One day in high school I was prancing around in my sparkly silver tights when my English teacher pulled me aside to impart the following little gem of wisdom. Mary, quoth he, you really should try to be more like other people.
This is when I realized the value of a secret identity. Of course, I think he just didn’t like my sparky silver tights but I worked at it and later that same year my brother made me a t-shirt that said “conformist” and I knew I was on the trail of something big.
Be more like other people. It’s so simple and yet surprisingly difficult, at least it is for a big honking weirdo like yours truly. Sure, everyone says be yourself, embrace your inner what have you, but when it comes to getting a job quickly when you’re broke, making small talk with office strangers, or just trying to float by under the radar without anyone noticing you, there is nothing like being normal.
Anything funky or weird, keep it to yourself and a small, trusted group of friends who will forgive you for your independent streak. If you catch yourself doing something strange in public, like chanting “evil robot” under your breath ad nauseum just pass it off as a small stroke. This creates what author Douglas Adams calls a “somebody else’s problem” field which most normals cannot perpetrate. Or just say, “wow do I need another coffee! ” and everything will be right as rain.
The best part about great advice is passing it on! Let your loved ones know that you expect them to toe the normal line, and shun them if they refuse. Who are they anyway, Ayn Rand? This is an excellent way to curb troublesome childhood behavior too, a few brutal corrections and they’ll be colouring in the lines like the little conformist monkeys they are.
It’s also a nice way to take the edge off any existentialist angst you may be feeling. Not sure of the meaning of life and existence? Trapped and frozen in a hell dimension of depression and pain? Creatively stunted? Desperate to express your true nature by performing a modern dance routine in a wolf suit to Van Morrison’ ‘Moondance’? Relax and remember, everybody feels that way, so just pick yourself up off the floor and shake it off, ‘kay?