Napoleon Dynamite

when i was in elementary school, i tucked my shirts into my underwear, i didn't feel comfortable unless my socks were pulled up to my knees, i played Dungeons & Dragons, i got good grades, i drew comics, i was a crossing guard, i went to school with enrique iglesias (no joke), and almost every sentence he ever said to me began or ended with the word "nerd." which never bothered me. i had my own definition for the word:

nerd n. an intelligent, creative person unfettered by fashion.
although i never articulated it that well, i had already accepted being a nerd as a desirable alternative to being cool. i was proud of it. looking back, i am prouder still. it seems like all my favorite grownups were once the geekiest kids in school.

Napoleon Dynamite is a movie about the geekiest kid at Preston High School. the plot is threaded together like a series of comic strips but i laughed out loud from the opening scene to the closing tetherball performance.

© 2004 rama hughes

when i was in middle school, my friends and i invented a game called Brigandball. i don't know why we called it that but it was amazing fun for rowdy young boys. here are the rules:

1. one player, it, swings a tetherball around his head.
2. the other players form a wide circle around him.
3. each players tries to tag the person who is it without getting hit by the tetherball.
4. if a player does get hit by the tetherball, he starts over outside of the circle.
5. if a player tags the person who is it, he becomes it and being it in Brigandball is a whole, whole lot of fun.
Brigandball worried our parents but my friends and i would play until the sun went down. we would return home, battered and bruised, and exhilerated and hungry. i wish i had a gang of friends as eager to beat each other up as i did when i was in middle school. i'd be in much better shape.