Graham and I went to the mall yesterday so that Katie could tell me where to buy boots. I don’t ever go to the mall so I never know what’s there or how to find it, and she works at the mall and when I told her that I liked her boots, she said she’d go with me to buy a pair. All I had to do was pick her up from work, which was fine because she lives close to me and she gets a 20% discount at the shoe store.
The mall was the last stop in a chain of Bullshit To Do On A Sunday, so we arrived about 45 minutes early. First we went inside H&M, because it was right next to the entrance we chose and I needed a giant sweater. Second, we went to the bookstore and got coffee. Third, we went to this game and puzzle store, where two of the scariest nerds I’ve ever seen talked to us non-stop about Metallica.
Look, it’s fine to be a nerd. I completely understand the social awkwardness, the love of sci-fi and fantasy, and the preference to stay indoors and eat snack foods. I get it. However, I do think that even if you don’t spend much time in public doing things everyone else likes to do, bathing and other forms of basic hygiene are still required.
The game and puzzle store smelled like nerds. It smelled like dirty hair and unwashed bedsheets. It smelled like Magic: The Gathering games and people who have never exercised. It smelled a little bit like bad breath, too, which was obvious because the two girls who worked there shared maybe six teeth between them. It was a pair of meth mouths without the meth, like substituting in was a steady diet of Mountain Dew and Sour Patch Kids. The one who spoke more had the most teeth, including a pair of incisors rotted clear through the middle and receding into surprisingly pink, protruding gums. The other one had only one tooth that I could see, but at least it was a long one, and at least it was in front. As a person with not extremely white teeth (who brushes at least twice a day – sometimes three! – but also drinks a lot of coffee and has one front tooth that seems to be super into getting root canals), I know what it’s like to live in a world where veneers are available and lots of people want to pay for them. But like I said in those parentheses, I brush my teeth. A lot. And you can’t get rotted teeth or just one tooth in your whole head if you brush your teeth.
You also can’t spread nerd sickness, which is apparently what happened to Graham and I. I left work at 10:30 because I’d already done more e-mails in 3 and a half hours than Shit Sandwich does in a whole week and I’d felt like throwing up the whole time. When I got home, Graham was curled up moaning in a blanket on the couch. There are very few things I like about my job, but the ability to use sick time when you feel like garbage is certainly a benefit. It’s a benefit Graham doesn’t have, so when he got to work and sent me this:
“I think one of those nerds rolled a 10 and hit me with a +7 virus. Can’t stop sweating or shitting. I hate this day.”
…I felt pretty sorry for him. I also thought it was hilarious. If I felt at all like crawling out of this giant sweater and leaving the house, I’d go tell those nerds to take a goddamn shower and brush their goddamn teeth and stop making people sick.