Morning Coffee Blog: Normal is Weird

    Had some tricky dental work yesterday that has left bits of my head feeling somewhat broken, so I’m not anticipating a hugely productive day.

    Like many dentists mine has monitors mounted so the patients can watch whatever they like on Netflix. Both the assistant and the doctor asked me what I’d like to watch and didn’t quite understand when I told them “nothing” because I really don’t watch much TV and don’t really know what’s on Netflix in the first place. They repeated the question a couple of times because it was clear the very notion of someone going through their lives not watching some form of TV was just… alien.

    I like my current dentist a lot, everyone there is very kind, skilled and efficient, and also exceedingly normal. Ever since I can remember I’ve always been… not. From the weird nerdy kid who was bullied, to a rebellious 16-year-old in the post Punk/Goth scene of the 80s, right up until today where I make a living designing and building puppets of all things, I’ve always been aware of the clear separation of what one might call “the mainstream” from “the counterculture”. These definitions shift over time, of course, but they’re always there.

    The important thing is this is, above anything else, a mental difference, and once you make that leap, there’s no going back. And the thing I’ve realized most of all in my many decades of observation is that normal people are so unbelievably weird. The constant assessment of everything against some gold standard of “normal” is a sickness, a dangerous obsession and all-consuming fever. Every act or thought must be held up to this yardstick as the only thing that matters. Ethics, morality, and empathy do not matter, all that matters is “am I normal? Is this thought normal? Are my clothes normal?” etc.

    I will be forever grateful I shed the mental burden of “normal” early in life. It was a great gift. It’s never been easy of course, but I can look back on my life and be proud that, no matter whatever else I’ve been, at least I wasn’t normal.

    Time for my normal coffee.

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