Flash: Fulcrums at Twenty Paces

Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

“Why do people think nerds are pathetic, compliant doormats?”

My significant other looks up from his video game, taking a moment to see if this is a general rhetorical question not expecting an answer, a random sentence to generate conversation, or another one of my random thoughts where I genuinely want an answer. The challenge for him is usually, like in this case, it’s all three. Bless him, Michael responds cautiously. “Beā€¦cause, maybe, they are?”

“Nah, that can’t be the case. I mean look at you and me.”

He barks a laugh. “Not winning the argument there.” He motions with the controller in his hand at the book in my lap.

“No, I mean, we really stick to our guns and are not moveable.”

“Sure, we tell the world ‘No, you move.’ all the time.” The sarcasm drips like honey from a hive. As I take the coaster I wasn’t using from the end table and drop it between the pages as a bookmark, he puts his game on pause. This is about to get fun. “No, babycakes. Nerds are glasses-wearing mobile doormats.”

“No, wait. That exactly proves my point.”

“Riiiiight.” The maybe love of my life, still deciding on where we are going with this, smiles a crooked smile. “I need logic babycakes. You are skipping steps in that head of yours again.”

“So, glasses and nerds are synonymous right?”

‘Agreed. Pretty much.” The man being the exception to the rule; my bifocals making up the difference for the average of nerds and glasses within this household.

“Is it because nerds are automatically nearsighted, and no one else is,” I bounce the book on my knee, “Or are they so bad-ass when they can’t see right, the go ‘well, hell no’ and get it fixed? So many people ‘hide’ their seeing issues by not wearing glasses or ‘hide’ their hearing issues because it seems ‘uncool.'”

“I can see that.”

“Exactly, nerds just get it fixed, put the stuff on their face for everyone in the world to see, and get on with it. Ain’t nothing going to slow them down.”

He holds up a finger. “A fallacy for the argument. Nearsighted or farsighted or whatever the vision issue is, you don’t have a choice. Glasses are needed.”

“I would agree, except I see so many people taking glasses off and hiding them.” I grimace. “Meanwhile I can remember fighting at least three times in school with people trying to do keep-away with my glasses. I always won.”

“You, babycakes, are crazy.”

“I like seeing, and I will fight for it.”

“But will you fight for other things?” He fiddles with the controller, not making eye contact.

“Hmm.” I spin the paperback in my lap, considering. “I fix things more than fight for things.”

He brings his beautiful browns up to meet my eyes. “An important difference.”

“Yeah. I guess that is how I’m bad-ass. Refusing to let things just sit if I got the time and energy to fix them.”

“Hence nerds being inventors.”

“Bad-ass inventors.”

Michael smiles indulgently. “Bad-ass inventors.”

“Computers, lights, the internet, weaving.” I bounce the book again. “Nerds look at the world and go ‘No, you move.'”

That Captain America meme really struck us both hard, but, this time, he didn’t agree it applied. “Actually, isn’t more like ‘Here’s a band aid, get better?'”

“Point.” I press my lips together, then lick them. “Except, no, nerds are trying for a permanent fix to a problem. I guess it is more ‘I got a fulcrum and know how to use it.'”

“I like that.”

“Bad-ass nerds applying fulcrums.”

“Is no basis for a system of government.”

“It should be.”

He nods as he turns back to the screen, unpausing the game.

I whisper under my breath. “It really should be.” Removing the coaster and returning it to the end table, I go back to my reading, still thinking the girl nerd in the book is being too much of a pushover for her werewolf love interest.

(words 670; first published 12/15/2022)