Thursday, July 9, 2020

Second Place Most Unique

I'm weirder than average, but not weird enough to be top-dog weird, apparently!

One time, I took my 1970 Big Bad Orange AMC Gremlin to a car show full of Mustangs, Camaros, Street Rods, Hot Rods, Rest-Mods, tractors, trucks...

I was the only Gremlin there.  And if you know anything at all about Gremlins, they're adorably weird little cars from the 70s.  Having one in Big Bad Orange REALLY sets a kid apart, I'll tell you.

I won a trophy, too, that day!  Second Place Most Unique.  My weird little orange car from the 70s won Second Place most unique.  Got beat by a motorcycle that looks like all the motorcycles you'll ever find on the road!

Not that I begrudge the motorcyclist who beat me for Most Unique at this show.  I don't.  I know that to a motorcycle owner, every motorcycle is a unique and beautiful chromed butterfly.  I like motorcycles! 

But Second Place Whatever is kind of the story of my whole damn life, if you want to know the God's-Honest Truth.  I feel sometimes like I might not be people's first choice for whatever, but I'll do all right enough.

I kind of thought I had being Unique down to an art, really.  Right down to my weird little orange car.  So yeah, I kind of took it personally when I got Second Place Most Unique, second to a motorcycle that seemed unique only in that it was one of few motorcycles at a show full of cars.  It was hard to keep it separate that the Second Place Most Unique was awarded to my car, not to me as a person.  It wasn't an indictment on my uniqueness as an individual on this planet.  For all I know, the owner of the motorcycle that beat my Gremlin could have been the most quotidian person on the planet.  A beige couch in a showroom of beige couches.  

And I am probably not that.  

I didn't used to want to be unique.  Unique meant a nice way of saying a someone or something was weird.  I didn't want to be weird.  I just wanted to fit in.  Of course I did.  I was a kid with big red hair, and a habit of getting lost in a dictionary or encyclopedia and spending hours alone in my room, pondering.  I always had an outsized vocabulary.  I always felt like I was mailed to the wrong address.

I just wanted to fit in.

The older I got, the more sharply I realized that fitting in was not an option for me, actually.  The red hair doesn't exactly make it easy for me to fit in, to blend in.  I see things from odd angle.  I still feel most of the time that I've been mailed to the wrong address.  

But the thing about fitting in, as we learned from Tetris, is that once you fit in, you disappear.  

So I learned to make peace with being Unique. But apparently I'm not too awfully unique.  I wouldn't win a unique contest.  I'm not unique for the sake of being unique, weird for the sake of being weird.  But I am me.  I'm unique enough.  

I don't need a trophy to prove that!  And neither does my weird little orange car!

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