NerdsPosted by Big Daddy Paul in Malcolm Stories
I have spent most of my life being a nerd. While some look to my inherent dorkiness as the reason for this, I prefer to see it as a lifestyle choice. Growing up, I saw all the complications and difficulties of being part of the “in” crowd. I realized early on that if I surrounded myself with dweebs and spazzes, I was suddenly the good looking and funny one. So, I joined the debate team and limited my social circles to debaters and other AP students. In the land of the socially awkward, I was Grace Kelly.
With my background as it is, you’d think that the recent revelation that Malcolm needs glasses would have given me a certain level of parental pride. After all, what could possibly be more nerdy than wearing glasses? Alas, I was not so excited.
After we noticed that Malcolm’s eyes started crossing and he essentially failed an eye test when covering up his left eye, I was distraught. He never really had anything wrong with him, and when the doctor used words like Amblyopia and Esotropia, I nearly fainted. (Not having much of a medical background, I took the diagnoses as the following, “Mr. Schwartz, I regret to inform you that your son is a cyclops.”) A later visit to the pediatric ophthalmologist softened the blow a little bit, describing his condition as “your son’s eye crosses when it focuses,” and prescribing glasses to fix the issue. Even so, the news that his eyes didn’t work properly pretty was pretty disheartening.
We immediately set out to find glasses that were so adorable that people would think he was a fashion icon. I was thinking, “Tina Fey Chic mixed with a little John Lennon honesty.” Imagine my surprise, then, when Malcolm picked out a pair of pink horn rimmed glasses that said, “Sally Jesse Raphael during her later crazy cat lady years.” To make matters worse, the glasses came with an astonishing $310 price tag. I can tell you this, Malcolm will never, ever get something to wear that costs $310, so I told him that the eye doctor had in fact told us that we needed to get his “special” glasses at Costco. We proceeded to place Malcolm’s ocular health in the hands of the place that sells nacho cheese in five pound cans.
Luckily, he found a pair there that he really liked and did not make me think he looked like a sociopath. I presumed that the glasses would make him look weird, like he was somehow a different person. When he put on these, though, he looked like his old self.
Glasses don’t make the nerd. This outfit on the other hand…
Malcolm has taken surprisingly well to the new glasses. Aside from a minor freakout on the way to school on his first day with the glasses on, he has simply accepted them as a new fact of life. One day, he didn’t wear glasses, and now he does, as if I said to him, “Malcolm, you are having macaroni and cheese for dinner tonight. Also, you’ll be wearing high powered bifocals for the rest of your life.”
I am sure there will times when the glasses present a challenge. I could envision the situation where Malcolm would lose his glasses running from first base to second and instead of sliding steathily into the bag, he dry humps the second basemen out of confusion, but I am confident that he will take these lessons in stride. At some point, kids might make fun of him because he is different, but it can’t be any worse than being on the debate team. Trust me, I know.