I’ve long decided Donald Trump’s mental state isn’t good, but I sometimes wonder about my own. Am I normal?
Living in a retirement community forces me to raise the question from time to time. So many neighbors are devoted to serving on committees and going to meetings whereas, I’d rather open a vein and bleed to death.
Self-doubt about my normalcy led me to read an article by George Mannes in the latest edition of AARP Magazine, “Are You Normal?” ( August/September 2020, pg. 25.) The quiz it contained gave me a few answers. One satisfied my curiosity about being generous. As I was raised in poverty, I’ve often wondered if my level of charitable giving was less than, greater than, or about the same as others. If the survey can be trusted, I’ve no reason to feel apologetic. But my tipping habits differed from the main. The average tip at a restaurant is 18%. I find that asymmetrical calculus mind-boggling. Who does that kind of math?
The more I read, the more I learned I could easily be cut from the herd. Do I eat more pork than chicken one question asked. I’m a vegetarian. I don’t eat either. None of my money goes for alcohol consumption, another isolating factor.
I decided to rifle through the magazine for some distraction. A Carol Burnett interview caught my eye. She’s three years older than I and, like me, she delights in laughter for its own sake. Her eponymous comedy, which ran from 1967-78, is still on the air as reruns. When the interviewer asked how she accounted for the show’s longevity, she admitted her material was never topical “We just went for the laughs.” (Carol Burnett, AARP Magazine, August/September 2020, pg. 14.)
Laughter is normal to our species, thank heavens. We also know it has healing powers. And that’s the beauty of it. We don’t have to be normal to enjoy a good chuckle. In fact, Charlie Chaplin once said: “To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it.