Tag Archives: Dalai Lama

The Nerd in My Class

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

—Dalai Lama

Today’s story is contributed by Elizabeth Parsons

I was one of the cool kids growing up. No prom queen. No belle of the ball. But no reject either.

The nerd in the class? R.J. “Booger-face”, “Dork-dude”. Gangly, mangy and awkward — R.J. was fodder for bullies.

He had few friends. His family was poor. He couldn’t afford the Chuck Taylors, Polo Ts, and Sebagos… the trendy “icons of cool” the rest of us wore.


Liz and her brother Daniel

Teasing R.J. became the unofficial school sport. When he wasn’t the object of jokes, he was completely ignored.

I felt sorry for R.J., and was routinely polite. But I didn’t befriend him, I’m ashamed to say. Having a nerd as a friend would have been social suicide… too much for image-conscious me.

At the time, I was about to turn twelve. There were 32 kids in my class. On the invite list for my twelfth birthday party, only 28. Everyone minus R.J. and a few other “losers.”

Dad asked to see the list. “Who’s missing?” he asked (though I suspect he already knew). The nerds, I thought to myself. “Tina, Jamie, Juan, and R.J.,” I confessed. READ MORE