I just got chased out of the tallest building in Memphis and yelled at by a police officer as soon as I got outside. It came as a shock, but really it’s my fault that it happened, so I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised. I guess an explanation is probably warranted here, but give me a minute to compose myself after what I just went through, because it wasn’t easy. *Deep breath in….deep breath out. Deep breath in….deep breath out* Okay, let’s get this over with. This morning started out like a typical day, waking up to the sounds of something scratching the inside of my wall, while I say a quick thank you to my guardian angel for not letting the nuisance claw its way through the wall and kill me in my sleep. Today at work, the theme was Nerd Day Thursday, the fourth themed day in our associate appreciation week, so I started scavenging my closet searching for something, anything to wear that would make me look nerdy, which I found to be difficult, not because I don’t have anything that would be considered nerdy, but because I feel that most of what I wear to work on a daily basis makes me look like a dork, so I needed to look for something that would make me look more nerdy than usual, lest I look like I just showed up for a regular day of work.
I couldn’t really find anything extra nerdy, like a hat with a propeller or some suspenders or really short pants, so I settled on making the most of what I had, and just buttoned up my collared polo style shirt all the way to the top button. To complete the ensemble I wore the most dorky shoes that I own, crocs, but not just the regular ugly looking crocs, but the kind with the fur inside them like they’re house shoes or something. I absolutely love them. All in all the outfit wasn’t all that nerdy, but there was one more thing that I added, thanks to an idea by one of my coworkers when we were talking about what to wear the other day. She suggested I wear a sign that said “kick me” which is really the most textbook nerdy thing you can wear, so I pinned a piece of printer paper with those two words written in sharpie pen on it, to the back of my shirt, which turned out to be a disaster. It wasn’t pinned on straight so the paper got flipped up at one point and when I sat down in my car to come to work, it tried to fall back down but my back pinned it to the seat before it fell all the way down and pressed it sideways up against the seat where it stayed my entire commute. By the time I got to work it was all crinkled and wrinkled and completely unacceptable, which wouldn’t have bothered me whatsoever if I hadn’t been able to feel it through my shirt sticking up at an awkward angle. I asked Kisha to take it off of me, because as much as I willed myself to be able to reach around my back and unhook the tiny pin that was stuck through both my paper and the shirt, I just couldn’t do it.
She didn’t just take the old sign off, but decided to help me out and make me a new sign, this one written in thick black marker so it would be easily visible to everyone who caught a glimpse of my back. This one said “Kick me. I’m a nerd.” A little harsher than my sign, outright proclaiming me as a nerd, but at least I still had the most crucial part of my outfit and it was all in fun. Customers who came into the bank and caught a glimpse of my back would often snicker, and subtly ask my coworkers who had put it on my back, like they were all in on the joke of me being called a nerd, none of them actually having the heart or decency to tell me that something mean about me was written on my back. At least now I know which customers I can trust, absolutely nobody. When people stopped coming into the bank, I seized the opportunity to go out to my car to retrieve something I’d forgotten this morning. I walked out of the bank then out of the building to the parking lot, and just as I started walking towards my car, somebody burst through the doors, having chased me out of the building, call after me, “Sir! Sir!” I don’t know that anyone has ever called me sir before, so I was a little taken aback, first looking behind me expecting to see someone much more worthy of the title in the parking lot, but she was apparently talking to me. She put her hand on my shoulder, and with sad eyes told me that there was something on my back. By this point in the day I had completely forgotten that I was even wearing the sign since so much time had passed without it being mentioned, but here I was in the parking lot where I work with a good Samaritan feeling sorry for me, the nerd boy.
She told me that she would take the sign off, bless her, but I explained that it was intentional, that the bank where I worked was having a nerd themed day today and the sign was just part of my outfit. She walked away disappointedly, like she wishes I could have been bullied so she could step in and save the day. “I’m so sorry for being fine!”, I wanted to yell at her but I didn’t, I was on a mission to get something out of my car. I turned around and began walking again. “You’ve got something on your back!”, was shouted at me as I walked past three police cars that were parked to my right. I briefly explained about the themed day at the bank and it was all part of the costume, which became tiresome and unbearable to me midway through the explanation. He cracked a couple of unfunny jokes that I didn’t bother to remember. He was nice enough but I broke away as soon as I could to get what I needed from my car. One other person stopped me on my way back in to inform me about the sign, the building’s security guard, which is nice to know that he’s literally got my back, but I told my story once again and went back inside the shelter of the bank where I didn’t have to explain myself to every person I saw. Given the fact that I was worried about leaving for lunch and forgetting about it again, I asked Jalisa to take the sign off my back once and for all, so at least I won’t have to worry about explaining it to anyone else for the rest of the day. The only downside is I actually look like a dork with my normal work clothes and my fuzzy crocs on my feet, and now without the sign nobody is going to say anything to me about it and I won’t have an opportunity to explain myself. I can’t ever win.