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emmy [AT] curious-notions {dot} net
June 2008
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functionality and normality

I believe that the world works in mysterious ways. I try to be open to those ways. Today I noticed this theme in every conversation I was having today and in the stuff I’m reading and in the lives going on around me. So I thought about it. Now suddenly I feel a whole lot better. I had known how bad I was feeling. But I hadn’t realized how to fix it. I’m feeling better, but I’m not absolutely sure why.

I’m only going to talk about the theme of the conversations. I think it’s dysfunctionality. And maybe it’s versus abnormality, because it seems there’s some of that in the mix.

So I’m an engineer, right? Trained to be logical. To break down problems and build up solutions. I’ve also got a lot of technical definitions of things in my head right alongside the social understandings of the same things. Like functions and normality. A function is something that works. A norm is something that happens often. If a function is working, then even if the output is something beyond the norm, well, it’s still valid. Sometimes we might expose a bug, but then we just fix the function and the new outputs are valid. (This is a terrible explanation of what I’m trying to say, but it’s the best I can do right now.)

But a lot of my life lately has been dealing with expectations and relationships. Dealing with what is normal and dsyfunctional.

Lemme tell you about two people, both are men, so I’ll call them M1 and M2.

M1 is a normal guy. Has wife and kids and a job. Goes to church. Loves his kids. Dates his wife.

M2 is an abnormal guy. He works in a sex shop. It happens that in his sex shop, older people go to watch videos in these booths in the store. Sometimes it’s too much and they die. He has to check the booths and call in the dead people. Because it’s a sex shop, this people… aren’t exactly dressed. This guy decided he’d start collecting photos of the people who die in those booths before he calls in the deaths.

M1 committed suicide.

M2 calls his photos his art.

But I bet a bunch of people would much rather hear and think about M1 than M2. M1 is a normal guy. They like normal. M2 is weird. He’s freaky. He scares people.

I remember when someone told me about M2. They were telling me the story in such a way that you heard about these pictures this guy has and that he thinks of them as his art before you heard how he got them. I remember thinking, “Please please please let this not be a story about a serial killer who likes killing old people and stripping them and sticking them in a booth. Please let it not be that his art is the dead people.” My stomach got all knotted and when I heard how the guy had really taken all those photos and that the photos were his art, my relief was intense. Why was my relief so intense? This is a really weird dude. What he’s doing is bizarre by any standard.

I was also reading a story about a gay couple. They were so dependent on each other that they would have very bad reactions to being separated for too long. (Completely and utterly fiction, k?) But when you hear about them together, they would do things together and they loved each other and took care of each other. But it’s not normal to not be able to be separated from someone for a day or two. So their friends pulled them apart, literally kidnapping them and forcing them to be apart to get them help. I read it and I got angry. It wasn’t written to make me angry. That wasn’t the slant. Why’d I get angry? Why’d I think this was wrong?

The last thing. Bear was (I have no idea why. I’m not even going to ask. It’s probably a random Bear-thing.) sending me pages of quotes by Mike Tyson. Dude is not normal. By any stretch. People have sent him to jail. But hearing things he’s said, both the smack and stuff that has to be honest, I wonder if he’s really such a bad guy.

Are all these people dysfunctional as well as being abnormal?