Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hiatus In The Crowd

I was at the holiday parade yesterday, watching the various displays, floats, and personalities that make it up. Thinking, Here I am on the sidelines again, a face in the crowd. But it's nothing to mourn. There's a certain skill in being able to blend right in so that no one notices you. And I do that very well. I'm like a ninja in ordinary clothes, with a cloak of invisibility.

I think that when I'm in stores, that I must look sufficiently human that no one would be looking at me, for were I a lion or a dog, surely someone would coming running up with an anesthetic dart. Once in a while it's nice to be reminded that you're a human being. With no noticeable pieces missing so that you'd stand out. With no noticeable mental handicap so that people would be telling you how normal you seem.

I am normal, in certain ways. Normal enough that I was at the holiday parade yesterday and you didn't see me. And if you're normal I didn't see you either. People who are stupid enough to bring their dog(s) to the parade, they're not normal. People with weird colored hair or face paint or really strange hats or outlandish tattoos or they're spastic or something, I notice them. It's their eccentricity that helps me on the normalcy curve.

Of course I wasn't the Grand Marshall again this year. Being the Grand Marshall goes to someone who has been Super Normal and has done it for years on end. They usually want someone who is so old that he or she is not likely to disgrace the town by doing something abnormal now. (Although that guy who shot up the Holocaust museum. I think he was 90-something, meaning we're likely to see fewer Grand Marshalls under 100.)

The guy who's the Grand Marshall always has a proven track record, and like I said has been Super Normal. But he's also been abnormal in certain ways, which is what Super Normal means, because if he'd just been normal, he'd still be over on the sidelines with me. The difference is that his abnormality is a matter of being normal and excelling at it. He's joined clubs, made friends, served on committees, volunteered for things, then has been Super Responsible in following through on commitments and responsibilities. All the other normal people revere these folks, because it allows us to be normal and fairly lazy at the same time. Let Ken do it! He's got his eye on the Grand Marshallship someday.

So I'm standing there on the sidelines. And here comes the Grand Marshall. And all these thoughts are going through my head. I could've joined clubs. I could've served on committees. I could've put myself forward as the go-to guy for civic jobs. Then occasionally I would've been in the paper presenting a big check to one of the other go-to guys. But it didn't happen, and I don't think it's going to happen now. Because if there's one thing that Super Normal people are watching for, it's interlopers from the sidelines. You've got to start very young so they can't accuse you.

Anyway, it's kind of fun being the normal ninja guy in the crowd. (I find my glory where I can.) I'm standing there. Sometimes I'm sitting. And I'm thinking, There's not a soul here who knows I'm the famous blogger from the internet who's on hiatus. Only I know that. What a precious, precious secret! It's vain, I know, but everyone needs a pat on the back now and then.

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