Sunday, 6 January 2013

Anyone 'Normal', Please Raise Your Hand!

    What makes us what we are. What makes us do what we do; what makes us tick, so to speak. The old 'nature versus nurture' debate. Both what we inherit intellectually and our physical circumstances as we grow up obviously affect our development to a greater or lesser degree. I am not clever enough to pontificate scientifically on the subject. The only thing I will say is that we are obviously not born equal.
    In the 21st century we like to put labels on everything, especially concerning 'medical' conditions that have probably been with us forever. Dyslexia comes to mind. Much better to be termed dyslexic than thick, slow or dozy, as was often the case in my childhood. OCD is a term frequently mentioned nowadays; I can still see people with OCD symptoms from my childhood in my 'minds eye'; though the term OCD was yet to be invented, certainly in our village. Presumably Autism has always been with us, albeit under another name. I had an aunt who used to 'wander' the village. We knew something was wrong; we called it 'old age', the term dementia was unheard of. I have a friend who is 'biopolar'. I have known him for many, many years; he used to be referred to as a manic depressive. In my school teaching days I taught many children who were successively referred to over the years as ESN's,  Remedials or the Less Able.
    Of any case, is there such a thing as normal. Different, maybe but nornal, surely it doesn't exist.
'Normal--conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.'
     Amazing in a way, all these musings were brought about by a television programme I watched recently concerning the lengths some collecters/hoarders go to in their daily lives. One lady in particular caught my eye. She hoarded many things, particularly food. She had in the house/fridge/cupboards over 700 tins of food, some many years old. She had also  many, many items of unworn clothing and a multitude of Christmas items including seven Christmas trees. The programme employs a psychologist who specialises in 'hoarders', a not uncommon occurrence. It was soon established that the lady in question had experienced a particularly deprived childhood, particularly where food was concerned. I experienced an extremely strong empathy with this lady.
    I experienced a difficult though not unhappy childhood. I was born in the first year of the war, a time of real austerity and I was orphaned young. I can still vividly remember certain childhood possessions,: a Dinky toy lorry, a  tiny cannon that fired matchsticks and a nine millimetre gun (that fired cartridges. Definitely not my style in later life); a stopwatch (a 'swap' if I remember right which I promptly dropped), a second-hand bike and a subbuteo set. All these and more of no great monetary value but important to me. Partly, somewhat obviously because I and many children like me had little; what we did have we valued.
    Four years ago I bought a bungalow. It had an outbuilding 'going spare'. I instinctively knew what it was to be. It is now 'Granddad's Bar' a geriatric bolthole in which I write, ponder and let the world go by. You might be interested in the 'decor'. You know the modern term 'minimalist'. Well my 'bar', minimalist it certainly is not! The psychologists would have a field day! And do you know what, I don't care. Plus it certainly isn't finished yet, there's plenty more room if you look carefully; the ceiling's untouched for a start!

    We're all different in our little and sometimes not so little ways. (Amongst my many eccentricities, much to everyone's amusement I invariably make a humming sound when I am occupied and relaxed. So did my mother and she was a wonderful woman.) What have you inherited or been 'given' to make you that unique individual that I am sure you are.


CWMartin said...

Just thought I'd pop in and say congrats to Derby County for their 5-0 win!

Ruth Rainwater said...

Great post, as usual, Ken. I always say that 'normal' is a setting on the washing machine! We are each of us unique; no two people are exactly alike. Well, except perhaps for identical twins, but even then they are not truly identical in every way.

I collect certain items; I am not a hoarder at all. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!)

Oh, and Happy New Year!!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Dear Sir Grumpster, if you have Guinness then I am moving in to your little outhouse - For sure! It's fab.

p.s. From my Dad, I have the bent middle finger of my right hand, and I twiddle my thumbs when I don't realise I am doing it...

I too collect, er hoard. I think it'd a bit of an English thing. Although I think I'd be good working with hoarders as a psychotherapist ;)

Harlow said...

Wow! A Wurlitzer Jukebox. Do you have all of the records to go with it? Do you need nickels (or whatever the British coin was) to play it?

Nota Bene said...

Mine's a pint!

As I mature, more and more I realise there is no such thing as normal..This has come as something of a surprise. I see nothing wrong with a bit of hoarding either...

Valerie said...

That's a great place you've created, Ken ... wonder where you got the barmaid from?

Sueann said...

I definitely don't have a "normal" bone in my body!! My house is my art studio....nothing is sacred and all spaces filled!! Ha!!
And the good news? I like me just the way I am!!
Like you too!!
Enjoyed your bar!

Star said...

Loved the post (as usual!). Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

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rhymeswithplague said...

To characterize "normal" as "not abnormal" is a bit of a circular definition, don't you think? Chiefly, it doesn't tell one anything at all.

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ILoveMyDogandMy Music said...

I love your "bar", "Grandad"..I can really relate to what you wrote about the new words used for maladies which I am sure have been with society forever. There is a fellow in town who is my age and he has always been alone and different. Now there are those who say he is mildly autistic. I grew up with him and he has always been like this. He is extremely annoying to so many and he knows that. So many times he will start "pushing buttons" because it obviously pleases him. He can't push mine, he knows it and we have fairly "normal" conversations. People are so different in so many ways how can we even define what is normal? We don't even know, I think.

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Grumpy Old Ken said...

Thanks. Your game is ice hockey, is it not?
I wonder how identical are identical twins?
I reckon psychotherapists would have a field day with us all!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

sorry to disappoint you, Its a modern copy playing cd's!

Nota Bene
Don't we all mellow as we get older. Old age creeping on!
Note the bardmaids got chewed fingers-- not me!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Sue Ann
We'd get on well!

Thanks, you too.

I Love My Dogs

He sounds good fun!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Rhymes with Plague
Entirely agree. Not my definition by the way!

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Wow ... I love your collection of tankards and jugs! I have a thing about jugs myself, but mine are almost all glass.

What a great hideaway. And I love your 'barmaid', too!

Me - I'm probably one of them there hoarders. Not that I keep complete rubbish and I do turn my larder out from time to time and get rid of stuff, but I honestly have a hard time throwing sentimental or potentially useful stuff away. Possibly because we were not rich, and when we moved house for the first time in my memory a lot of stuff was just thrown out without reference to us kids. I remember my brother being made to toss his old teddy bear down the 'chute' (we lived in a block of flats at the time) which, looking back, I think was a tad cruel.

Bitchy said...

I am short, muscular and freckled all over. I have two crocked pinky fingers, which a teacher said was a sign I was not trust worthy. But I think it is my scares that are most unique. They are one of a kinds and all mine.

As far as collecting goes, as a kid I loved Tonka trucks, parnets said girls should play with dolls not trucks. As I grew up it became bicycles, skates any thing with wheels that would get me there faster. As an adult (some thing I really do not refer to myself as) Motorcycles.

I prefer to call me and my collection different. We are not what people would say is normal but we are far from unusal.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Love your blog, different! Very cruel, the teddy bear bit! Could be life changing!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Like your bikey blogs. Over here we are so different yet in other ways all the same. (If that makes sense!)

Bitchy said...

Thanks for the complement. I wrote a little when life throws me a free evening. Love your writing also. I would not call you grumpy though but then again most say I am really not bitchy... ; D

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