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Saturday, August 23, 2003

On Being an Asian Geek, or Me, Part 2

I am genetically Asian, and culturally and geographically American. I guess this would make me Amer-Asian, or Asian-American, although what I remember from youth were the labels "gook" and "chink."

In fact, the childhood rhymes I recall the best were erroneously applied to my ethnic background. One was the prose:

Me Chinese
Me play joke
Me do pee pee in your Coke!

The other was the classic performance art where a kid slants his eyes upwards, downwards, then rubs his knees, and then makes fake breasts to the lines:

Chinese
Japanese
Dirty Knees
Look at these!

But then again, I suppose my French classmates remember Frere Jacques really well.

Interestingly, I was the most popular boy in my class with the girls. Well, ok, up through second grade. Although I was basically the only Asian in my school until high school, I found that the girls didn't notice this until about third or fourth grade. And I paid attention to girls, unlike the rest of the members of my cootie-fearing gender.

The sad fact is that I got more female attention when I was 7 then when I was 15.

I did myself no favors in adolescence by being a geek. Being a geek attracted girls like a Dairy Queen attracts Eskimos; you just blend into the background and yet seem vaguely bad for the health.

But being a geek is like investing and holding big cap stocks. You may look bad against those sexy day traders in the short run, but over the long haul, you get to eat.

The most fun I had being a geek was going to my high school reunion. All the top jocks and popular kids showed up to recapture the glory they had lost when they peaked at high school. They got to talk about their dead end sales jobs and their vacations at the local theme park, and show off their highschool sweethearts who hung around the house and added on a lot of weight after their fifth kid. I got to show up with a stunning girlfriend working on her masters degree and a tan from our vacation in a Tuscan villa, and talk about how I puttered around the house and added on an extra garage to hold my fifth sports car. And hearing the former cheerleader sigh, "If only I knew how cool geeks can be." Time is the ultimate revenge for geeks.

Ok, ok, I admit that I basically rented that girlfriend, and the rent was steep: a charter flight and vacation to Italy. And she had to pick my clothes. And in many other ways my life is pathetic since it's all work. But I'll write more about THAT later.