Dryer settings on the soapbox–Deane Uptegrove

I am not an alarm clock. If you have spent at least five minutes around me, you know that I am not a finely tuned instrument that keeps track of time. I am more analogous to a pack of cats in an oversized hamster ball, subject to many conflicting forces and goals. I am unpredictable and frequently impractical. If observed, my behavior displays this. My vocal tone and volume vary greatly. I will dance and sing if I like the song playing, even if it is only in my headphones. I will slide on the icy sidewalk to class. I will jump and wildly gesticulate while I have conversations. Other people’s reactions to this vary. My friends chuckle, smile or laugh. Friends of friends watch, mildly amused. People that have no affiliation have several reactions: some laugh, others glare and some sneer.

The negative responses surprise me. Since we are in college, I assumed that everyone has reached the point where we as a community have developed a mutual respect. By mutual respect, I mean that you can engage with a person who holds differing views. You don’t resort to childish methods of violence or vandalism. You don’t sneer at the person galloping to dinner. Apparently, I was overly optimistic.

Those who engage in this behavior, I believe, react against a breach of their sense of “normalcy.” Normalcy is comfortable. It’s safe. It doesn’t take risks. Goldfish, the snack, are normal, all the same size, and shape, all smiling the same smile. Normalcy is not a human attribute. It’s a setting on the dryer. Give me a definition of what a normal person is. Then I will show how you yourself do not fit the mold.

Life shouldn’t be about fitting into anybody’s definitions or expectations.

Life should be about finding joy in all the little, unexpected, ridiculous things that happen.

Life is finding bacon in the soap. It is catching snowflakes on your tongue. Life is pelting strangers with snowballs as they come to the cafeteria. It is filling the fountain with bubble bath.

In the words of Mark Twain, “truth is stranger than fiction” and we should embrace that, because if you don’t, how happy are you truly?

Deane Uptegrove is a sophomore English and psychology double major from Holden, Mass.

Written by Chagan Sanathu

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