The great philosopher Scott ”Dilbert” Adams succinctly summed up the simple truth: ”Everybody is somebody else’s weirdo.”
Truth sets you free. If you already know others think you’re a nimnod, you don’t have to pretend anymore that you’re not. You get to goof up as much as you like, and no one is surprised. They count on it.
If you, say, cut a hole in the kitchen wall because you forget to let go of the power saw (I’m not saying I actually did this, and please, it is not necessary to ask my wife. She makes stuff up), your family will shrug and say, ”Didn’t really expect anything different. He’s weird that way.”
If you accidentally get a job right, your astounded loved ones treat you like a hero. (Note: While adoration is nice, don’t make perfection a habit. Pretty soon, the chains of raised expectations make a snatch at you, and you lose the freedom to flub.)
If you open your front door on Halloween or step outside on St. Patrick’s Day, you probably witness plenty of peculiar. Festivals grant even the most stuffed of shirts permission to clip on pirate’s beards, wear bed sheets, throw beads or speak in the worst brogue this side of Lucky Charms commercials.
But nothing reaches the height of weirdness as much as what we pass off as normal, everyday behavior.
My wife thinks it’s weird that I won’t use a soup spoon for soup. I tell her my mouth isn’t that big. You should see how weird she looks then. I once unballed all the socks in my drawer and folded them the way I prefer. More weird looks.
My daughter tries on several shades of red when I break out into song in a department store, especially when I’m singing the Barney song to a Barney doll. “Stop being a weirdo!” she hisses before she sprints to the house paints aisle and snatches up a stir stick in case I follow and claim to be related to her.
As the bumper sticker states, ”I’m not weird, I’m gifted.” Exactly.
I saw this sticker on the back of a Chevy Malibu, the same model I drive around my northeast Ohio home. If you think about it, the words “Malibu” and ”northeast Ohio” in the same sentence is, uh, ”gifted.”
Some insane people consider me weird – or possibly gifted – for walking in the rain without an umbrella, an activity I happen to enjoy.
While I stroll through a downpour, the Umbrella People try to thrust all manner of bumbershoots, parapluies and even parasols into my drenched hands as they dash past. They judge my precipitation amble as a sure sign of insanity. Or that my brain is too soggy to work.
But I will not, under any circumstances – possibly including to escape charging bears – get anywhere near the edge of a dropoff higher than five feet. My knees knock enough at three.
I live near scenic ledges. My daughter and sister will sit right on the edge of those cliffs, not caring that the next step is 25 or 50 feet straight down to a sudden stop at the end.
I judge their precipice perching as a sure sign of insanity. Or that their brains are too drained of oxygen to work.
They think I’m the weird one. I’m OK with that.
Besides, the sooner we accept that we’re all weird, the sooner we’re free to build Play-Doh animals at our desks at work, surprising no one.
To quote C.S. Lewis, a professor who created the peculiar world of Narnia, ”Many things – such as loving, going to sleep or behaving unaffectedly (this means not acting weird) – are done worst when we try hardest to do them.”
Embrace the weirdness. After all, you’re already somebody’s weirdo.