The Duchess of Dork

I established my dorkdom at a young age. The summer I was ten, I spent every day reading. Every day. While my sister and best friend whizzed by on their bikes to find adventure, I sat in a lawn chair in front of my house with my nose buried in my latest book. (Carolyn Keene provided enough adventure for me, thank you very much.) One day a neighbor walked over, and in hushed tones, asked my mother if I was sick. "No," my mom said, "that's just Rosemary."

I found out the hard way that not everyone embraced dorkitude with quite the same fervor as I, guys in particular. I distinctly remember sitting around one day in high school with a group of girls and guys, one of whom was my crush at the time. We were sharing our future dreams, and I started rhapsodizing about living on a windswept coast in New England, in a big white house just like the one in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I described a quaint little town with a big library full of dusty old books. When I stopped for breath, I noticed my crush looking at me with a blank face. "That's your idea of fun?" he said, and my fourteen-year-old heart sank. Clearly, we had no future.

As a brand-new teacher, one of the first things I did when I got my paycheck was to become a member of my local PBS station, and proudly sported my Channel Thirteen totebag each morning as I walked in the door. One day a male co-worker pointed to it, saying, "You know what that bag says? That bag says I don't want to get lucky any time soon. " (Actually, “lucky” is my word. He used a different word beginning with L.)

Yes, it’s a Jane Austen shrine. Doesn’t everyone have one?

Yes, it’s a Jane Austen shrine. Doesn’t everyone have one?

Further evidence of Dork-O-Rama:

On a trip to London back in the 80s, I made my husband rent a car so he could drive me 50 miles/83 kilometers to Chawton so I could tour Jane Austen's house. Before it was cool, I might add. Did I mention it was our honeymoon? One of a multitude of reasons I know I married the Right Guy.

I have a collection of Great Women in Literature magnets on my fridge. The Masterpiece Theatre music gives me goosebumps. A Room of One's Own makes me cry. I read Middlemarch every year. I have a Will Shakespeare action figure. (Complete with First Folio!) I bought a Downton Abbey onesie for my non-existent grandchild and a Dorothy Parker shot glass for myself. And there can never be enough costume dramas for me. If it's got corsets, great coats, and British accents, I'm there.

Those of you who rule dorkdoms of your own know what exactly what I'm talking about. Sadly, there are those who never will. But I don't have time to think about them right now.

Because there's a lawn chair outside with my name on it.