Author’s note: To protect the innocent, all names have been changed in this story.
It can be an intimidating experience to spend the bulk of your time with psychiatrists and psychologists. This past week I was out at a going away party for Dr. Dom Farding and the place was crawling with shrinks. For some reason, I kept blurting out unusual facts about myself and it just wouldn’t stop. (Maybe it was the “just add alcohol” component to the evening, but really, I only had two drinks.)
A few of us were hanging out with Dr. Tara Doleman and her two adorable, precocious little girls. I had asked the girls if I could come over some time and play with their Lite-Brite, and they seemed a little like “Who is this strange lady and why does she want to play with my toys?” but then said I’d have to ask their mom. At this point, Dr. Bony Brasher joined the conversation and we had a stroll down memory lane about our favorite childhood toys. Topping the list for me, of course, was Fisher Price Little People. I noted how sad I was that they had changed the size and shape of Little People, which I had heard was because the old wooden version was exactly the same size as a 2 year-old’s trachea. Dr. Brasher posed the question, “Who was eating them, anyway?”
All of this led to me remembering, and then over-sharing, that as a child I used to chew on Barbie’s feet. In fact, I chewed on them so much that eventually the rod holding Barbie’s leg together started to poke out the bottom of her feet. This caused Dr. Bony Brasher to cast a discerning psychiatric eye in my direction. You know, the shrink look, the one with an arched eyebrow. “But…it was a Ballerina Barbie.” I stammered this out in my own defense, as if it somehow added to the acceptability of my Barbie foot chewing behavior. (Fortunately, it wasn’t until later that I recalled that my best friend Cindy and I used to pop the eyeballs out of my Sunshine Family dolls for entertainment. I can only imagine the differential diagnosis Dr. Brasher would do if he knew that.)
All of this got me thinking…the truth of the matter is that we all have an Inner Weirdo. The only difference is that some of us talk about it, and some of us don’t. But the reality is that everyone, outside of the presence of others, does weird things. A guy I once worked with was witnessed scraping his tongue with Scotch tape in his office. Weird? A little. But the only really weird thing was that he did it where other people could see him. Any of us, under the right conditions of tongue funkiness, might do the same thing. Only privately.
So my point in all of this is that we should all celebrate our Inner Weirdo. Don’t be ashamed! Don’t hide who you are! Be who you want to be! Just know that being weird is part of the human condition, and it is part of what makes us more alike than different. Because in the right set of circumstances, all of us pick our nose, talk to ourselves in the car on the way home from work, lick the last of the ice cream out of the bottom of the bowl, and chew on Barbie’s feet. I guarantee it.
Now go be weird today. I’m pretty sure I am going to.