Different isn't bad. In fact, I think different is exciting. It throws a curve ball into the hum-drum, monotonous rituals we call our lives. But we are programmed to stop and question difference, because there is so much we expect to be the same. That's why we pick and choose what we remember. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life we, as humans, can't possibly remember every little detail. So we compartmentalize, stereotype, associate and sometimes brush off certain traits and behaviors of ourselves and others. Only to one day look back and say, "huh, shoulda seen that coming."
Being the leftist that I am, I could give a crap less who is gay, straight, curious or confused. But in looking back, I should have known a member of my family was going to be gay. At the age of eleven he decorated his room in New Kids on the Block paraphernalia. We're talking about posters, lampshades, T-shirts and even a complete bedding set. OK, you may say. So what? Well he also had toys he played with. While his brother played with GI Joes and Tonka trucks, he played with barbies. Our family looked at this as childhood exploration. In his teens he wanted to wear purses, which his mother justified as "cool handbags." He also took noticeable interest in the latest fashions, and was fluent in floral arrangements. "He just has an eye for decoration," his mother would say. Needless to say, we've all known for some time that he is gay, though my grandmother still thinks there is "hope" for him to find a nice girl. Nobody gives a shit, but looking back is kind of a slap in the face. Gosh, it's easy to be blind.
Or how about the kid in gym class that runs with his arms dangling by his side? It's not even comfortable to do that. In dodgeball, he was always the first to get out. In his defense, it's hard to dodge flying obstacles when you look like an epileptic fish, flopping about, gasping for your last breath. Sure, he may now be the head programmer for some computer company, but probably still a social outcast nonetheless.
What about the kid who laughs without smiling. You didn't think it was possible, did ya? But it is. I've seen it. Next time you see a flock of children (yes, they run in flocks) just look for little Johnny-no-fun. All of the schoolmates laughing, smiling merrily in the playground. Then there is the kid in the corner making weird noises with a look of confusion on his face like, WTF am I doing? If you can't track him down by his awkward noises, just look for the kid running with no arms. They're probably hanging out together.
In summation, the people described above are often seen as social outcasts. They are deemed as such by us of the 3rd-world country social standards of marginally-attractive citizens, and they often turn out to be functional, successful members of society. And sometimes our friends. But we can still laugh at them, as we sit home at our mother's house, alone, blogging about other people.
God, I wish I was an outcast...
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