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The origin of nerds

In loving memory of Mikhail Kalashnikov (November 10, 1919 - December 23, 2013)

“The problem lay buried, unspoken for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban housewife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night, she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question: ‘Is this all?’”
    ~ Betty Friedan, Feminine Mystique (1963)

I’m a nerd. I’d like to figure out just what’s transpired
To make of my kind laughingstocks, our sex lives down and out;
Enough of us exist, it’s clear that we weren’t undesired
Through history, until some social change was brought about;

Once upon a time, a lady seems to have been happy
Dedicated to the kind of fellow now called nerd,
Even if he was of age enough to be her pappy
And she raised his kids; if she complained, we’ve never heard;

Of Bach’s wives, the second flourished in the prime of youth
While old Bach sat capturing his music, as his fun;
Kepler’s second wife stood by her man, long in the tooth
Calculating how the planets travel ‘round the sun;

Generations later, Edison had the same story:
His young wife sat patiently, invention by invention;
Tesla spurned all lovers as he rode his path to glory
Later to regret that he’d not paid them some attention;

Tell me, Mikhail, what could’ve brought on the reversal
That arranged the modern nerd at loss to find a wife?
Has man’s science rendered woman’s role now universal
Frankenstein penned by a woman jealous to bear life?

Or is it procurement of capacity for death
Brokered by the few who’ve surged in their fanaticism
Vying for an empire ruled by fear and shibboleth
That’s made us the chaff of what’s now known as feminism?

Which force makes woman take upon herself the role of man?
The force of an abstract ideal — equality — or fear
That senseless to what ties may bind, what love may twined hearts span,
Our modern man is made, with trigger’s ease, to disappear?

Susan, born in wake of Waterloo to grace our dollar,
Came of age with cartridges, slugs and percussion caps,
Fought the gender gap as civil war ensured a smaller
Population of the men who for the rest played “Taps”;

We can wish her school had let her study long division
And her district let her vote in its run-off election;
Would we then not have to face a world of staunch derision
Or no more than dream the joy of sharing an erection?

More than just our guns and ammo leave us feeling stupid
Farnsworth bade his very kids eschew the very screen
On which played his moving pictures, rendered trash — which Cupid
Visits us who’ve toiled to show what we’d fain leave unseen?

Man competes with woman now for dwindling pools of jobs
Sourced to lands tamed to the sound of submachine gun patter
Killing chivalry — can woman bond to him who robs
Life, its joy, or him who feels his life can hardly matter?

Given, as it is, for ends too readily foreseen:
The opening of ever broader avenues for trade
Graced by woman’s image in each ad shown on each screen —
We’ve found this way to use her, and for these shots she’ll be paid;

What’s her pay for being bitchy? Why demand respect?
Isn’t love exchanged with those around her all she’d need?
If their self-respect is lacking, who shall we suspect
For her scorn — ourselves, or those well armed by us to lead?

Why reach for the priest in search of pointless absolution?
When the soul’s in pain, there’s not much anyone can do;
Why take aim at Hitler in vain quest for a solution
When for sure your aim outstretches just one war, or two;

We nerds seldom put our own inventions into use;
That’s left to brash generals or smooth politicos
Or their ilk for whom they gladly let destruction loose:
Your elites in dachas, my world-famous CEOs;

You and I are smart enough to know for whose enrichment
We’ve been wooed to sacrifice our clasping piece of heaven;
Those who would’ve loved us bare but our own disappointment,
Since they bear the victims of the AK-47.

    January 2014

Thanks always returns

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