You owe it to the world to pursue your weirdness

imageAs an Oregonian who spent several years living in Portlandia, I feel the city’s unofficial mantra “Keep Portland Weird” is a noble pursuit. The world needs weird. Not the Donald Trump kind of weird, which is like a Stephen-King-horror-novel-with-a-terrifying-evil-clown-kind-of-weird.

No, I’m talking about a less volatile, better coiffed and more enjoyable kind of weirdness that helps us keep a fresh perspective on daily life.

Albert Einstein, Edgar Alan Poe, Leonardo da Vinci, Lucille Ball — all were geniuses in their own way who reminded us to see the world with wonderment by unapologetically pursuing their weirdness.

I’m no genius. I’m reminded of this every time I spend 5 minutes getting frustrated with the TV remote, then realize it’s the garage door opener — usually after the neighbor calls to tell me our Labrador is repeatedly being knocked unconscious. Though I’m no genius, I do consider myself weird. And so do others. Particularly my teenagers, who avoid eye contact whenever we’re in public because they’re afraid I’ll do something weird that will embarrass them.

Or as they jokingly say, “DESTROY OUR LIVES!”

Ha! Ha!

Ok, maybe they’re not joking. 

The truth is, though they may feel being in the car with Dad while he orders Taco Bell in an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice could have a lasting impact on their reputations — or at the very least completely screw up our dinner order — I believe the example of infusing random acts of weirdness into daily life is an important one. That’s because being weird requires looking at a common situation in an uncommon way. As a parent, there are few skills I want my children to develop that are more important than the ability to think unconventionally. It’s that type of thinking that leads to technological breakthroughs, builds self confidence and develops problem-solving skills.

Not counting me and my TV remote, of course.

Being able to tap into your weirdness can also help keep things in perspective when life gives you lemons. Or melons, for those of you with dyslexia. Being able to wield weirdness is like having Thor’s hammer to smash negativity and the mundane. Although if you think you’re going to look as cool doing it, you’re kidding yourself. Regardless, it’s an effective way of turning a bad situation into a better situation; an unfortunate circumstance into a laughable moment; Kanye West into… another laughable moment.

You get the idea.

The world is getting more plugged in and, coincidentally, more stressed out. Weirdness is a necessary coping mechanism that benfits everyone. So please do the responsible thing by embracing your weirdness. Or even someone else’s.

But if they’re a naked bike rider, you might want to make sure they put some pants on first.







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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

64 thoughts on “You owe it to the world to pursue your weirdness”

      1. My parents wouldn’t let me have a bike, so when my husband and I were dating, I bought a 10-speed and he tried to teach me. I kept falling off. And then I found out I was pregnant. We got married and raised our family. The bike went into storage and didn’t come out again until our kids were old enough to use it. By then I had no interest.

  1. Being weird rocks! I think my son is finally at the age where it takes nothing for me to embarrass him in public. Not too long ago, wanting to shoot a joint selfie with him at an oceanside park, while someone else was around, was cause for him to cringe with a sour face (which I digitally captured for all eternity).

    1. Local slang can be rough sometimes M2M. For instance, in Oregon, where Ned resides, marijuana is legal so a “joint” selfie has a much different meaning than it likely does in your home town. Bwahaha!

        1. Those politicians – always taking advantage. They want to be careful because the courts still do joint trials. ha!

      1. OMG! I just realized that too! LOL. Here in WA, it’s legal as well, but I’m well past the age of joint experimentation (just made me loopy and fat), and my son isn’t quite old enough yet.

  2. Here I was, innocently browsing through my wordpress reader when all of a sudden I see naked man butt. :p My first thoughts were “Oh my gosh, Ned has finally begun his stripping career.” 😉

  3. i too love to embrace my weirdness Ned, but I’d much rather point out the weirdness of others. For instance, I boarded in a single dwelling in a residential area once. In the summer, when the weather was nice, every night at midnight a woman of about 70 would ride down the street in only a white nightgown on an old single speed bike. She was completely silent and as regular as clockwork.

    1. PS Is that going to be his title if he becomes the big P? Something like, may I present His Orangness, the POTUS? Or the Grand Orange of POTUS? Will it become a Royal Colour – no one else can wear it, and like that? (Sorry, feeling a little silly this morning …)

  4. I so agree with you Ned. We need to express our weirdness or we may go mad! Lots of LOL here, but seriously, kids go through stages and may get embarrassed by some of their parent’s antics, but later on, those memories become their gold, so look up! 🙂

  5. Weird is going mainstream?
    Forget it then. I’m becoming totally normal.

    hahahahahahaha. As if.

    I love that I’m sitting here reading this in my Portland sweatshirt. Great city.

No one is watching, I swear...

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