Monday, July 7, 2014

Be a Human Thesaurus

The most frequent question when you meet someone and there's a lull in conversation is, "What do you do?"
Even adrift in space, alone, as a skeleton no meat
on those bones, it's not too late to breath fire on a
torch to help others see you in the darkness of space.
Image by the great artist Donathon Crew

People take that to mean "what pays for your lifestyle?" Or, "What do you do for a steady paycheck that will hopefully allow me to judge you in a way that makes me feel better about my menial cubicled existence?" But there are plenty of things that the collective "we" do outside of the narrow definition of a drunken party-goer.

This weekend alone, I was a landscape artist, unwitting exhibitionist, cook, bartender, pharmacist, critic, juggler, inadvertent perpetrator of avicide, sub-amateur botanist, chauffeur, sex object/deluded narcissist, personal stylist, maid, and of course a wino.

People who are self-defined by one characteristic are suspect. If you meet someone and, if before you can burp a question in this person's general direction, that person aggressively forces you to confront their one, self-defined characteristic, that person is probably going to be annoying. "Hi, I'm Phil, I'm an anti-Gluten activist and will bring every conversation back to that." Yuck.
Image Source
I knew someone who grew a big bushy beard and dressed in ironic t-shirts and called himself a "street artist." Instead, he was reduced to a dismissible stereotype, a hipster, because his entire personality was wrapped up in this image he was trying to project.

We are, each of us, a human thesaurus. (Oh, that's good, I should make that into some poster using religious symbols to spell the words.) 

Okay, maybe that baby is more than just a baby.
Granted, this hypothesis of mine doesn't work everywhere. "What are you in for?" "Is that all I am to you, a number defined by one flippant act of delinquency? Maybe this is my third strike, did you ever think of that? Maybe I needed more structure in my life and am here voluntarily." Yeah, doesn't quite work in prison, but hopefully you're not a prisoner. Or babies. Babies are pretty much defined by being a baby.

Maybe I am the person who farted in the elevator and stood facing the back wall so I didn't have to face the disapproving looks of fellow passengers. So what? Can't I also be the person who just donated bone marrow to the 10 year-old cancer patient? Yeah, feel bad, don't you? Well, no, I didn't donate bone marrow, but that doesn't mean that I couldn't have. I am more than the elevator farter!
Image Source
There's a world of things you and I could be outside of the confining pens of labels, if only we'd allow our brains to reconcile more than one thing at a time.

22 comments:

  1. Nope, you're wrong. The ONLY thing I do is comment on Pickleope.com. When I'm not commenting, someone wheels me away and bundles my into a cryochamber, only to be released the next time Pickleope posts another wonderfully entertaining article.

    Nice post by the way.

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  2. People who want to convince me that they ARE one thing through and through are my favorite people to screw with.

    Especially when they're trying to convince me they really ARE an artist or a lawyer or a mom to their very marrow.

    Like anyone is really a mom...

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  3. Tell us more about your being a sex object/deluded narcissist. It would gratify the voyeuristic aspect of my multi-faceted personality.

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  4. That's right, I am more than just a serial arsonist, but according to the judge, that seems very irrelevant to my trial.

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  5. i don't even know who I am...oh god who am I? quick give me something so I can be defined as a person.......

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  6. What I'd really like to know is...
    where do I send my resume to be a sex object?

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  7. Oh, how I tired of the derisive silence when I used to admit that I stayed at home with my children. When I became a reporter, people who had never spoken to me before suddenly became my "friends." HA! Now I tell people that I am a kept woman, and it's great work if you can get it.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. Oh the at home mother silence!!!!! Been there, done/doing that!!!!!

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    2. Janie, you liar. With every post you reveal yet another aspect of your personality, yet another job you do. Editor, burlesque dancer, dog walker, drug runner, paramour, ninja assassin, ass assassin (I just wanted to write "ass" a lot since I'm an ass), you're a renaissance woman.

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    3. I was a stay at home mommer for a year. And I was SO HORRIBLE at it. And I hated the reaction people had when I told them, like I had also told them I had an open genital wart that was itching me - their heads cocked to the side and "oooooh"

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    4. Andrea and Lola CandyforBreakfast, I'm so glad you understand. Sometimes I made nasty jokes about people's reactions. Pickleope, you left out hooker. All women are multi-taskers.

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  8. I was with you right up to . . . . .if only we'd allow our brains to reconcile more than one thing at a time . . . .But I'm a chap, us chaps can't do that. . . . more than one thing at a time. . . . . I am thinking about that but no it is not possible . . . . . . Have I ever told you I'm a street artist. Well when I say street I mean sofa and I dont have a beard. . .

    Wise words though I will remember them every time I ask someone. . . And What Do You Do. . . actually I may not ask folk that ever again.

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  9. So we CAN be defined by more than the gas we pass. This is good news!

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  10. I do whatever Al Penwasser tells me to do, and more. Hi. He said to drop by and say that. I'm also following, because I sense some brilliance disguised in pickleope madness. Incidentally, I don't budge when I'm the elevator farter. That way, I can pretend it wasn't me, even though everyone else on the elevator knows it was me and even if I'm the only one on the elevator. It works pretty well.

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    Replies
    1. See? Pickleope is a treasure! Oh, the people you'll meet and the things you do (well, not YOU. Or Pickleope. Maybe I'm talking about ME)-some of which may be illegal in certain corners of the country- when you're on Blogger.

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    2. Wait. I'm replying on someone's else's blog. I think this may be rude. Sorry. I'll go away now.

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  11. I love farting in crowded elevators. It's a great way to start conversations.

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  12. Do you tell people you are a blogger?

    Is that what you do?

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  13. I lie. About everything. All the time. Then I am never pigeon holed down. OR am I? You don't know because I'm lying. It's genius. OR is it?

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  14. I also came over from Al's Place. I just stopped reading in the middle, and headed straight here. Oops, I better go back and comment before he catches me here. Talk about being in a PICKLEOPE! Speaking of elevators, excessive talking is almost as bad as having uncontrollable gas, but it's not as funny. It's nice to meet you, and I look forward to following your antics!

    Julie

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  15. Man... defining one's self is like drowning in a bowl of Robitussin flavored dildos.

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  16. It sounds like you had a very full weekend. I wonder how many of those things you multitasked?

    I think I could have fun with Phil the Anti-Gluten Activist, seeing how creatively he could turn a range of topics back to the gluten scourge.

    ReplyDelete

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