Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

The underbelly of me. Like it, or not.

Is it possible that we all have days when we think to ourselves, “Would anybody even like us – if they knew the real us?”


The answers, of course, are … sure we do and yes they would.  Everyone has someone they like or love despite their weird or quirky habits.  One of the best bumper stickers I ever saw? — Everyone is Somebody Else’s Geek.  That logic, right there, was one reason I could embrace the goofy movie Napoleon Dynamite, the film had geek representation from every walk of life imaginable.  Nobody came away smelling like a rose.  More like rose-scented car freshener in a pizza delivery vehicle.


In high school, I can remember watching everyone drift off into their individual cliques and marveling how each group viewed other groups as weird, compared to their own group.  Marching Band may have played at football games, but they didn’t go out to pizza after with the team or the cheerleaders.  Academic-brainiacs may have bought tickets to watch the drama and choir kids perform in the musicals or talent shows, but they didn’t go to dances together.  I’m not even going to try and come up with some common ground that the 4H kids and druggies wouldn’t have agreed on, that just hurts my head.  According to all of the teenagers I speak to, nothing’s changed since the dawn of time.


One of the wonderful things about aging is the maturity and wisdom that eventually show up (dwindling hormones and shifting skin, not so much) and the human playing field is leveled as the sub-groups of youth fall away.  I’ve attended many a dinner party in the last few decades where the couples ‘round the table would have probably never shared a cafeteria bench back in the day, yet they’ve managed to come together (beauty & the beast or geek, cheerleader & the a/v squad leader or gearhead) and not only break bread, but often share offspring.  Whodathunk? 


Somehow, some way many out there manage to find someone who loves them despite the wacky way they brush their teeth, eat their meals (food mixed all together or not touching on the plate, at all) or animatedly talk to themselves when nobody is around (okay, maybe that last one is just me – but I like to think I’m kind of loveable, despite that strange peccadillo).


A while back I heard someone make the comment, “Maybe you wouldn’t like me once you got to really know me.”  If you picture that dialogue taking place on the doorstep of a creepy castle with thunder in the background or a roadside motel in the middle of nowhere – it’s weird, right?  But, this was just a guy talking to a girl over lunch.  Maybe he had self-esteem issues, but who among us hasn’t thought how negatively others would perceive us behind closed doors, or scarier still, if they stared directly into our very souls.


None of us is perfect.  None among us are spotless, germ-free or without fault.  Pointing out at over a sea of people I’m pretty sure you will not find a single individual completely pure of thought or heart.  Once upon a time I would have thought that a terrible shame, but I realize that the imperfections in our make-up are the very things that allow us to feel empathy, compassion and love for someone else.  If we have nicks, scars and eccentricities then maybe, just maybe others do, too.  If we take a chance at learning to look past, accept and maybe love the foibles of others then we are allowed to hope that they can do the same for us.


Thank goodness some among us eventually learn to tolerate idiosyncratic behavior in one another.  For example, me, I don’t snore, but when I’m extremely tired I snurfle.  Sort of a cross between a snuffle and a gurgle, like the sound sea monkeys probably make if you amplified them (and if they lived more than two days in a row to carry out that acoustic experiment).  It’s also been pointed out that I seem to have more than a few ADHD tendencies, getting easily distracted by random auditory noises or arbitrary thoughts that float by.  And heaven help you if you’re sitting too close when something tickles my funny bone.  In fact, 25 years ago a grown man dragged me out of a public movie theater because he thought I laughed too loudly at something that was uproariously funny (sorry Mr. Crankypants, but I now have the forum to point out that history has shown that 93% of the American audience agreed with me and that film is now on AFI’s top 100 funniest films).  I also happen to like mustard on watermelon – but far as I know, there are no laws against it and most gracious hostesses would turn a blind eye if they saw me eating it.


Life goes on and we all have things that make us odd and unbearable to some, yet charmingly quirky and quite possibly entertaining to others.  There is no such thing as a perfect human being (though that Dudley Moore fellow did come mighty close in my mind) and perhaps none of us are fit for proper company if we got down to brass tacks.  Maybe too, society has us brainwashed to believe that if we had minty fresh breath, perfect skin, Chiclet shaped & glowing white teeth, runway size 0 bodies or packing the 52 year old awesome abs of Dennis Quaid and the I.Q. of a Mensa engineer we would be worthy of adoration.  Truth is, some of the best-loved individuals out there are the ones who were (or are) different.  Show me two Marilyn Monroes, Elvis Presleys, Urkels or Ah-nolds.  What?  One of a kind you say?  So different, out of the ordinary, unusual and quirky!  Loved by some and reviled by others.


As for me, I don’t mind if someone thinks I’m different, quirky, unusual or not so easily compartmentalized into a group.  I feel that way about the people I meet, too.  There is a great pleasure in meeting and talking to people despite their past cliques or current groups.  The human heart and mind are like no other mechanisms on the planet and science has yet to replicate or fully understand how they work.  That’s part of the fun after all, getting to know whether we would like you, once we got to really know you.

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