I take great pride in being called weird.
And before my family decides to make this their new chant in the office, let me just frame that statement with the following explanation (granted, I doubt they even read this far after reading the first line).
I have a different outlook on a lot of things. It’s not drastically different, but definitely just left of normal. I sometimes see the odd in things that others don’t, my sense of humor is rye (pumpernickel is just nasty), and I have an affinity toward things that most adults constitute as childish (I still tap people on the opposite shoulder while walking by, I make weird awkward jokes in serious moments, and I yell out “Marco!” in places like Wal-Mart, Sam’s or the mall).
On top of all that, I tend to hang out with teenagers and young adults, and some would say that I talk and act like them. It’s not something I do to be part of who they are, but more about how integrated I have made myself into their world. I use the words ‘swag’, ‘dorbs’, ‘perts’ and ‘totes McGoats’ (seriously, that’s just fun to say), much to the chagrin of my daughter who looks at me with dead seriousness in her eyes and says…”Dad! Just stop.” Add to that the fact that I have always been a comic book, superhero and cartoon kind of guy, I love my video games, and I enjoy the really nerdy things in life.. and I was like this back in the 80’s… before they were cool (but parachute pants and mullets were? Really? You want to judge me??)
My extended family, and a lot of the adults I know, tends to look at me as if I just never grew up (or they just flat-out judge me… it’s one or the other, I prefer to think they just don’t get me, it hurts less that way). Their echoing cries of mocking humor tend to get brushed off because I chalk it up to their ignorance of who I am (or how I have been changing the lives of those kids I hang out with for the last 20 years). Some of those kids look at me as if I’m a bit weird too, so I’m not so sure that my argument in defense of myself is really going to hold any water, but I’m sticking to it.
Speaking of those kids, I could tell you that the who that I am today is because I have adapted to the environment that I chose to work in (youth ministry), but the truth of the matter is that it was more like finding the right place to fit. If being weird allows me to build those relationships with them so I can speak into their lives, I’m all good with that. There is just something about the straightforwardness of a teenager that is so refreshing, especially after dealing with the political maneuverings of adults who feel that the only way they can feel better about themselves is too look down on you and make fun of you. So much so, that one of the best compliments I can give an adult is that I want to hang out with them.
As I have grown older and further away from the average age of those students and closer to the average age of a mid-life crisis, there have been the rumors and heckling that I am trying to hold onto my younger self. Let me assure you, that is totally not true. I remember me at 16, 17 and 18. I was, to be kind, a dork. Ok, so, not so kind, but truthful. I was really weird, socially awkward, didn’t really fit in with people my own age… and the more I describe this, the more I realize I really haven’t’ changed that much… so, they might be right on that part. Maybe.
But I enjoy being ‘that’ guy. The one who looks at people in church, watches them blow their nose in a tissue then look into it, and I wonder… what are they looking for? Or to be the one who calls people out on just going along with the flow because it’s just easier… it’s not easier, you’re just either an idiot or lazy. There is just something fun in being the guy that challenges you on what you believe, whether it’s the God I believe in, the nothing you don’t believe in, or the big fat fluffy cat you say speaks to you in your dreams, Mr. Meow-Gi (see what I did there?)
I enjoy not only allowing my inner madness out, but embracing it. If that has caused people to call me weird, then I’m ok with that. It is, after all, how God decided to wire me. Why shouldn’t I be ok with it? As I like to say…
I like being me, because if I wasn’t, someone else would get to have all this fun.
And I’d miss out on being this weird.
Have to admit, it’s been one heck of a ride thus far.