Quirky 5/20/21

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

A little better than a year ago, I bought a vehicle I call “Corrine”. She’s named as such because I purchased her with the first Coronavirus relief check, without a loan. She is a 1997 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer edition that cost about a thousand dollars.

These days, you can’t expect much for a thousand dollars. Her seats no longer are adjustable (but I did fix them so at least they are at reasonable positions), her lights work because of a bypass switch, she has no front drive shaft so is rear wheel only, and a few other little quirks. But she’s very reliable, and honestly, just so much fun to drive. And if you need to haul something she’s a godsend.

In fact, “quirky” is the perfect description for her. It sounds fun and is. Quirky means doing things in an unusual or unexpected way, it it still means getting the job done. One of the most brilliant minds of our time has to have been Richard Feynman, a physicist at CalTech. He passed on a few years ago, but he didn’t like being referred to as “brilliant”. In his autobiographies, he claimed he simply had what he referred to as a different toolbox. He looked at things from angles that are not typical. Because his perspective is different and quirky, he could come up with solutions others didn’t see.

Me? Oh, yes, I’m quirky. I’m feeling more and more like Corrine every day. My strength isn’t what it used to be, I’m achy, but I’m still reliable. Anybody who has read my blogs for any period of time now know that I’m quirky. I love science and chemistry, but know almost nothing about sports (my usual joke is, “oh, is that the one where they have nine innings to make ten yards to put the puck in the hoop in spandex?). That definitely makes me quirky, and sometimes makes it a challenge to “blend in”, especially in social settings.

Edgar Allen Poe was quirky. I loved his writing, his stories. Heck, I’ve written several short stories that were inspired by his writings, many of which were not even stories so much as scenarios. If you’ve read the pit and the pendulum (the story of the man strapped to the floor with a giant pendulum getting closer to him with each swing), it’s clear it’s not really a story at all. Never does Poe address who the man is, or how he came to be in that predicament. It was a quirky little story about a man strapped to a floor with a menacing pendulum.

My favorite friends are the quirky ones. Sometimes its hard for me to even think about them in terms of “quirky”, but they are, and I love it. I have friends who are gamers, and in fact have been involved in role-playing campaigns with them that have lasted literally for years. Some of my favorite friends are from the Renaissance Fair. They sew their own garb, created their own character, definitely actions of quirky people.

Honestly, I’m proud to be quirky. I’ve soared to heights envied by many because of my quirky love of science and chemistry. My friend used to tell me how his sister was so upset that she had a curfew, but he never did. Far from being sexist, his mother simply explained that he knows where he was. He was always in his friend’s basement, drinking a sugary high caffeine pop and eating chips while playing games. Because my friend is quirky. He went on to create a game club, where the quirky students gathered to play all kinds of games (except video games; there was another club for that). One of them went on to become a very successful lawyer, to nobody’s surprise. One quirky aspect of gamers is that they read the rules and know how to work them. There is no reason to cheat if you know how to make the rules work in your favor.

So how about you? What is it about you that makes you quirky? My advice; don’t hide it. Don’t deny it. Instead, relish it. Those differences make you brilliant, talented, and beautiful. It is maddening to me that we live in a society where we say that you can be as unique as you want but criticize anybody who is different from the norm. Have you looked at vehicles today? They look so similar that I have a hard time telling the difference between them. You be you, and celebrate who you are.

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