Yesterday I asked you to pass judgment on my shortcomings as a nerd and decide what I most need to do in 2011 to shore up my credibility. Nearly 1000 votes later, you overwhelmingly told me the answer is 42, and so I will be reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in the near future and reporting back to you.

A close second was The Lord of the Rings, so while I am not bound by the Slog poll to finish it this year, I have taken your advice seriously and will probably begin that journey as well.

At the risk of further offending your sensibilities, I feel compelled to explain one of the reasons I have never read Hitchhiker. It's that damn wacky green orb on the cover. I KNOW! You are horribly incensed right now! "Never judge a book by its cover!" you scream! "You are so f-ing shallow!" you wail! "I always knew you weren't a REAL nerd, Mary!" you howl into the void!

I am repelled by wacky. Wacky is a construct... not actual silliness or hilarity, but unnatural and forced: "Look how craaaaazy we are!!!" Wacky is the realm of morning DJs and whoopie cushions. I feared that the wacky orb on the cover was a symbol for all the wackiness inside. Year after year when I saw the wacky orb giving me raspberries I would instead reach for Ray Bradbury or Issac Asimov or some other earnest scifi. And that is how it came to be 2011 and I have still failed to read the revered Douglas Adams tome.

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I am ready to be wrong, Sloggers. I promise I am going in with an open mind, eager to sprinkle my conversation with quotes, to begin carrying a towel everywhere I go.

God help me if I don't like it.

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