“I sometimes suspect that it’s all a big conspiracy, and that they all are just not telling me… that I’m actually a Down syndrome.”
Words from a computer-geek friend of mine from Uni. The guy in question (“Ace” by nickname) was big, floppy, a bit overweight and very, very funny. He had this “floppy puppy” way of moving, and used his whole body as an expression of humour-in-motion. If I’d have had to classify him a syndrome, I wouldn’t have picked Down’s (though he had the typical friendliness). I’d have had a tough time to decide between a Prader-Willy (body build and phlegmatic enough, but too social) and an Angelman’s (permanent smiley-face but he was far too intelligent for that).
Nerds and geeks are a lot more technical in their daily speech than this guy was. He wasn’t far enough removed from daily reality to qualify as a nerd. He could actually hold a conversation for a full hour without mentioning motherboards and midi interfaces once. (I had a friend, “Sir Lancelot”, who definitely fell into the category of “nerd” in that way.)
Actually Uni yielded a lot more colourful characters than school. Everyone at school was “normal”. Ok, we had our “Simba” who jumped from the rail of the first floor down onto the lawn below just because he wanted to; and our “Pinkie” who got up to nonsense, and our kid who had had polio (! actually!) and was walking with a limp – if you’re reading this, you know I’m talking to you, remembering your sweet personality the character Wolf in Solar Wind is dedicated to you, but only after he stops beating up people in pubs and starts getting nice. We had our artist who was dyslexic (wow just spelling the word you can become it). We as a class were very protective of him, once we found out… in the eleventh grade!
Yup, strange, mostly the boys come to mind under the topic of “funny-looking kids”, we girls were very well-behaved. Though in the class next-door there were a few who trained their hair into spiked hedgehog looks and more curls than a poodle – the 80’s were a weird time, I tellya!
We even had a teacher who did a hand-stand on the edge of the cliff at Oribi Gorge (we all still have photos). But the kids in school were on-the-whole really normal. (Believe me! No, really!)
At Uni on the other hand, there was the guy who came to class in a monk’s cowl and went around blessing everyone. There was also the oddball who came to Uni in nothing but a T-shirt and a towel. And under the towel? Barefoot, of course. (What was behind the towel I won’t venture to guess.)
This leads me to the conclusion that if in my school class there were no funny-looking kids (and every class must have at least one) – yikes, it must have been me!