Thursday, 29 November 2012

My Friend The Nerd

There's this guy at my school who you could say is a stereotypical nerd.

He can build you a laptop from scratch and install Linux on it, he can use the chemicals in plant fertiliser to make rocket fuel and fly a home made rocket on the stuff, he works with his father soldering electronics together during the Summer holidays, and he studies electro technology and computer science.

But when I say stereotypical; I'm referring to the social ineptitude that is often associated with nerds and geeks, especially in film and television.

I myself took a long time to get over my own awkwardness in social situation, but this guy was a whole other level.

And it really made an impact on how people treated him.

People were definitely not nice to this guy, myself included. We would always avoid him, tell him to go away, and tease him behind his back. Every time he spoke we would all groan and tell him to shut up.

A few years ago I went on a camp for a select group of students that involved three days of camping, canoeng, and bike riding. We called it Challenge 100 because the course was 100km long.

We all had to be paired up with buddies that we would stay with in tents, purchase and cook food with, and basically be with most of the time.

We were all in a room at an information session a few weeks before the trip and we were making sure that everyone had their buddy. I had asked everyone I knew if I could be their buddy, just hoping I wouldn't get stuck with the nerd.

But when the teacher asked us to stand up if we didn't have a buddy, four of us stood up, me, the nerd, and two other guys. Fast as a bullet the two other guys paired up, and in disgust, I saw that I was stuck with the nerd that no one liked.

So here I was, stuck with this guy by my side for three whole days. I would complain about him to the other kids when he wasn't around, and try to ignore him when he was. I thought he was going to ruin my camp.

But when you spend that much time with someone, relying on them, trusting them, regardless of the fact that he messed up our dinner one night, ran over one of the girls, capsized our canoe, and tripped over a bike and off a small cliff, you begin to appreciate that person.

He is now one of my closest friends. Whether or not he is a nerd, and whether or not I spent the first six months of our friendship teaching him social etiquette, it makes no difference.

I judged him before I knew him, everyone did. And I'm sorry for that, but now I have a chance to make it right. We've been through so much together; I wouldn't trade him for anything.

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