Colored by perception, emotion, and distortion, the concept of normalcy is a very interesting one. Some despise it with a passion, claiming that the idea is far too bland and predictable. Others, on the other hand, embrace normalcy in its unifying commonality. Like all other convoluted subjects, let us begin by defining it, so that it is no longer in any uncertain terms. “Normal” means conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
Far too often, I see movies, television shows, music, and literature decrying the ills of normalcy. As Lady Gaga proudly claimed in her song, “Bad Kids”, “I’m a twit, degenerate young rebel and I’m proud of it.” As this line demonstrates, many herald and respect deviation from the norm. They view these distinct individuals as asserting their independence, creativity, and nonchalance of inane societal stipulations. And while I admire rebels’ personalities as much as anyone else, I think we tend to judge individuals who identify themselves as normal a little too harshly.
Oh, Frank is a successful car salesman with a wife, two kids, and a dog named Lucy? He’s so normal, one might think with a judgmental roll of the eyes. Looking at this example, I particularly dislike this mode of thought. Perhaps Frank is happy with his modest, successful, and fairly normal lifestyle. Why must we look down upon him because he doesn’t choose to live differently?
It’s gotten to the point where normal individuals struggle to identify themselves as being different or “random”. This was quite the problem for me in my time in middle school, otherwise known as the frightening, formative years when we were desperately trying to distinguish ourselves from the rest of our peers.
I would be having a perfectly decent conversation with one of my classmates, when they would arbitrarily interject some word or phrase into the discussion.
Me (looking out the window): It looks like it’s going to rain.
Anonymous companion: Yeah, those clouds don’t look to good.
Me: I agree. And I think I just heard some thun-
Anonymous companion: Pineapples!
Anonymous companion: Oh, I’m sorry! I’m just so random! My mom just says I’m unique that way. I dunno what came over me.
In retrospect, I pity my anonymous companion for feeling the need to deviate from societal norms simply for appreciation and respect. Why must we ever change who we are and what we do unless it infringes on the rights, personal safety, or happiness of others?
Why does it matter that I enjoy apple pie just as many others do? Why does it matter that I strive for a well-paying career in order to obtain financial stability in the future? Just because many others have chosen the same path that I have doesn’t reduce its personal value.
In essence, we can continue to celebrate rebellion and the creative deviation from the norm. After all, how else are we to expand our intellectual horizons? However, let us not harshly judge normalcy, for it is the common glue that binds us all together. Why can’t we appreciate the neutrality of normalcy?