Normal is a dirty word
A high school teacher once gave my class the following advice: “The nail that stands up gets hammered down.”
Like many people he held the philosophy that in order to succeed in life, you had to make sure you didn’t stand out. In his words, “Our society rewards people who function well as a part of something bigger and if you set yourself apart, you’re not that useful.”
He made some more points to that effect and the class was rapt. When (leering the way he often did) he asked me what my thoughts were on the subject, I replied “Well, Sir, those are all logical, reasoned and well thought out points.” When his smile widened, I added – “I reject them all.” Poof went the smile.
I offered that many of the leaps and bounds made by societies throughout history were as a direct result of people who dared to do things differently. Innovators, philosophers, scientists, artists and inventors around the world who often risked their lives to oppose the grand machines they were living in gave rise to amazing things.
At first he was angered at my counterpoints but afterwards — well actually he was still furious and hated me for the rest of my education — but my point is, this ‘stagnancy worship’ is something that I feel needs to be rooted out; especially in the food industry.
To give a quick example, my father recently asked me to bake him an old-fashioned mac and cheese. He made the point of adding that he was fully fed up with getting food that was, in his words ‘not normal’ and specifically wanted something plain.
I think a part of him knew that there was a moose’s chance in the crosshairs that I’d listen to him and that part at least, was not surprised. I tried to make it normal. I really did. But some part of me was so dearly disappointed by the act that I couldn’t bear it. In fact, it felt downright sinful (and not in a good way). Thus, Dear Readers, I created: