Every once in a while, I plan on asking guest bloggers to stop by and answer the question: what's the geekiest thing you've ever done? The Modern Gal, one of my very favorite bloggers, agreed to kick things off for us in style with her ode to Space Camp. Please welcome...The Modern Gal!
A good test of a gal's nerd factor is to find out if she has ever in her life wanted to be an astronaut. I mean everyone in their right mind should want to be an astronaut at some point in his or her life ... space is so cool and space-like! And rockets! And cool space suits!
During my late childhood I was convinced I was going to be an astronaut and was ready to take every step necessary to becoming one, down to aspiring to be an aerospace or mechanical engineering major. But first things first, I had to go to Space Camp.
I wish I could say it was like the movie (which I know we've all seen, right? Right?), but alas, it was not. First of all, neither Kate Capshaw nor any real astronaut was an instructor there. Also, we were at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., which while located dangerously close to a place where they design and build rockets offered no opportunity for an accidental launch into space aboard the shuttle. And I saw no Tom Skerritt, which, you know, swoon. (Can I get a Nerd Man of the Month shout out?)
Anyway, there was still enough to stimulate my nerdiness. Your team “trained” trained for two missions, competed in a space trivia bowl, designed robots and watched space movies at the IMAX theater. At the end of the week, the team that's done the best wins (wins what, I don't remember), but I'm proud to say my team won, aided especially by our sweep of the space triva bowl competions. (Do you know how many astronauts flew on shuttle mission 51-L? I did because I'd already written a paper on that mission for school. The answer is seven for future reference, and may they all rest in peace.)
But here's the thing you need to know about gals and Space Camp. Not all of the female Space Campers were there because they were nerds like you and I. Some were there because their rich parents wanted to get rid of their bratty butts for a week. This is a problem because these gals don't mix well with nerds. Instead, they want to make fun of them, which is exactly what happened when two of these preteen punks ended up in a room with another nerd and myself.
I chose to ignore the obnoxious gals. I had more important things on my mind, like studying for the trivia bowl and the cute nerdy boys on our team, so they left me alone. Unfortunately, they did not leave the other nerdy gal alone and their teasing got so bad that one of the boys on our team told the instructors. But when the time came for punishment, somehow I got dragged in as an accomplice. The other two girls cried as I sat there looking confused. I didn't know why I was there and became upset only when I was asked why I wasn't showing remorse and realized I had no clue what the word remorse meant. When I got home from camp, I looked it up in the dictionary and got mad, because it was then I realized I had no reason to show remorse.
Which is probably why I abandoned my dream of the astronaut. And am now a writer.