Tradition

"It's really too bad—while I was in the psych ward, I missed out on my annual Super Bowl Sunday tradition."

"You have a Super Bowl tradition?"

"Not what you're thinking. Since 2008—well, not this year—I've made a point of reading something by Evelyn Fox Keller during the game."

"Awfully specific tradition. How did that happen?"

"On third February 2008, I worked a long closing shift at my job at the supermarket, and during my lunch, the game was on the television in the breakroom, and I sat there trying to ignore it, reading my copy of Reflections on Gender and Science. And, you know, I was really proud of that image—as a symbol of what I am, in contrast to what mainstream American culture expects men to be. So I read from the same book next year. And from Making Sense of Life and the Barbra McClintock biography and The Mirage of a Space Between Nature and Nurture on subsequent Super Bowl Sundays. I'm proud that I remember this, as opposed to remembering the games. Only it's funny."

"What?"

"That I should feel proud of being ignorant of something. Nerds being proud that they don't know what jocks know, and jocks being proud that they don't know what nerds know, are both expressions of the same underlying psychology, just anchored on different subcultures. If I really wanted to show what a special snowflake I am, I'd find some delightfully quirky way to break the symmetry."

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