Sunday, September 29, 2013

THE POLITICS OF LIFE

Going along, getting along. Somehow I missed class that day in school — that, or I was ignoring the teacher and flinging spitballs. Either way the result is the same: I am politically tone-deaf when it comes to life. It seems I do not play well with others.

This never really bothered me until recently, when someone described me as "quirky." Other words, too, sure, but the Q-word hit me in the face like a drunk man's fist following a bar argument about string theory (it has been my experience that theoretical physicists are terrible drunks, often prone to violent outbursts when challenged on black hole thermodynamics).

Quirky, to me, sounds like a behavior one expects from a crazy uncle locked in the attic, a personality flaw that inevitably leads to involuntary hospitalization and forced meds. Despite the opportunity to sample various SSRIs and Haldol, this does not sound like the way to spend a vacation.

"I just want to be normal," I mumbled to a friend over breakfast. "You know, the sort of person who can go to a work party and not be afraid."

My problem, it seems, is the lack of a filter. I sometimes (often) say things that some (many) people are thinking. They, being normal humans, bite the insides of their cheeks and remain quiet. I'll just tell someone they're an idiot and the next thing you know, feelings and body parts are hurt.

Unfortunately, the big-box stores don't sell filters for personalities, and despite my best efforts and intentions, I've been unable to germinate the seeds of one inside my hothouse. The only things that grow there are noxious weeds not fit for human consumption.

The other morning I watched the sun rise after a sleepless night and wondered whether I'll ever be able to join the land of the normal. Or whether I'm even suited to visit there.

On the upside: the suicide story is written. It'll air a week from today.

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