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Springtime for the Nerds of Samohi

by Jeffrey Bell-Zekas, Class of 1972

Spring brings flowers, blue skies, pretty girls in short dresses and of course, "spring fever". The nerds of Samohi were not immune to the call of nature. Of course, in March of 1970, we weren't called "nerds"--the term used was "geeks", as in "long-necked geeks with pocket protectors".

Yes, my buddies and I were nerds. Thick glasses, button-down collars, flood pants and an affinity for esoteric conversation marked us as "weirdos". But we were happy weirdos, and besides, it was spring. All the cute coeds were wearing super-short mini-skirts and tube tops. Their long hair was flowing in the seabreeze, like newly arisen venuses on the half-shell. In short, the Samohi campus was a paradise.

Our gang of nerds was led by Fred "The Comic" Manseau and Bill "Clarence" Hannah. These two guys were the original odd couple: Fred was loud and satirical, while Bill was soft-spoken and ironic. Along with the other "Misfits of Montana Avenue", we would sit in the Greek Theater, observing the native beauties.

Fred was infatuated with a particular beauty, by the name of Terry Babst. Terry was a gorgeous, sexy "bad girl", who smoked cigarettes and emanated the raw sensual power of Sharon Stone. In short, she was incredible, and for a nerd, untouchable. However, it was spring, and Fred couldn't stand it any longer.

"Hey, just go up and say hi to her. She won't bite least, I don't think she will," I laughed, teasing Fred mercilessly. He finally broke down.

"Okay, okay, I'll talk with her...maybe she'd let me take her picture," Fred replied, half-heartedly. Fred was a camera addict, owning every possible piece of photo gear imaginable. He loved doing nature photography, and wasn't a beautiful girl, uh, kinda like nature?

The next day, Fred came to school, his Nikon and seventeen different lenses hanging from his neck. He was shaking with excitement and fear. But it was too late to turn back now. The woman of his dreams was standing ten feet away.

"Hey, Terry, can I take your picture?" he said nonchalantly, as he sauntered up to her, in his best Richard Avedon imitation.

"Sure!" she replied. Twenty minutes and ten rolls of film later, Fred was sated. He thanked Terry, and slipped back into nerd-land. Fred had talked to a pretty girl, and survived! Maybe there was hope for the rest of us? Maybe we wouldn't be geeks forever? Maybe, someday, nerds would be respected, loved, even famous? And twenty-five years later, Bill Gates proved us right.