I'm going to do something my friend Phil hates: take a subject raised on the group email list we have and discuss it on my own page, rather than among friends. But, since it's relevant to more than just my friends on that list, I thought I'd spread the love around a little. Sarz, Phil. :-)
Paul Graham (whom I don't know from Adam, but isn't that the beauty of the internet?) wrote an interesting little essay on why nerds are unpopular. Summed up ever so poorly, the essay's argument is that nerds are unpopular because they don't take the time or have the desire to handle popularity's upkeep.
I definitely tried to be popular, in a short-lived run that ended in 5th grade. I invited the "cool" girls (plus two of my "nerd"-friends) to a slumber party/birthday party. Since I invited them, I would automatically join the ranks of the priviliged invitees to their next soirees. Yeah, whatever. Needless to say, my little scheme never worked. And that was even the 80s. I hate to think what I'd have to do now.
I wanted to be popular, but as Graham mentions, I wouldn't trade my intelligence for popularity. I secretly envied my best friend, Arwen, because she was smarter than me. But I think in late jr. high and high school, she kind of became tokenly popular, perhaps because some of the valedictorians were actually in the popular crowd as well.
I think, though, that being smart didn't turn me into a nerd. At least if I had been a nerd, I would have been noticed. No, I think intelligence (and/or common sense) made me invisible. I wasn't nerdy enough to even receive the negative attention of the popular crowd. To them, I was simply another person in the school. That was the worst part of secondary education.