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Am I weird? – or are you weird?

By Staff | Jul 10, 2024

I had a conversation this last week with a friend which brought up an interesting question or two. She mentioned that sometimes she and her husband see people do things or say things that makes them think, “Those people seem really weird.”

Then, they pause and ask themselves these questions, “Are those people really actually weird? Or are we the weird ones and those people are the normal ones?” Being the good honest friend that I am, I assured her that she and her husband are, in fact, the weird ones.

Sometimes we need to define our terms. Here are some synonyms for “weird.” I’ve selected a few that cover a wide range in order to get a good idea of the complexity of the word “weird.”

Synonyms: creepy, eerie, eccentric, kooky, mysterious, peculiar, strange, oddball and freaky.

The thing is, there’s good weird and bad weird. And sometimes the line is blurry between the two. I don’t have a problem with people being “eccentric weird;” but when someone is “creepy weird” – well, then, it is just plain creepy.

So, the question needs to be asked. What is the antonym of weird? Some of the opposites of weird include: boring, common, ordinary, plain, familiar, and normal.

Consider that word “normal.” Normal seems to be the quintessential opposite word for “weird.” When I say that, it reminds me of a Steven Wright (comedian) quote: “Don’t you hate people who use big words just to make themselves look perspicacious?”

It’s normal for me to travel to the “land of my nativity” for Independence Day where I gather with extended family. I was in Richfield for the holiday last Thursday. There are traditions to be maintained on that day.

There is the parade, the saluting of the flag, and fireworks. And among other things, there is a Kentucky Fried Chicken lunch and then a formidable, floating fleet of men, women and children down the canal.

The lunch is probably life threatening by ingesting the Colonel’s deep fried 11 secret herbs and spices. And the canal is probably life threatening for more reasons that I have space to list here. But, after all, we’re celebrating the land of the free and the home of the brave.

A weird thing, in a peculiar freaky way, on the 4th of July, was that I found myself at a used book sale on the park in Richfield. This was like the day after having told my friend that she and her husband are weird.

The local public library had tons of books that they were selling for cheap there. I held myself back, but ended up buying nine books for $4. Each one is significant. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it)

And, purely by weird happenstance bonus, I discovered that the woman ahead of me in the book sale check-out line was one of my fellow classmates who lives in Alaska.

Anyway, getting back on track with the topic, one of the books I bought, written by Bernice Kanner, is titled, “Are You Normal?”

I think you know who is going to be receiving that book as a gift. That’s right, me! I’m gifting it to myself. Then when I’m finished with it, I’ll re-gift it to my weird friend.

The book is full of fun facts that can be used to find out how normal you are compared with other people. I’ll give you some excerpts.

“Can you snap your fingers? You’d think everyone could, wouldn’t you? But 32% of us, poor souls, can’t.”

“Do you always wash your hands after going to the bathroom? Mothers of America take pride: you have trained your children well. More than half (54.2%) wash with soap and water all the time…”

“How do you eat an Oreo? Half of all Americans eat their Oreos whole, undoctored. Of the half who pull them apart, 35%

prefer to twist them and 30% to dunk them…some 19% claim to doctor the cookie with ice cream, peanut butter, bananas, or even chili, steak sauce or tuna salad…”

So, you can see that weirdness is relative. One person’s normal, is another person’s weird.

Last fall, we were in Austin, Texas for a football game. Austin, years ago, started a campaign to promote the city. “Keep Austin Weird” became the slogan of the Austin Independent Business Alliance. It was a matter of being unique and taking pride in their brand of “strangeness.”

Some years ago, there was some sort of a similar attempt here in Sanpete. Once in a great while, you’ll still see a “Keep Sanpete Weird” bumper sticker. Local Snow College professor, Alex Peterson, receives credit for that. I think there should be a resurrection of that effort.

I have to constantly remind myself that many (most?) people don’t think like I do. And that’s probably a good thing.

Am I weird? – or normal? I really don’t know. But now if you’ll excuse me, I have a craving for an Oreo with A-1 Steak Sauce. — Merrill

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