Sunday, March 30, 2008

Everybody Knows One

Everybody wants to be a part of something. Even if you are one of those "I'm an individual. I don't need to be a part of anything" groups, you're still in a group. Get it? You are, so get over it. The funny thing about non-conformists is that by non-conforming, they are, in essence, creating a group of people who are conforming to be non-conformists. Whatever it is that you're into, someone else is into it too. If you can imagine it, there is a magazine dedicated to it and somewhere in America people are having meetings about it. People love the common thread. If you're ever in the Ukraine and you're wearing your "I Love Little Rock" t-shirt, don't be surprised if an older couple from Minneapolis accosts you. Americans just love seeing other Americans in places other than America. The conversation goes something like this:

"Hey, are you American?"
"Yes I am"
"Well, I'll be. We are too! We're Jim and Delores from Minnesota. Where you from?"
"Little Rock"
"Little Rock? Well, I'll be. Do you know Roger and Margie Swenson?"
"Well, they're from Little Rock, too. What are you doing over here in the Ukraine?"
"Just visiting"
"Well, I'll be. Have a great time. Maybe we'll see you out again somewhere."

And, inadvertently, you will see Jim and Delores again on that same vacation. And it'll ruin your night. Somewhere along the line Jim and/or Delores will say this phrase to no one in particular after being served their food or drink: "Well, that ain't the way we do it in America." More on that later (but not much more, so don't get your hopes up).

True story: A friend (who will remain nameless, but we'll call him "Rob Justis") from Iowa spent a semester in Australia. Who did he end up dating? A girl from Iowa. Somehow, that same girl that he would never had talked to at home became 67% better (and date-able) by simply being in the southern hemisphere. It was because of the common thread factor that they got together.

"You're from Iowa? Wow! Me too! What a small world we live in! Let's date."

We are all part of one of two groups at all times. We are in a group called "The Public" or we are in a group called "The Employees." 97% of Americans, when joining or re-joining "The Public", forget all common sense. You can be the part of The Public when you leave the house in the morning, join The Employees for the morning, re-join The Public for lunch, re-join The Employees for the rest of the afternoon and finish out the day as The Public (until you return home). The IQ level of The Public is much, much lower than that of The Employees. If you remember that one fact while an employee, it'll help your blood pressure during your shift. THE PUBLIC, ON WHOLE, ARE MORONS. You can have an IQ of 150 (is that good?) while you're an employee. That same IQ can drop to single digits (is that bad?) as a member of the public.

(Note: Not all public members are morons and not all employees are intelligent. The +/- factor is somewhere around 7%)

Groups are everywhere. At work, at school, in prison, on the sidewalk. You can be part of several groups at one time. Right now you are a part of a group that reads blogs. You might also be a part of a young attorneys group, while at the same time being a member of AA as well as a person who is a life-long Oakland A's fan. People often use these markers to describe you to someone else. "You know Regina? She's the young alcoholic lawyer who loves the A's."

But for the love of God, don't be the person who goes overboard. Don't be defined. Don't be the guy who runs AND has short-shorts and gel bottles in a plastic belt and wears his race shirts at all times when he is not at work. The person who somehow works running into every fucking conversation with anyone who will listen.

Dale (at work): Hey, Roger, how's it going?
Roger: Great, I'm running the Super 5K for Gout Awareness this weekend!

Parsa (at a dinner party): Roger? I haven't seen you since last Christmas!
Roger: Well, I've been busy RUNNING, that's why.

Father Bilgaw (at Church): Good morning, Roger.
Roger: When are we gonna see you at the track, father?
Father Bilgaw: Son of a bitch, Roger, I hit the tri-fecta on the third race on Tuesday!! It paid 120-1!!
Roger: Father Bilgaw?

As in stocks, you want to diversify. Spread yourself out. Be a part of a bunch of groups. You can LOVE golf. You can. But you can't wear golf shirts, talk about golf, check your shoulder turn in the mirror, watch golf, travel to the Greater Hartford Open, Tiger track on the web, etc. Don't be "Bill- the golfer." And you know what? Bill sucks. He is the worst golfer that you've ever seen. He's the guy who's the most into it that you know but you could beat him left handed. And you hate golf. And you're not even left handed.

The key? Be low-key. Go to Europe and be Lee Greenwood but don't wear your "God Bless The USA" t-shirt. Order some shit that you're never heard of. Don't eat at Burger King in Belgium. Watch NASCAR but don't wear your Little E jacket EVERYWHERE. Love stamp collecting but don't talk about it (the first rule about stamp collecting is: Don't talk about stamp collecting). Be a fan of The Beatles, but don't put BTLSFAN on your license plates. Don't be known as "You know Sally- the quilt lady."

But don't listen to me. I'm the runner and skier guy who loves the Cubs, the Raiders, the Missouri Tigers, Jimmy Buffett, The Who, the Avalanche and who plays Born in the USA 31 times at an pub in London.

And there's no reason for the following photo. Minus the fact that this a group that you may not want to be a part of:

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