the ages of 8 and 11). It was odd being asked by pithair’s 8 year old why I was so shy. I was in my 20’s at the time. I just rarely had anything worthy of being added to conversations of that coolness caliber.
Today was harpist cousin’s birthday and I was contemplating if I should wish her a happy birthday on Faceplace, or continue pretending I don’t exist. I decided to stink up her wall with my lameness, which got me thinking about why I’m so attached to this label of mine.
I went over a long checklist in my head, including many common measures of success, and yes, I’m still a loser. I excel at being a loser. It’s something of a paradox.