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4.20.2011

One guy's normal is another guy's crazy

I bought a bottle of black nail polish so Kit and I can paint our toenails on Friday. It's not too outrageous but it's different enough for him to feel he's setting himself apart and I'm happy to share that with him. Next week is vacation so he won't be wearing it to school.

Tio doesn't understand this at all. He likes to be part of the crowd, wear the "normal" fashions and be 'ordinary' (his word). He doesn't understand Kit wanting to be different - really doesn't get it. "Why," he asks, "would anyone want to stand out?"

He's wrestled with that question all his life when looking at his brother. But what baffles him this week is why I would expose myself to ridicule along with him. If Kit is going to look like a fool, so be it. But Grampy, too? That's beyond comprehension.

"I watch your ball games and go to your dances, right?" I said. "because it's what you like to do and if you like it, it's okay by me."

"But everyone likes baseball and dances," he said. "not painting your nails."

"He likes it and it makes him feel special. That makes it special to me," I said. "Besides, I never played baseball as a kid. I didn't like guy stuff. You would have though I was a weirdo if we were in school together. I like to be different. There's nothing wrong with it."

"You are going to wear socks, right?" He was thinking how to explain me away to his friends, as if they didn't already know I'm not like other grandparents.

"If it's cold out." Then I wondered aloud, "Don't tell me you're going to be one of those guys who works on the 37th floor at desk 202 and goes home to the suburban house to kiss your 2.2 kids while you flip burgers on the back yard patio with your buds talking bout the latest scores and how much money your wives spend?"

"Sounds good to me." he said. And I bet it does. He really does want to be in a place surrounded by others just like him. That'd be comfort. Whether he is a Major League pitcher or a junior file clerk as long as he's surrounded by the same, he'll feel at home.

It's not a bad plan, laying a foundation of conformity to build a life on. I could never manage it and I doubt it'll be Kit's dream but I can see Tio building a castle out of normalcy.

In the meantime, he'll have to live with me and Kit wearing a bit of the full goose bozo.