Be a nerd, and you’ll go far

Leslie Arntz's view

This torrid love affair with words began at an early age; as soon as my eyes could focus, my father was in front of me flashing cards identifying colors, shapes, numbers and letters. I could read at about age three and shared my skill with my peers by reading the stories aloud from the coloring books provided in my preschool classroom. In elementary school, the Book IT! Program rewarded kids like me who spent their Saturdays wandering aisles in the library, searching for something they hadn’t yet read.

Throughout middle school I was continuously getting into trouble for reading during class. In eighth grade the fires of my passion were stoked. A teacher challenged me and I produced an 11-page character sketch which took me in a direction I had yet to truly explore: composing my own pieces. I began attacking English assignments with mechanical precision, watching one after another fall at my feet.

Upon entering high school I discovered what a writing center was and what joys could be held in such a little room. That very same teacher who inspired me previously was once again holding the bellows. I spent every morning I can recall in a tiny room with good books and better company. I skipped lunch for three years and was excused from as many classes as possible with the aid of a blank stack of signed hall passes. I became the original Writing Center groupie. There, I found others like me.

I excelled at practice Advanced Placement English exams and looked forward to the test. I harbor thoughts of taking the ACTs again, just for fun.

I stand firmly beside my opinion that Jeopardy is the greatest show on television. I can do without Alex — a Trebeki I am not — yet, every weekday at 7:30 p.m., I am glued to the nearest screen. I wait with great anticipation for the last three categories of the regular Jeopardy round to be announced, as I have observed that they generally contain the vocabulary answers. I respond (as always, in the form of a question) with vim and vigor. I demand a halt to all conversation until the commercial breaks. I wore black the day after Ken made his final response.

I can’t write an away message without consulting to verify my spelling or search for better word choices. I joined a word association community when I still bothered with my online journal.

On my first visit to Kent State, in the gift shop, I didn’t select one of the customary souvenirs to commemorate my trip. Instead, I went directly to the clearance book bin and began digging. I walked out that day with a book of word origins.

Mentally I correct friends, family and passersby on their incorrect use of grammar. I also hold a particular disdain for those who spell it with an “e.”

The whole situation may seem revolting to the layperson, I know. I’m very much aware of that. All of this does lead to a point, to a moral. Become the biggest nerd in your area of choice, be it underwater basket weaving, sports card collecting or English, and someday you might discover an e-mail in your inbox begging for your presence at a job you didn’t even apply for.

Leslie Arntz is a freshman magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].