Painful moments in geekdom |

Painful moments in geekdom

Claire Fortier

There is a moment in every middle-age life when one clearly understands that one is no longer “cool.” It’s a terrible moment when the nightmare of youth manifests itself .

For me, that painful moment happened last week.

While I have never held the self-image of a beauty, I always believed that I had the necessary hipness to escape the dreaded label of geek. What I didn’t possess in looks, I made up for in cool. I had the look, the talk, the swagger.

I knew better than to wear white socks with black shoes or printed shirts with plaid pants. Better yet, I knew never to wear plaid pants.

Last week on the beaches of Maui, I got in touch with my innermost geek. I realized with profound sorrow that I was not only a middle-age woman with more tonnage to lug around than the Pillsbury Doughboy, but I was no longer even remotely cool.

Worse, I learned this through the unspoken disdain of my brother.

Since he lived in Hawaii some 20 years ago, my brother has raved about all things Da Kine. When he lived there, he would beckon me to visit. But at the time, the wages I was living on match what I now give the kids in allowance.

With a friend’s vacation house available to him for free, my brother was anxious to prove his over 40 body could still function against the big Hawaiian surf. And again he invited me to join him. So as my brother lived his “Endless Summer,” I tagged along to play the role of beach babe.

I should have known I was in trouble from the moment I got off the plane. My skin cast off more glare than the brilliant sunlight bouncing off the surface of the sea. Blinding would be an understatement.

There is no denying that I am a white girl – Caucasian from my freckled face to my lily white legs. I have always been a white girl, even when I lived at the beach in my younger years and I could only coax a fiery red hue after a day at the beach. But somehow white is far more noticeable on a blob than it is on a babe.

As I slathered my body with a protective layer of number 100 sunscreen, my brother gave me a hard look.

“Is that the only bathing suit you brought?” he said, trying to be tactful.

I looked down. The seams of my Day-Glo floral one-piece puckered as if struggling against the load. The seat of my suit pooched out after the abuse of last summer’s water park visits with the kids.

I looked at him in his surfer trunks, his own belly tanned but overlapping the waist band.

“You got a lot of room to talk,” I shot back.

He gathered his board as I donned my T-shirt, and we went in search of the perfect set of waves.

I knew from the moment we reached the beach that I didn’t belong there. Buxom blonde babes and Hawaiian beauties sat on the beach, watching as their buff boyfriends battled waves almost three times as tall as they were.

No one moved away from me immediately, nor even after I had been sitting there in my T-shirt for more than an hour. But when I took a swim and came back with my soggy white T-shirt clinging to my sagging body, I noticed I sat alone.

No matter. I had my snorkel and fins to keep me company. But even snorkeling was no comfort when my two left feet hampered by a pair of floppy flippers tried to negotiate the coral-strewn beach.

Face plant, and I ended up with a mouthful of sand and a bloody knee.

About that time, my brother came bounding up, only to stop and slither away.

But I wasn’t about to be the only one humiliated.

“Wait, honey,” I yelled after him. “We need to pick up Junior at the obese children’s day camp.”

Better that those babes think I am his dumpy wife then his once cool sister gone to seed.

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