Monday, August 03, 2015

Let Me Count the Ways

If you have followed my blogs with any regularity, you have undoubtedly noticed that the majority have a common theme: me; my experiences, my reactions, my responses, my beliefs, my opinions. The answer to any charge of narcissism or egocentrism is simple: who else’s experiences, reactions, responses, beliefs, and opinions might I be qualified to speak of with any authority?

In any case, I was thinking yet again of all the ways I do not fit into this time, this world, this society.

1) I am not a sheep. I do not like things or do things or believe things just because other people like/do/believe them. This made it difficult for me when growing up, when “fitting in” equals acceptance, but it got me accustomed to the fact that I marched to a different drummer and preferred it that way.

2) I am excruciatingly uptight and self conscious in large groups of people having a good time. I do not jump up and down, sway to the music, raise my hands in the air. I do not fist-bump or fist-pump or high five. I do not vocalize my pleasure. I stand there like a pillar of salt, all but unmoving, and in my desire not to stand out from others, I stand out from others. I would love nothing more than to do all those things listed above, but I simply cannot.

3) I do not comprehend the appeal of organized sports, nor do I have or ever have had any particular interest in doing so. (The only possible exception to this is, for some unknown reason, volleyball.) As I have often said, I was 33 years old before I figured out what a “down” was in football, and even then I didn’t care. How people can get so excited over a game they are not themselves participating in is totally beyond my understanding. “We’re Number One! We’re Number One!”…No, YOU’RE not Number One unless you’re on the team…otherwise you’re just an observer. I do, however, admire individual sports—gymnastics, swimming, etc.—and appreciate the talent and effort of the athletes engaged in them.

4) Our national obsession with “celebrities” leaves me shaking my head in disbelief. How the lives and activities…the romantic entanglements, the personal problems…of people I have never met and never will meet can possibly have any bearing on my own life is incomprehensible to me. With all the very real things, the very real problems of the world, how can we waste our time on such trivia?

5) I find national politics to be beyond disgraceful, and the hateful, mean-spirited, vitriolic garbage currently spewed by (mostly) Republican contenders for election to President infuriate and disgust me to the point of despair.

6) I cannot tolerate willful stupidity, the unquestioned acceptance of the most egregiously false premises…or the people who encourage and perpetrate them for their own greedy ends.

7) Organized religion, like organized sports, are largely anathema to me. Throughout history more wars have been fought, more people have died, more intolerance and hatred and misery fostered by organized religion than by any other single factor. And yet every religion, when its credo is boiled down to its essence, shares the same basic message: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Thousands of years, and we still haven’t learned.

8) Unlike the vast majority of people, I am incapable of simply accepting without comment poor service, rudeness, or being ignored by people I am paying to provide me something. Not wanting to “make waves” only perpetrates this type of bad behavior. I insist on speaking to a manager/supervisor to make my displeasure known. It may not do any good, but it certainly makes me feel better. 

I’m fully aware that you, while perhaps reluctant to admit it, share one or more of the issues raised above. It’s part of human nature, I believe, for each of us to feel as though we don’t belong, don’t fit in. But unless someone is willing to openly talk about things few others do, how can we really know we’re not alone?

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

I share most of your views, but have had more experience in the realm of celebrities because I know a few. They're not fond of the status that comes with being seen on the TV or screen, or even in the music business. It gets old for them and they don't understand the hype.

There was a really nice interview I read of a music artist friend of mine where the interviewer asked her the difference between what she did and what someone like Brittney Spears does. The answer was really thoughtful. She (my friend) said that Brittney was a performer. Other people wrote the music and Brit performing it on stage. My friend writes her own music, plays the music, and sings the music. She's done this since the 1970s. People who write/play/sing are in the category of artist, not performer.

Slight tangent, but it made an impression. =)