After last weeks post, many more examples of things I had done in my past which others consider weird but have me thinking that those persons were just being intolerant have come to mind. One of those was in sixth grade. When my work was finished, I would sometimes amuse myself by playing hockey on a piece of paper. I would draw out the layout of the ice and with a pencil, draw the movements of the puck up and down the ice. Obviously, many of my class thought this was weird and some often thought I was doing that instead of my work, not the case. Even if it was, it didn’t really bother anyone and at least I was able to amuse myself without disrupting the class. So, I don’t think anyone had a case to moan about it unless it was to tease me or use it as an excuse to bully me.
A more recent example, although still twenty five years ago, was when I worked in a factory in East London. The factory made industrial fragrances and no matter how much I looked after my clothes or took showers, I would often come home smelling of my work. My solution to this was to wear my fatigues I had from the marines to and from work. When I got home, I immediately cast them into an unused closet, had a bath and got into other clothes. The cammies were only on my body an hour to an hour and a half a day in total, a half to three quarters of an hour each way. This didn’t stop some from thinking that I wore them all of the time and making comments about them smelling. Granted, they didn’t know that I changed as soon as I got home but they didn’t bother to ask either. Then again, most of those guys in question were stereotypical Essex men who are the closest thing Britain has to the American redneck. The major difference is that I don’t know of any Essex men who married their cousins. Disclaimer: Not all men from Essex fill this stereotype. However, the guys I worked with did. One of them was even suspected of being in the BNP. That is why they were intolerant of me doing something which seemed perfectly logical in my mind. I let the fatigues catch the smells of the factory so my other clothes didn’t.
I save the most obvious one for the end because in my mind, it was the worst case of me being branded weird by those who were intolerant. I mentioned this in two previous posts, “Haircut Anxieties” and “Clothing Anxieties.” When I came home from the Marine Corps in 1983, all I wanted to do after four years of living under military rule was relax. I firmly believed that after four years of wearing a crew cut and having to dress like everyone else down to the smallest details whilst in the service of my country, I earned the right to go the other way. Therefore, I didn’t cut my hair for nearly a year and a half and I often wore a set of Native American moccasin boots. Unfortunately, looking like that in 80s Reagan America, I was not only branded ‘weird’ for the way I looked, but the recipient of much scorn and intolerance. What I found particularly frustrating is that no one could be bothered to link my eccentric dress and hair style to my being in the military. No one wanted to know my side and that was what I found particularly intolerant. I didn’t want a sympathy party or anything like that but I didn’t expect to be persecuted for wearing my hair or dressing unconventionally. However, there was a happy ending. Three years after my leaving the marines, I did journey to a place where people were much more tolerant of my dress sense.
There are other examples of me being perceived as weird when actually those doing the perceiving were simply showing their intolerance. I say again, nothing I ever did that was considered weird actually effected anyone and in some cases seemed logical to me. So, it’s not a case of me being weird, it’s others refusing to acknowledge anyone having their own point of view.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1455732390&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird