The New Benchmark For Normal
Trying to define normal is fairly difficult. It seems to have become a somewhat relative term and different folks have different ideas of just exactly what constitutes normal. I think it is because we lack a universal standard; a benchmark, if you will, against which we can measure things that are said and done to determine whether or not they are normal.
Benchmarks are employed to good purpose in other areas of human endeavor all the time. Systems and process often are benchmarked so that deviations from the norm can be measured and corrected. Athletic training is often benchmarked so that an individual or team performance can be measured to determine in what areas there has been improvement or decline.
Benchmarking works. Benchmarking makes sense and I have decided we need a benchmark for normal.
Because there doesn’t seem to be many willing to step up and help create a fundamental standard for normal, I have decided to present myself as that benchmark.
This is not out of any feeling of superiority on my part or a need for ego gratification. I accept becoming the benchmark for normal with all due humility in the service of humanity. And there are distinct advantages for the rest of you.
For example, I’m not very good with hand or power tools. Ok, basically I don’t have a clue what most of them do and the few I do understand usually lead me to some dangerous point in whatever I’m fixing or assembling. How is that good, you ask? If you were formerly only considered average when it came to being handy, measured against the new benchmark you will now be considered exceptional. If you are a klutz, congratulations; you are now considered normal.
As I said to Maggie when I made this decision to offer myself up as normal’s benchmark, “It will take a lot of pressure off the rest of the world by making it easier to achieve a state of being normal.”
Of course, the down side is that if you don’t measure up this new benchmark, then you’re pretty much screwed. We pretty much set the benchmark as low as it could go without actually getting into negative numbers so, if you can’t meet the new standard; you may require professional assistance.
And apparently there are more than just a few who can’t.
I see things every day that make me shudder like the 4,000 people in Georgia who voted for Charles Darwin last Tuesday as a write-in candidate or the cleaning lady who broke into a house to vacuum and dust and then left, leaving a bill for $75 behind. She thoughtfully left her name, address and telephone number on her handwritten invoice and wondered how the police found her when they dropped by to charge her with break and enter.
It reminds me of the guy who robbed the casino near where I live a few years back. He didn’t have a get-away car so he took a cab from the casino back to his place, where the police were waiting for him. Sometimes, you don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
One of my favourite examples of failing to make the benchmark remains the woman who thought that deer only cross the highway where the government decides to put the deer crossing signs and that the government should consider having the deer cross in lower traffic areas.
In Florida Democrat Earl K. Wood and in Alabama Republican Charles Beasley were both reelected by overwhelming majorities last week despite the fact that both men had died in October and were not available for their victory parties. It was a small detail that seems to have escaped many in their former constituencies and it is clear that while political affiliation is no guarantee of achieving success, being dead just might be.
I think the good folks who voted for these candidates can be forgiven though, politics does something to people that erodes IQ. I know this because I see it every time politicians open their mouths.
Take the New Democratic Party of Canada (please). After winning the leadership, Thomas Mulcair embarked on a verbal attack of Canada’s resource industries, in particular the oil and gas sector and specifically the oil sands. He was opposed to development. He was opposed to pipelines. He was opposed to the jobs they created.
Then the Americans held their presidential election and it appears that there is a very real possibility that a pipeline will be built from Alberta to Texas and the oil sands oil will be shipped to the States, creating thousands of jobs in both countries in the process.
Now Mr. Mulcair is upset because Canada isn’t building a pipeline to eastern Canada and shipping the oil he originally vilified to other parts of the country.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling more charitable, I chalk it up to dementia rather than stupidity.
In the States, we saw New York Mayor Bloomberg decide that holding the New York Marathon would be a good use for scarce resources a mere four days after Hurricane Sandy devastated the lives of thousands in his city. Fortunately, New York seems to have more than a few people who, unlike their mayor, actually do meet or exceed the normal benchmark and they soon put a stop to that nonsense.
Politicians like Todd Aiken with his absurd comments about legitimate rape not only don’t meet the standard for normal, they don’t even meet the low benchmark set for politicians in general. As for meeting any standard set for decency — well — one step at a time.
And then, of course, there is businessman Donald Trump who inserted himself into the recent election campaign with the intellectual grace of a water buffalo with hornet up its butt. He pretty much confirms my theory that everyone touched by politics sees their IQ plummet by at least 25 points.
After watching politicians in action for more than forty years, I have come to the conclusion that there is a direct correlation between normal and oxygen. Politicians live in such a rarefied environment, their brains don’t get enough oxygen. Either that or they have their heads so firmly implanted up their asses they can’t breathe and the end result is the same thing – no oxygen to the brain which impedes their ability to achieve the basic benchmark for normal.
The only way to recover from it is to resign from office and get a real job although typically many politicians prefer to wait until they are either thrown out of office by voters or forced out of office by scandal as we’re starting to see in Quebec as that province’s corruption probe uncovers ‘uh oh’ political activity.
I shouldn’t pick on politicians exclusively, the world is full of people who just don’t measure up to the basic benchmark.
As I told Maggie, it’s actually becoming pretty frightening. I know what goes through my mind at times and if I’m the benchmark for normal it’s downright disturbing to think what goes through the minds of people who don’t meet the benchmark.
A woman in California was so upset after Mitt Romney lost the election, she posted a message in which she called President Obama the ‘n’ word and waxed philosophically about his potential assassination. She was quite indignant about losing her job over it and even more surprised that she is now being investigated by the Secret Service.
“So apparently my post last night about Obama got onto Twitter and Fox 40 came and interviewed me cause apparently a lot of people in Sacramento think I’m crazy and racist. WOW is all I got to say!! I’m not racist and I’m not crazy. just simply stating my opinion.!!!”
I believe that to achieve the benchmark for normal you at least have to be able to understand that when you’re opinion attacks someone based on their race you are – well – a racist.
They walk among us, my friends. They are the people who while they may qualify for a guest appearance on the Jerry Springer Show, still cannot achieve the new and much easier benchmark I have established for normal. They are not restricted to any one age group, race, gender or nationality and they are breeding.
It might not be a bad idea to learn how to sleep with one eye open from this point on.
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