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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Proposal To Retire A Word

normal: conforming to the standard or common type; usual; regular; natural. 

What percentage of people do you think could agree about what is "normal" with respect to most human endeavors? Let's start with some verboten stuff many of us were taught to avoid in polite conversation. What is normal with respect to sex? How about money? Politics? Religion? See what I mean? What a slippery word.

Recently, when asked if I thought some behaviors a grieving person was exhibiting were normal, I dodged the question. What is "usual" or "regular" or "natural" when facing grief? I'm an emotional wreck at wakes or funerals; I've been with people who can't shut up during a wake, and they're not talking about the deceased. And I've seen numerous other reactions, as I'm sure you have. Which of them is normal aka usual, regular, natural?

And what about timing? Who gets to decide where the markers lie and declare when a new normal is in order? In my almost 65 year old body, the normal I experience is quite different than the normal I felt at 25. More information about that puts me in over-share land so allow me to close with a proposal: How about we retire normal?

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