Posts Tagged ‘individualism’

An Argument Against Average
By Norton Nearly

One Saturday afternoon when my daughter was eleven, she came home from a sleepover a bit disgruntled with dear old Mom and Dad, mostly Dad. Immediately upon entry into our home, just as Mommy and Daddy were reaching out to welcome her home, she accosted.

“Everyone watches professional football except one oddball family…us”

Huggy arms retracted rather quickly, kinda looking and feeling like a worm drying out on a hot sidewalk. I was not happy with teen-ager attitude spewing forth between the newly-braced teeth of my eleven-year-old. But I took the positive path and explained that I used to be a huge football fan, but quit in a well-reasoned decision to become more actively engaged in doing over watching. I reasoned that since I piloted a desk all week, I needed to commit more free time to active outdoor pursuits. I chose to hike, bike, paddle, camp and the like.

This guy went on to explain that in her Dad’s humble opinion, it was not only ok, but in fact preferable to be an oddball. Thank you very much for the compliment dear daughter. Katie, like me, was more of an oddball than she knew and anyway, there was no freakin way she could sit still and watch a football game for four hours.

I figured it made sense to look up the word oddball in the dictionary. The American Heritage Dictionary defined oddball as a person marked by eccentric behavior or thinking. What a compliment…right? The dictionary went on to say that a synonym for oddball is weirdie. Now that’s a weird word I thought. I always thought the synonym for oddball was weirdo. So I looked up weirdie and it said, an unusually strange person, thing or event, synonym: weirdo. OK, finally things were kinda coming full circle. So then I figured I should look up the root word, weird which said, of an odd and inexplicable character. None of this was bothering me a bit. I rather like being a weirdie. Daughter tends to tire of my forays into dictionaryville, even to this day, but she went along. That is until I opined rather exuberantly that weird itself is a weird word. I mean, isn’t the rule i before e except after c? Therefore shouldn’t weird be spelled wierd? Who decided that it would be clever to spell wierd in a weird way? This is the point at which I lost daughter’s attention much as I am probably losing you right now…but really isn’t that a bit wierd? I mean weird.

Our conversation recovered a bit after the whole dictionary fiasco. Katie came around to understanding that doing what everyone else does is not automatically a good thing. She realized that her outfit choices all her life sort of exemplified her individuality, even oddballness. As we talked she came to see the positives in being oneself even when that is in opposition to the norm. Successful conversation.

Later that day, I landed on an idea. I like to show things as much as talk about things. I went out to the shed and dug out the old 1970’s girl’s banana bike that had been collecting spider webs and snake skins for about 25 years. While Katie was playing with kids across the street, I cleaned and polished and lubed and repaired and aired-up tires. I put the now spiffy banana bike on the front sidewalk facing her homeward path.

I added a sign that said, “from one oddball to another, Love Daddy.”

She was a happy little non-teen-ager-imitating little girl when she came home. She knew that no other kid in the neighborhood had a bike like hers. She still rides it occasionally and will never let me sell it. Score a touchdown for the oddballs.

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