Now, nerd is a pigeonhole I'm willing to accept. Not to say there's anything wrong with being a geek -- hell, some of my best friends are geeks -- but I'm not trying to front. I've always felt more comfortable with my head buried in a book than awash in a computer's glow.
I was an overachiever at a very young age -- note the executive realness I served at age three -- in fact, by the time I graduated from high school, I had amassed a laundry list of extra curricular activities that could have very easily made me a social pariah. Along with maintaining a top ten ranking, I was a member of three different National Honors Societies (officer of one), played on both the Academic Decathlon and Mock Trial teams, and wrote for the school newspaper and the special teen section of the local daily, The El Paso Times.
But in life as in study, I was too ambitious to let my nerdiness hold me back. So while I spent my weekends writing essays with a room full of Poindexters who preferred the thrills of multiple choice test taking to tossing around a sports ball, I maintained a healthy social life, which, to my naive mind, also meant picking up a couple of bad habits. The result being that I spent as much time in study as I did in trouble. My reputation for mischief was so strong that by the time I left in 2000, I was on a first name basis with the entire Burges High School security team.
Of course, you don't make it to the top of the GPA food chain without connecting with a keyboard and mouse on the regular. Computers invaded my life in 1985, when my mother, a master's student at UTEP, bought a RadioShack Tandy TRS-80 4P to pound out her thesis on the negative transfer of speech sounds from second to first language. If you're not familiar, the 'P' in 4P stands for portable -- portable like a suitcase full of bricks. It may have been the 4P or a later TRS-80 that I have my first retrievable memories with. There's not much to those memories, but I distinctly recall the tinny circus sounds accompanying the opening animation of Clowns and Balloons and a fez-sporting monkey perched on a high wire.
My real love affair with technology took flight in the summer of 1995 when the Trouts got the internet. I recall the first time I heard the squealing and beeping of dial-up with equal parts horror and fascination. It was an awful, ear-splitting sound, but it signaled my introduction to a world I wasn't privy to growing up under the roof of a West Texas preacher. (I'll leave the more sordid details of my relationship with the internet to my unauthorized autobiography, Fishing with Disaster: The Christopher Trout Story.)
As much time as I've spent chopping and screwing in Photoshop, I've spent probably twice that vigorously clicking away at a keyboard. My bond with my laptop, as I would imagine is the case with most writers, is a close one. I snagged my first
Christopher Trout's isn't the type to burn the candle at both ends -- he prefers dreams to the real world. If you can't find him on the web, he's probably sleeping or out sucking down Manhattans. You can occasionally find him on Twitter (@Mr_Trout), posting pictures of his pit bulls and discussing the pitfalls of cosmetic surgery.