It’s time to face the twenty-sided die… I’m a nerd. Hello, my name is Kimberly, and I am a nerd. Half my life was spent in the closet about this, married to a man I said “yes” to because he was the bad boy that rode motorcycles and wore leather jackets. (This is truer than you might think.) The problem with the bad boy, however, is their unwavering obsession with image. It isn’t vanity so much as an overcompensation for superficial insecurities. Whereas we to like to think of rebels as society’s honey badgers—having no causes and giving fewer shits—consider how many hours in front of a mirror it takes for them to achieve that look.
Now, I’m no stranger to fancy. I clean up nice, and look damn cute in heels, but I’ve never been able to censor the pocket-protecting poindexter that lives inside the basement of my heart—much to my ex’s chagrin. My overzealous shenanigans were an affront to his idea about how a marriage should look, and going out meant getting in trouble for committing the imaginary crime of embarrassing him. A big reason we couldn’t ultimately jibe, beyond his childish bullying, was this fixation with image—especially with his fucking hair. Seriously, I’ve yet to meet a woman as preoccupied with follicle maintenance as my former husband. Whenever he pissed himself off enough to throw something across the room, it was often a hair straightener. Why? Because it was usually the object closest to his grasp.
Nerds, on the other hand, are pathologically themselves. Some are prim and proper, others greasy and sponge-like, but none of them are faking. To be fair, I’m not a nerd in the obvious sense. While I love my Dr. Who, and play for Team Edward (y’know, the winning team), I’m not fluent in Klingon (you p’tak!), I really don’t care if Greedo shoots first and I have no idea who would win in a battle between Kefka and Sephiroth. (Russell insisted I add that last one, saying the idea of a girl even pretending to know about that fight would give at least four readers an erection.) So, while I don’t ingratiate myself with nerd culture, I don’t think we appreciate how far-reaching said culture is. Whether you collect stamps, or use numerological gymnastics to explain why the Raiders are fundamentally superior to the Chargers (which they’re not, stupid Oakland), the moment your interests go beyond recreation and become a personal signifier… congratulations! Welcome to Loserville. Population: You.
Do I have any such signifiers? Cookbooks. I collect cookbooks the way Asian babies collect adorable. In fact, Russell had to put a kibosh on my collecting recently, as my house is officially out of shelf space. I have more recipes archived than I have meals left to make in my life. Hello, my name is Kimberly, and I am a nerd.
- 12 mini or one large eggplant
- 1/2 tub or 9.5 oz tofu
- 4 scallions (white part only), minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tsp Sriracha
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs (plus a little more for topping)
Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Use a melon baller to scoop out guts of eggplant, leaving a thin layer in the skin. Place eggplant “shells” on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Cube tofu, place in a bowl and top with soy sauce, rice vinegar and Sriracha. Stir and allow to marinate while the other ingredients are being prepared. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallions, garlic and sesame seeds. Saute for 2 minutes. Add in eggplant guts, salt and pepper to taste and add 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook until very soft, stirring occasionally. Add eggplant, tofu and panko to a large bowl and stir to combine. Fill eggplant shells with mixture, top with a bit of panko and bake for 25 minutes (or until panko is browned). Yummy and vegetarian. Heresy, I know.
Today’s rant couldn’t have been inspired by a more irrelevant source: Robert Goulet. As in, Las Vegas sensation, messes with your stuff, Robert Goulet. While shopping at a thrift store with Russell last Saturday, I came across an autographed photo (plus a second, random photo we discovered attached to it) of the late performer, and at five dollars, it seemed like a steal. I made Russell pay for it—he has to be good for something beyond eye-candy. Why did I need it? It certainly wasn’t fandom. The most I know about monsieur Goulet is that he sings and Beetlejuice was a really good movie. But the photo was just kitschy enough to fit my life’s nerdy-ass agenda, and not owning it was somehow wrong. It reminded me how not cool I am, and how much happier that makes me. Where am I going to hang it? I was thinking on the ceiling in the children’s bathroom. Robert Goulet watches you poop.
TWTG says, “What are you, some kind of retarded magician!?”