I get a catalog called What on Earth that has all kinds of unusual items in it. I used to buy unique t-shirts for my son Cory from this company, but his days of willingly wearing things I think are funny are pretty much over. One of the shirts in the catalog this time says, “It takes a lot of energy to simulate normalcy.” I strongly identify with this sentiment and it got me to thinking about not only how exhausting it is to be “normal”, but also how difficult it is to define “normalcy”.
I sometimes think I am “normal” and then I meet other folks who say they are “normal” and it becomes clear to me that I am perhaps just a tish abnormal. I guess that is because “normalcy” is relative (both literally and figuratively, as your relatives may be involved in defining what is “normal” – which depending on your relatives could get quite interesting).
So “normalcy” – what exactly is it? According to The Free Dictionary online it is, “being within certain limits that define the range of normal functioning.” Fabulous…”normalcy” is defined relative to “normal” – so what exactly is “normal” then?
Well, back to The Free Dictionary online for the definition of “normal”, “conforming with, adhering to, or constituting a norm…” – again, the definition is relative to another term – yippee.
One more visit to The Free Dictionary online for a final definition, the definition of “norm” – “a standard, model, or pattern regarded as typical.”
Oh, now I see…a “norm” represents the typical and the “normal” folks are those that are typical and “normalcy” is the general state of being typical. Well…when it is put that way I don’t want to simulate “normalcy”…I don’t want to be typical. I would rather be atypical – or put another way – not “normal” – so I guess I am back to the notion that I am abnormal.
But aren’t we told that different is good? Aren’t we challenged to be different, to be unique, to stand out? If all of us are seeking to be different the process of coming up with definitional frames for typical becomes quite complex. It is exhausting to think about what “normal” is and what it takes to create “normalcy” – clearly, we should pay the sociologists who examine societal norms ad nauseum more money.
As for me, I think I should just buy the shirt and move on.
Day four hundred and five of the new forty – obla di obla da