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This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Texarkana Gazette, Inc. We graded them from A to E. It would have taken a deliberate lie to say otherwise. My stock gradually rose during high school. So I’ve seen a good part of the popularity landscape. The key to this mystery is to rephrase the question slightly. In the schools I went to, being smart just didn’t matter much.
I wanted to be popular. But in fact I didn’t, not enough. I wouldn’t have taken it. To them the thought of average intelligence is unbearable. But most kids would take that deal. And that, I think, is the root of the problem.
American school kids work at popularity. I don’t mean to suggest they do this consciously. For example, teenage kids pay a great deal of attention to clothes. They don’t consciously dress to be popular. They dress to look good. But “enough” depends on where you are.
Few smart kids can spare the attention that popularity requires. American kids, I read this book in school. This was too subtle for me. I didn’t get the additional message. How could things be any other way? Adults don’t normally persecute nerds.