“There was never an age in which useless knowledge was more important than our own.”

If you’ve been around here at all to hear me talk about my high school days, you know that the thing that made them bearable was the Quiz Bowl team. Those hours spent in my school library shaped me in so many ways, and I look back on them with pure pleasure. There’s not much else from high school that was pleasurable, so this is kind of a big deal.

I still have the shirt we made my senior year, the one that says, “There was never an age in which useless knowledge was more important than our own.” I wear it sometimes for working out, though I am always afraid to wear it too much because I want it to last, as if that piece of cotton is some kind of talisman and I can’t risk ruining it. More than that, too, it reminds me of where I’ve come from. These days I am pretty comfortable in my own skin, but back then I needed a t-shirt to explain to the world who I was. A nerd. (As if they couldn’t tell.) I wore it with my yellow shoes (of course), and I wore it in college until I decided it was too childish and put high school behind me. (It took more than relegating a t-shirt to a Rubbermaid container to actually put high school behind me, but it was a valiant effort on my part.)

(Honestly, t-shirts are still one of my love languages. I have stopped giving Mike silly t-shirts because his t-shirt drawer overfloweth, but I am still happy to receive clever t-shirts for myself.)

It has taken me a long time to feel that I have friends, that I am capable of sustaining friendships, that I don’t have to apologize for my values and interests and opinions. Part of what my high school media specialist did was start me on that path . . . by being loudly and proudly nerdy herself. I wouldn’t go back to middle or high school myself for anything, but I am excited to go and work with them now that I have something to give.

I start the new job tomorrow, and if you were wondering why, I have a t-shirt I’d like to show you. It’s not the entire reason that we made the decision, not by any means. But it’s the reason I think I can do it.

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