Several years ago, the ex-husband of a friend of mine, let’s just call him X, mentioned that he hung out once with The Enigma. You may have seen him referenced as The Human Jigsaw. I’d seen images of The Enigma before so I knew who X was describing. For those that were not aware, X explained the detail of The Enigma’s tattoos as well as the various body modifications he has had. My only comment was, “that’s weird.”
I can’t say exactly why, but X was inclined to defend The Enigma and stated how he was a real nice and interesting guy, as if “weird” were a negative adjective. For some, maybe it is, but not for me.
Let’s set some groundwork before I continue. The Enigma is weird. The Merrian-Webster dictionary (online edition) defines weird as “of strange or extraordinary character : odd, fantastic.” There are other definitions, but this is the one that I think is most used in American culture and certainly my intent when describing The Enigma. To this day I think the description is spot on. I mean his appearance and the lengths he went to achieve them are certainly “odd” and possess “strange or extraordinary character.”
So The Enigma is weird.
But I don’t count weird as a pejorative. It may not be as neutral as “tall” or “red,” but without going into how even those simple adjectives could be described as insulting by some, I group weird as a part of a set of word that are not negative in connotation. After all, I count myself as weird (though not as weird as The Enigma).
I grew up in a small town in North Mississippi. I was a Roman Catholic born in Ohio. So I spoke funny, looked a little funny (due to my Portuguese heritage and squinty eyes), was the wrong religion, didn’t like or follow sports or hunting, and was apparently from a family of carpetbaggers. I started off weird. My natural shyness didn’t help, nor did my gregarious dual nature once I was comfortable with a group. Then add on top of that my love of all thing monsters, and I just got weirder. THEN add on top of that my later discovery and love of all things magical … and well let’s just say I really didn’t fit in. I was weird. I didn’t look terribly weird – assuming I wasn’t wearing bell bottom jeans, or sweat pants pulled up to my chest, or really, really big hair. OK, maybe I looked a little out of place too.
Eventually I just got used to being different, then I came to embrace it. Weird is cool. Weird is good. Weird is individual, unique, and different. Weird people do things that other people don’t even imagine doing until years later. Weird people create art and games. Weird people design things that set other people to scratching their heads in wonder. Weird people are awesome.
If I ever call you or someone you know as weird, just know it isn’t a pejorative. It isn’t an insult. Hell if anything it’s a complement. Now if I call you normal …
© 2015, Joseph K Little. All rights reserved.