Normal Again?

Now that we’re finally past the holiday season, I’m all set for a good dose of normality.  After a year of extreme weather, extreme political sassing, and extreme hype, I’m ready for us to back away from extreme.

The past several years has seen the popularization of all things labeled “Extreme!”.  After awhile, all that extreme behavior and hype turns us quite dull and jaded.  It’s as if the powers that be have found the marketing secrets of methamphetamine drug normal-MattLanterpushers.  It doesn’t take long for anybody who’s not caught up in the extreme culture to believe that there is a lot of unbalanced behavior going on.

The best of the wisdom traditions advise moderation in all things as the prescription for a long, happy life.  Somewhere, along the way, we got lost.  We’re told that not only do we need a motor vehicle, but we should have a jumbo-sized SUV or pickup truck. Our meals are supposedly a better value, when they’re supersized.  We’ve apparently also been convinced that to be effective politically that compromise is out of fashion.  Don’t budge an inch.  It’s my way or the highway.  I guess that the traditional American value of finding middle ground has vanished.

Is all this extreme stuff the new normal?  If it is, how will we be able to physically andnormal mentally withstand further escalation into more stratospheric levels of extremism?  Or, will we finally crash?  The industrialized world is like a drug addict on speed.  The druggie will either collapse into a long sleep or die of heart failure.

Even here in the sleepy, backwater state of Nebraska, this hyperactivity can be found.  I like to take a few hours to walk along the Elkhorn River on the Cowboy Trail.  It’s common to see joggers and cyclists zipping by with earbuds in place, oblivious to the gorgeous surroundings.

Last September, during a particularly spectacular afternoon, a couple of friends and I decided to hike the Cowboy trail.  The temperature was actually a seasonal normal of low 80s Fahrenheit. There was an average level of humidity and breeziness.  The sky was partly cloudy.  It was a day that most people would judge as normal.normal-thermostat

A few minutes after beginning our stroll, “Bob” whipped out his iPhone to check for messages and email.  Then, out of habit, he popped in his earbuds and began zoning out to some music. My other friend and I, meanwhile, enjoyed the soft whispering of the wind in the trees, chattering squirrels and chirping birds.  Now and then, the sight and sound of a soaring falcon thrilled us.  We finally badgered “Bob” into shutting off his phone.  Then all three of us simply merged into the idyllic afternoon.

normal-landscapeHuman evolution happened in the natural conditions of our world.  The type of day that my pals and I enjoyed might be considered to be “normal” for optimal human life.

What happened?  How did we get so caught up in artificiality? Can we find a middle ground between civilization and the natural world?  Without the noise of the holidays and before the humdrum workaday world hypnotizes us, we need to give this subject some serious consideration.


The Blue Jay of Happiness recommends a happy level of moderation so that we can more easily get along together in this world.

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Controversy, cultural highlights, Friendship, Health, Hometown, Meanderings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Normal Again?

  1. Great post! But please don’t label me as a “hater.” It brings so much to mind, I can’t help but comment.

    I’m not bashing women here. Men are guilty of just as much–possibly more, but in different ways. Men tend to be much more back stabbing, all the while as they are smiling at you. And men love to gossip; I hear it all the time. Something I’ve concluded is: familiarity = trendy = normal = typical. I find it exceedingly annoying.

    Once people become familiar and comfortable with each other, they start to copy each other and it usually starts with trendy things. For example: Stainless steel water bottles–I have one myself. The organization gave it to me, it has their logo on it. The latest thing seems to be “take along blender cups” so you can carry your trendy protein shake along with you all day. (Hey–Is that a fortified liquid spinach drink you’ve got there? Oh excuse me–it’s kale…) Anything healthy and current along with its container. Especially a container with a label. You’re just not with it unless you’re carrying one of these things along with you.

    Let’s not forget designer coffees, especially if you picked it up at the drive up window so you can complain about how long it took to get it, and that’s why you’re running late today. (Don’t forget to let the expensive coffee store label show..)

    Catch phrases, bumper stickers, stick figure families, the cars we drive–it’s all trendy stuff that become “normal”. It might be normal, but I find it all quite trite.

    You see it at work all the time, with people and their trendy trappings. At the risk of sounding sexist, I think women are MUCH more prone to it than anyone. I work in a very professional mental health facility. (I find that ironic; maybe I should check in?) Anyway–it’s a friendly atmosphere once you get to know people, with a staff of people ranging from doctors, nurses, administrative staff, therapists, counselors, and interns. I love the mix of coworkers there. BUT! It seems to be the most copy cat environment I’ve ever worked in. It’s a HUGE VAT of people who are the most prone to copy each other. They copy each other with the most trendy fashions, catch phrases, and “psycho-concern seriousness”. (I don’t know what else to call it) All of which has become the norm and it’s reached the point where it so typical, that it’s hardly noticeable. It seems to be Monkey See–Monkey Do. For example:

    1. FASHION: Women shouldn’t wear leggings to work. To put it bluntly, there are too many women walking around the place with HUGE ASSES, only to be accentuated by the tight leggings, yoga pants–whatever you want to call them. They seem to feel that if they wear a loose fitting top that drapes across their butt, that it suddenly becomes slimming, and all the imperfections become hidden. Ladies, please note: JUST BECAUSE YOU WEAR SOMETHING THAT’S MADE OF SPANDEX, AND JUST BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU FEEL LESS JIGGLY, IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT IT ALSO MAKES YOU LOOK SLIM AND TRIM! IT DOESN’T! I don’t want to see your cottage cheese thighs, I don’t want to see the exact profile of your big bulging butt, and another thing to remember: Connie Camel-Toe is alive and well. It’s hard to believe that this has become acceptable at work. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???

    2. CATCH PHRASES: So annoying and yes, CLICHE. Once someone finds any of these phrases, it seems to be pandemic:
    * no worries
    * I got this
    * hey–no judgement (which is the biggest lie…)
    * I can totally relate to your feelings
    * literally
    * good choices: make good choices; remember good choices; it’s all about good choices
    (There’s so many, I can’t think of them all.)

    3. “Psycho-Concern-Seriousness”, along with Sporting Events (mostly football), the cars we drive, liberal points of view: Suddenly everything is OK, we’re all victims, and we’re all beautiful just the way we are. (Please…)

    People in general seem to be truly in love with their psychosis; I’ll leave it at that.

    Football/Sporting Events: There’s nothing as irritating as football fans. There was a time when only young children wore clothing that pays homage to their favorite heros. Usually T-Shirts with a picture of their favorite TV star, cartoon character, and the like. But come to work on casual Jeans-Friday, and everyone’s wearing a football jersey; very trendy. Again, trendy becomes normal.

    Bumper Stickers: My child is an honor student at the Brainiac School for Boys…

    SUVs, 4 Wheel Drive, and oversized trucks: are they really necessary? Or are they simply the trend? A trend you are paying top dollar for. Hmm…

    I could go on and on, but I think people should really think about what’s necessary, what’s trendy, and what should become normal in their day to day lives.

    Thanks for letting me vent. I’ll now return to my normal. 🙂

    • swabby429 says:

      As you have possibly noticed, moderation is a theme I return to quite often. I had forgotten about this six-year-old post. Thanks for the reminder.

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