1a : conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern
- He had a normal childhood.
- the effect of normal aging
b : according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle
- The normal way to pluralize a noun is by adding -s.
I try to be careful with how I use that word these days. Merriam Webster lists 8 (!) definitions for the adjective normal, right off the bat. But sometimes, when we (I) say normal, we (I) mean average. Or even compliant. I think most people who use the word normal willy-nilly don’t have any ill intent. They just don’t necessarily choose their words as carefully as I do.
And that’s probably a good thing.
A real thing that happened in my life, a few days ago: I was at work. A co-worker didn’t fulfill their (singular neutral, I’m not tryna blow up anyone’s spot) duties at work in such a way that, eh-em…how to put this politely? supremely fucked up my shit. Afterward, once the damage was done and we fixed it as best we could and said co-worker righted their mistake, they apologized to me.
Person who effed up: Hayley, omg, I’m SO sorry about that.
Me: It’s fine. (Begins to walk away, I have other things to take care of. Reconsiders, stops.) Actually, it’s not fine. But I accept your apology. (Actually walks away this time.)
Bear in mind, this is a job I’ve had barely two months. And this co-worker is not necessarily senior to me, but they have been working there longer than me, and I genuinely think they are a nice person and typically good at their job.
But since I’m apparently obsessed with choosing the right words, saying what I mean, and meaning what I say, I dropped that zinger of a truth bomb.
Now, some of you are probably shouting at your computer (phone? tablet? I obviously don’t know how to read the metrics on WordPress that tell me about my ~audience~) “YOU GO GIRL, PUT THAT GENDER-NEUTRAL MYSTERY PERSON IN THEIR PLACE!”
And some of you are probably considering more thoughtfully, “Wow, yes, how great, we as women have been conditioned to apologize for everything and to accept apologies, but wouldn’t the world be a better place if we felt more free to speak our minds in a straightforward way without being labeled ‘bitches’?”
But what most of you are probably thinking (and what I thought immediately after I managed to shut my dumb trap) is Ouch. That was a bit harsh, don’tcha think?
I totally get that we as women have been conditioned to be meek and apologetic, and that speaking your truth to power is, well, powerful. But there’s also something to be said (I myself have a history of saying a lot about it) being kind. And allowing someone to eff up a few times before you’re a total bitch to them. And trying not to get a reputation for being the office Bitch with a capital-B.
Before that giant digression, we were talking about… choosing one’s words carefully, in relation to the word normal. Right?
So, back to the episode title: how normal is your sense of humor? How normal are any of us, really? There are seven billion people on this earth, and I’d be willing to bet you’re not the only one with your sense of humor. Not to make you feel un-special, just a bit more connected with the rest of the human race.
Me personally? I dislike The Simpsons, Seth MacFarlane, and Superbad, as a general rule. I love Parks and Recreation and this joke: What do an elephant and a plum have in common? They’re both purple, except the elephant. … Get it?? Gets me every time.
I also love My Brother, My Brother, and Me.
That’s honestly how my whole sense of humor can be summed up. If you don’t like MBMBaM… well, we can probably get along just fine, because I don’t know anyone in my life personally who likes or has even heard of them (I’ve tried to convert a few friends, but they’re kind of a you’re-obsessed or you-don’t-get-it type of humor, in my experience). BUT. If you do like them, please @ me so we can be best friends, because I am kind of obsessed.
They’re three brothers from Huntington, West Virginia, and they host a podcast that’s an advice show for the modren era. It’s bizarre and inexplicable and makes me laugh out loud in such a way that they’re kind of dangerous to listen to in public. I first discovered them because Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted about them so much I finally decided to take a listen. That was probably 2014? Maybe? I listened regularly for a while (they put out an episode every week) and dropped off occasionally as life intervened, but have always picked them back up whenever I was able.
Anyway, since I’ve entered this new stage in my life, I have a lot of free-ish time (commuting, cleaning, getting ready, being alone with my thoughts and boy who wants that!?) so I caught up with their most recent episodes, and then I decided to embark on a journey.
I would listen to every episode. From the beginning.
They started recording and posting their podcast in spring of 2010. I have made it to fall of 2011. So far I’ve paused the re-listen (or, more accurately, the first-time-listen until I catch up with myself) a couple times to catch up with current episodes, but I think I’m making good progress. It’s fascinating to listen to their progression over time, and the couple of times I’ve dipped my baby toe into the online world of People Talking About Things™, I’ve decided forums aren’t for me, so I’m gonna continue to re-listen on my own, and I’ll track some of my observations here.
I realize this is an incredibly niche (do you say neesh or nitch?) story arc, so if you don’t wanna pay attention, feel free not to. But maybe, some MBMBaM fan might find this and laugh along with me. If so, hello! If not… well, you’re not reading anyway, are you?
It’s familiar. But not too familiar. But not too not familiar.
Until next time.