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“Normal”

NORMAL

By

Ruth Minshull

 

The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.

— Joe Ancis

 

            The natural extrapolation here is that no one is normal.  Well, that explains a lot, doesn’t it?

            I used to wonder how I had acquired so many weird friends.  Did I do something to attract them?  Everybody I know is wacky one way or another.  But then, this observation by Mr. Ancis cleared things up for me. 

            I thought of all the people I had admired in my life; some I had even placed on a pedestal.  Eventually, as I got to know more about them, I found that they, too, had a bit of screwiness somewhere.  This un-normalness might range from a little quirky to downright certifiable.  It may be attractive and quite tolerable (He’s a little eccentric.) or so looney that people start edging away when he nears them.

            If you look at all the conflicts in the world—between nations, groups, neighbors, family members, siblings, mates—they are always fueled by the conviction that the other party should be perfect.  But isn’t.

            Whew!  No wonder most people have trouble finding Miss Right or Mr. Right.

            Instead of looking for the perfect mate, we should be seeking a ding-a-ling whose flaky ways are a complement to our own flaky ways.  Then (like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle) we might get some kind of a fit. 

            So, from all this, I guess we can conclude that nobody is perfect.  In fact, nobody is even normal (whatever that is).

            I once heard of a woman who had to look under her bed every night before she could go to sleep.  What would she have done if a serial killer had leered up at her?  Or a boa constrictor lay waiting to strike?  Anyway, I assume that she considered herself to be normal.

            Then there was the man who (while a guest in someone’s home) would change the bathroom toilet paper around, if it was not installed according to his preference.  I don’t know if he was an over-the-top kind of guy or a down-from-the-back type–but it had to be hanging his way before he would use the room.  Maybe he thought he was normal.  (Do you think?)

            I am reminded of the old joke about the man who went to a psychiatrist.  “My family made me come here,” he said.

            “And why was that?”

            “Well, Doc, I like pancakes.”

            “Hmm,” replied the psychiatrist.  “Well, I like pancakes myself.”

            “Oh, really?  Where do you keep yours?  I keep mine in a suitcase.”

            The patient seemed to think it was perfectly normal to collect pancakes.  His family, apparently, didn’t.  I presume the psychiatrist agreed with the family.

            People are always blathering about how we should have World Peace.  This idea itself is way off in the ozone.  Most of us can’t even agree with our spouses about what color to paint the kitchen.

            If we really want World Peace, all of us fusspots are going to have to quit finding fault with other people’s battiness and accept one another as a different kind of “normal” from our own.  Then maybe we could be a little more tolerant.  At least, that would be a start.

            I’ll take the first step toward World Peace by recommending that we all agree on the best place to keep our pancakes. 

Personally, I prefer plastic bags.  They pack better.

 

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©2009 by Ruth Minshull

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