A few days ago, I was on a bus, which is a place where you can sometimes find me. This particular route took me past the local high school. At the stop for the school, a young man in front of me got off the bus. He had almost missed his stop since he had his head lowered, attention fully into a book in front of him.

When he passed by the window to my side, I got a good look at him for the first time. He had almost comically uncombed hair. He wore glasses with large frames and lenses. His clothes were of a practical nature. His pants went down only to the top of his ankles, leaving his socks exposed. My last glimpse of him was the squinty expression on his face.

Of dozens and dozens of high school kids that I’ve seen get off this bus, I had never seen him or anyone like him before. He kinda reminded me of myself. Ok, so perhaps I had slightly better fashion sense than my bus doppleganger but there was a lot of familiarity there. I was just as awkward as this kid in high school.

I began to wonder about his life. Was he smart? Yeah, I think we can safely assume that he is indeed intelligent. Does he have friends? How does he get along with the other kids? Does he get picked on? Does he have a girlfriend? What does he do for fun? What’s his family life like? What does he have planned for after high school?

I have no idea why, but I really wanted to know more about this kid. It got me thinking later that there should be specialized mentors for people like myself and this kid, in the high school years. There should be nerd mentoring. Grown-up (or nearly grown-up) nerds like myself should mentor fellow and younger nerds in high school. At the very least, we should be able to tell them there’s a bigger world out there where they’re appreciated for who they are and what they’re capable of. At the same time and this is obviously less important, the mentors could also work with the mentees on social skills.

I wonder how I could start such a thing. It would be kinda weird if I marched into some school office and said, “Give me a list of the three biggest nerds here. I gots me some nerd mentoring to do.” Would a school even officially sanction something like that? Geez, I wonder what their parents would say. I might have to do this clandestinely. “Chris Hansen from Dateline? What are you doing in this house?”

In any case, my bus doppleganger, whatever your situation is, I hope you’re happy and cool being you.

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