Thursday, April 7, 2016

I'm Weird

There seems to be very little doubt about it: I'm odd. There doesn't seem to be much I can do about it. You want an example? When I drive, I don't just sing along to the music I play on the car stereo. I sing and dance. In the driver's seat. You want another example? I talk baby-talk to some of my pets who died years ago. I picture one of my former cats as an angel, with a white robe and a halo, standing on her back feet, holding a tiny little harp in her front paws.

Then again: who isn't odd? Maybe the answer to that one is: some of the people you doubt know very well yet, and if you got to know them better you'd see that they're weird too.

Did you watch that sitcom, "3rd Rock From the Sun" ? It ran from 1996-2001 on NBC, it starred John Lithgow and Jane Curtain, they were the biggest stars in the cast then. I guess the biggest star now who was in the cast is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Gordon-Levitt played a little kid and then a teenager on the show, it's still a little weird to me that he's all growed up now.

I think I got the central joke of the show: it featured a group of aliens from far away outer space posing as a family of humans, and constantly getting into embarrassing situations because they're completely unfamiliar with out planet. The central joke of the show is that they're never exposed as aliens, and are completely convincing as human beings, precisely because they are so awkward and clueless in their interactions with humans. Their weirdness makes them the same as the rest of us.

Just now it occurred to me that the names of the 3 aliens who are impersonating human males, Tom, Dick and Harry, underscore the joke about how typically human these aliens are: "any Tom, Dick and Harry" is an expression which means "any 3 guys taken at random."

Some of the most convincingly realistic moments on the show are when real humans are show behaving even more weirdly than than aliens: for example, when Bronson Pinchot plays the visiting brother of Jane Curtain's character, and they behave according the rules of the private world which human siblings often inhabit.

So, I think the central joke of the show is that, although it is centered around a group of aliens, it is really about humans, and about how our veneer of -- what's the term for "un-weirdness" ? maybe something like "grace and aplomb" -- isn't very deep. And so: it's okay. So you're weird. Welcome to the human race.

Notice how people don't say "Welcome to the human race" to you in response to your handling some situation with remarkable grace and aplomb?

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