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Throwback Thursday: Once a journalism nerd, always a journalism nerd

Apr 10, 2014

Many people who meet me nowadays don't believe me when I tell them I was a huge nerd in high school. Not that I tell everyone I meet that I was a nerd, but if I do, they find it hard to believe. Most people assume I was the college sorority type, which means I would have been popular and cheerleadery in high school. This angers me because I worked very hard on standing out from the crowd and having quality over quantity friends.

I was sort of popular, but more on the "well-known" side, not necessarily "well-liked". Because when you're a nerd, you're going to be pitied more than well-liked, and when you're a nerd with big boobs, you're going to be hated on by the ringleaders of the B-class cliques, many of whom are still trying to fill out an A cup. So basically I was a total outcast and found solace in newspaper, and that's why I studied journalism in college and all I have to show for all the years of angstful writing and editing is this blog.

I joined newspaper in my sophomore year of high school, which evidence can be found in the 1997 Tucker High School Yearbook, between which pleather-bounded flaps (what do you call the outside of a book?) lies -- count 'em -- three (3) photos of yours truly. One of them is my class photo. 

BO ESL Guy and I weren't only next to each other on a yearbook page -- our lockers were also side by side.
So don't feel bad for him. Feel bad for me. 
The only other page I'm on is, obviously, the Tiger Tales Newspaper page, on which I wrote, "Yay us!" to no one but myself in a feeble attempt to trick myself into thinking anyone cared about an error-free newspaper and everyone hadn't joined so they could "sell ads" during 4th period aka go get a Speedy Gonzalez for lunch from El Tapatio (only $4.25 and it's so fresh you might find a feather in your taco -- true story). One photo is of me looking very busy and important, and the other is the team photo where I'm on the back row. (I'm always on the back row of group photos because I'm taller than everyone except for basketball players.)

Notice how my photo is the only one with other people in it where no one is smiling.

I remember posing for this picture and making sure my hair was falling nicely in front of my face. I see now that it just made me look like a Mormon. I was also very glad I wore my retro-chic, shiny, black polyester button-down that I got at a thrift store and never buttoned all the way at the bottom so a hint of my belt buckle would show. I wore thrifted, multi-colored bowling shoes with this outfit, which no one else had because I was unique.

Funnily enough, the blonde guy to my left is a Mormon.
Here's some frame of reference for 1997 so you can remember how long ago this was, if you were even alive then.

I just noticed the more important pop culture reference which is that Smashing Pumpkins won a Grammy.
It's important for y'all to understand how long ago this was, because I want you to see just how long I've been dealing with people misspelling my name

Please note that most of these people said something to effect of "wish I'd gotten to know you better" or, my favorite,
"thanks for giving me so many answers on tests."
In case you can't decipher the writing of the sole person who got my name right, it reads:

Mary El,

It's been nice having you in English class. I'm sorry I forgot your name till this. I'm terribly bad about remembering people's names. I hope to see you next year and I hope you have a great summer.


I have no idea who Kevin is but I'm pretty sure I made him sign my yearbook and hovered over his shoulder, spelling out my name, as he did it.

But one guy made all my hard work worth it, and if he'd been the "Chad" I had a raging crush on, we'd probably be married right now.

Alas, Hot Chad married his high school sweetheart. But he reads my blog now, so, full circle or something.

Nerd Power.


  1. I don't get the Mormon joke there. How does hair in your face and a button-down shirt make you look Mormon?

  2. No joke, really, just that I was obsessed with having my hair long and perfectly straight, and I remember a lot of Mormon girls at that time wore their hair like that. l think there was some rule that you couldn't cut your hair? Probably just a suburban legend of teenagers who had nothing better to talk about.