Who Needs Socrates When You’ve Got Love? : My First Fan Letter in 28 Years

diaryDear John and Hank Green,

I hate you both.

You have cast me back into a time long forgotten, now remembered again in horror and shame. A time of upheaval and pain. A time of pink diaries locked with tiny gold locks. A time of laminated kitten pictures.

It began with “An Open Letter to Students Returning to School.” Later– I can only believe I was drunk– it was “Giraffe Love.” Things quickly degenerated into hours of Hankgames, greedily memorizing your witty tidbits between plays.

And now I sit here, dreamily trolling through four years of vlogs instead of feeding my dog. Now I scramble to learn Zeno’s paradox, when The Meno was all I ever needed. Or wanted.

I am smitten, and in return, you carelessly smite my fragile, hard-won adulthood.

You have forced me to draft this fan letter– the first I have written since I sent a package of homemade chocolate chip cookies to the pre-hobbit Sean Astin for his jaw-droppingly brilliant performance in The Goonies— and to cloak my shy, sweet double crush in ribald satire, merely to preserve some tiny, tiny shred of dignity.

You have turned me back into a drooling, squealing, hand-fluttering t-shirt-buying social-media-stalking groupie twelve year old, the likes of which of I have not seen in eight hours, since I am a middle school English teacher and school is out now.

Did I say I hate you? One requires a certain amount of emotional distance, decorum, dare I say, when one teaches pre-teens. You have blown all that to hell. Students can smell it, you heartless beautiful blogging fools. How will they ever take my my faultless grammar, my arched eyebrows, my arch remarks rife with literary references they have yet to discover, my clean but not overstarched dress shirts and kitten heels, seriously again?

No. All that is gone.

Soon, despite my best efforts at concealment, they will enter the room. They will see me in a Nerdfightaria t-shirt. I will be giggling about brooms who “overswept” and muttering something about “Bald John Green” and slash fiction. I will be doing the Happy Dance. And all attempts from then on to impress upon them the importance of the Oxford comma in keeping our civilization alive, via the sheer gravitas of my tasteful pearl jewelry, will be for naught. Naught.

You have ruined me.

Don’t ever write back to me again. Or for the first time.


Dina Strasser

UPDATE: Katie Sauvain, in a much more serious and very lovely post, also reflects through the generational lens upon John and Hank Green and Nerdfightaria. Her blog is deeply intelligent and a great read. Go give it some love.

3 thoughts on “Who Needs Socrates When You’ve Got Love? : My First Fan Letter in 28 Years

  1. As a fellow middle school English teacher, I can say that only good things will come of this. After reading The Fault in Our Stars cover to cover, I came in to school the next day and gave it to an 8th grader. Since then, that copy has been read by dozens of middle schoolers, high schoolers, and grown-ups. They email me in the middle of the night saying their hearts are broken but they want to read something like that again immediately right now and do I have any suggestions? (Finally, I do: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr.)

    Here’s something I wrote about a Green Brothers reading/concert extravaganza last January–I think it better captures all the feelings I can’t fit into this comment:


    Thanks for writing, in general, by the way. Yours is my favorite English teacher blog and I’m glad you’re back.

  2. What a wonderful comment this is, for a multitude of reasons. Thank you so much. At 42, it’s easy to see I have a related generation-based experience; although I joke about it in the fan letter, the thought does pass through the mind as to whether I’m “too old” to be a Nerdfighter. (I know I’m not.)

    I’m going to refer folks to your terrific blog post on the Nerdfighter gathering; in the meantime, perhaps you’d like to join Luke Neff and I in compiling a list of Best Vlogbrothers/John Green videos to share in class, or chime in on any other aspect of Greenery that has worked for you as a teacher.

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