I keep looking for normal, average people. I have been looking for a good long time now. I am a trained investigator, an observer of human beings. I have been taught to interview and observe people, get the facts, their opinions, and their perspective. I have been taught to examine human behavior and come up with theories about it, what makes a person tick, what motivates them. In the realm of investigators, trained ones, I give myself a C; a good strong middle ground 75% C average. (I judge myself by the ultimate standard Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, who could observe a person and tell their life stories by a little spatter of cheese on their lapel.)
Back to the point, I have not found any normal or average people. I have found a lot of people that appear normal and average, but once you get to know them they really aren’t. Of course maybe my sample size is too small, taken into account I try and find out if a person is normal by everyone I meet and I meet about conservatively a thousand new and different people each year and I have been looking for normal people since I graduated from high school and that was about 28 years ago that comes out to twenty eight thousand people. (Oh yea, Mr. Allhouse, my high school algebra teacher, always said I had to show my work so here goes. 28 X 1000 = 28,000 people) So of that 28,000 people I have not found a single normal person, so my sample size is not to blame. Maybe my working definition of normal and average is flawed. Maybe I should look that over.
Normal, 1. Usual: conforming to the usual standard, type, or custom or the 2nd definition Healthy: physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy
Average, 1. Typical: lacking any extraordinary, untypical, or exceptional characteristic
And the thesaurus:
Normal: Usual, Standard, Regular, Ordinary, Typical, Customary, Common, Natural, Conventional
Average: Standard, Regular, Usual, Typical, Run of the Mill, Ordinary
Okay that sums up what I was investigating, what I was searching for normal, average people. And since I am an American, raised in America, living in America maybe I should just limit myself to the version of what is normal and average in America. I tried looking at statics to try and find out what an average American looks like, and from about fifteen minutes of research into the numbers I discovered I would rather be beaten with a pillowcase half filled with sand by the linebacker Jack Lambert (named one of the toughest players in NFL History in 2004) every day for a week and twice on Sunday then go down that rabbit hole. But just a glimpse of what I found: The average American is married, unless he/she is not, then they are either divorced or never married. The average American is the son/daughter of married parents unless they come from a blended family or a single parent household. The Middle class in American (who I guess most people would consider average) has a college degree, but the majority of people in America do not have a college degree.
That is just a glimpse; of what I have saved you from by eliminating the numbers and trying to make sense of them. Personally If I would dealt with that for much longer I would be showing up at Mr. Lambert’s (he lives, just down the road from my cousin’s house in Armstrong County, PA) door with that pillowcase saying please hit me with this.
So here is the problem, why can’t I find a normal, average person. Maybe it is because I am being too strict with normal and average. But everytime I believe I have found a normal person they tell me something about themselves that automatically disqualifies them from the running of normal and average in my opinion.
Take for example my two good friends Bob and Ken who are a little older than me, but comparative to each other in age. They were both of age to go to Vietnam, one was drafted, the other one was not. Bob became a Bomb Disposal Technician and went on to work with explosives the rest of his life, so he is out of the running. I think most people would agree with me that anyone who works with high explosives on a regular basis and tries to keep them from going boom is not normal. So back to my other friend, Ken, he has some college, worked in a steel mill and has been in the construction industry most of his life. Ahh, I thought, someone who is in the running for the normal and average label. But then he did something, when his son left the Boy Scouts, he stuck around, giving an hour a week or so and weekends to work with kids who are in no way related to him, and then to put the final nail in the coffin he gives up several weeks of vacation over a couple of years to either go to Boy Scout camp or build playgrounds on an American Indian reservation out west. This is not what a normal or average person does on a regular basis. A normal person takes vacation and goes somewhere to sit on a beach or tours Civil war battlefields or something else equally self indulgent. They indulge their selfish nature because they deserve it; they deserve to rest and do something totally for themselves after working 50 weeks out of the year.
So after that failure of finding someone average I began to look at someone else similar to myself in age. Someone who maybe went to the same school as I did, has been influenced by the same cultural things as me, maybe I would be able to spot the normal and average ones closer to my own age.
Dave, another good friend, works in the construction industry, married with a couple of kids went to the same college I did, goes to the same church as I do. I have found it; I think I found a normal average person. Then I turned on my investigative skills and started to pay attention. He is divorced from his first wife, okay not that far outside the norm. He raises chickens for their eggs, okay getting a little towards outside the norm, but not really because he lives in rural area. He does not own a television. Okay that is downright strange, especially in America if you are an American but not of the Amish faith. (I have to refer to statics here but this is an easy one to follow: Percentage of American households that possess at least one television: 99%)
My friends Kay and Dave (another Dave) went to the same school as me and my wife, married about the same length of time, about the same age, couple of kids. They fall way outside the norm as they went and lived overseas a couple of years, their older kids speak some of the language of their adopted country. Now growing up I could not even name one person, let alone a whole family who had lived overseas, or had picked up the language enough to speak some around their house when they got back.
Okay, maybe I am just looking in the wrong places; maybe I should look at people I work with, but after a very brief cursory view I decide that is not a good idea. You see I am in law enforcement, a Parole Agent for the Commonwealth to be exact. Everyone I work with carries a gun, pepper spray, a baton, at least one pair of handcuffs, a Tazer and wears bullet proof vests on a regular basis. Now I know even though I live in America where guns are more prevalent than most of the rest of the world even I know most normal people don’t go around armed heavily enough to arrest multiple persons in a single day. And forget about our “clients”, the persons on Parole, they don’t even come close to normal in anyone’s imagination, almost all of them with multiple convictions for felonies, some violent, some with diagnosed mental disorders, all having at one time in their life a profound aversion to obeying the rules and law of polite society.
So where do I find normal people. I won’t even go into all the people that I know fairly well that have experiences with some type of abuse, neglect, or just plain horrible childhoods. These people are still dealing with issues from crap that happened to them as kids so that disqualifies them from normal and average.
Maybe I should look towards people who want to be in elected officals; surely the American people have picked out a few normal people to govern our affairs. But looking closely at our government I see people who want to have some sort of control over other people’s lives, either for good or bad. Most people I know that are even a little bit self aware know that they can barely manage their own lives or their families. So a person must be a stark raving lunatic to either want to or believe that they can have any control over a whole nation of individuals.
So how about superstar athletes, movie stars, world renown singers. My look towards the entertainment industry and the individuals in it yields similar results, not a normal person to be found. An industry that strives on the people in it jumping up and down, waving their arms and saying ‘look at me, look at me.’ Who in their right mind wants to be the center of attention all the time? Drew Carey has a great analogy; it is like being the bride on a wedding day, wearing the fancy white dress, and everyone always watching the bride. But in the case of being a celebrity like him, everyday is your wedding day, everyday someone is either watching you or about to pay attention to you. He says occasionally he forgets he is a celebrity, but then something reminds you, oh yeah I am in the wedding dress. It is not like a singer, actor or celebrity wanna-be does not know what they are getting into in this country, there are whole magazines, web sites and television shows dedicated to watching celebrities. Most of celebrities work hard and long (sometimes years) to get noticed. Working very hard at their chosen craft to be good enough to get that break that will make them an “overnight sensation”. These people knowingly and with great effort want to be in the wedding dress and never take it off.
So what can I to conclude from all this searching; searching with nothing but negative results? Granted I am conducting this investigation, with a probably biased and flawed methodology but it is the hand I was dealt. My conclusion is that being normal and average is a myth, it does not exist. If a person presents themselves as normal and average, it is a cover-up, a falsehood, a lie, a misrepresentation of themselves. Everyone is hiding something that they know would make them seem strange, abnormal, or outside the average. Heck if anyone ever heard some of the thoughts that go on inside my head I would either get locked up in padded room or I would be put far away on deserted island somewhere. I am not normal and no one else is either.
And if a normal average person does exist out there, well they are probably building a rocket ship to get off this planet to get away from all of us odd balls. Heck occasionally I look around the world and see all the perplexing people around me and I raise my hand hoping someone will notice and I say in a loud clear voice. “Excuses me can I get off this ride now, I have seen enough.”
Being abnormal and outside the average is the standard. Let me say that again, being abnormal and outside the average is the standard. Anyone that tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something. They are probably trying to get you to buy the fact that you are not normal and you should feel bad about yourself or they are selling the idea that they are superior to you by pretending they don’t have abnormalities of their own. (Most likely both.)
As Dr. Alfred Alder (a peer of Freud) the psychiatrist stated “The only normal people are the one’s you don’t know very well.” Or like Whoopi Goldberg once said. “Normal is nothing more than a cycle on a washing machine”.
So what do we do? You know, all us abnormal and non-average persons. Accept it, deal with it. Stop trying to be normal and average. Stop trying to fit in with what everyone else is saying. Be yourself. You are unique, maybe by design or chance, but you are an individual so fit in the best you can. The old phrase you can’t fit a round peg in a square hole is right, but you and I are not pegs round or otherwise.