I Blame My Friend Chris

Me with Hot Wheels circa 1971
Me with Hot Wheels circa 1971

I can pinpoint the place and time from my childhood that has steered my life – the origin of becoming a nerd. Prior to that moment on September 1974, I was your average mild-mannered kid growing up in the early-70’s, wearing wide collared button-up shirts, playing with Hot Wheels on a wicker chair race track. Little did I know my life was going to change forever.

It was the first week of second grade at a new school. Our class consisted of children from a variety of neighborhoods in San Francisco, many bused in, as an experiment to group so-called “gifted” children together, to form this new class (sort of like X-Men but without any mutant powers for us children). Since I knew only one other classmate, a girl, and I was too shy to actually talk in her presence, new friendships needed to be forged and quickly. Recess break came around and I walked out of the classroom to the school yard. Two of my fellow classmates, Chris and Jeff, had taken out a black Hot Wheel car from a pocket and began to play on the ground over in a corner of the yard, secretively trying to put something into the car. Immediately I was drawn to the fact that they were playing with a Hot Wheel so I approached and asked about the car. Chris replied that it was the Green Hornet’s car and they were trying to put a dead bee they had found into the car so they could go and fight crime. I had no idea who the Green Hornet was and why a bee would be in a car to fight crime but I was intrigued at that very moment and had to find out more.

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