On Being Quirky

This is day 3 of my 30-day blog challenge, and I already wish it would suck a butt (to use the parlance of my 24 year-old friends). And yet here I am, back like a faithful dog…if dogs were reluctant writers and their owners reluctant blog readers.

[TBS_ALERT color=”success” heading=””]N.B.: I never said 30 days in a row.[/TBS_ALERT]

I don’t think anyone has ever said (with any seriousness) that Heather and I are exactly mainstream. I’m not claiming to be full-on weird yet, though I think we dabble in it from time to time. So let’s stick with:


A Highly Reactive State

Watching other people’s reactions is one of the best things about taking on THE MAN (and by “the man” here I mean the often petty slings and arrows of American society which cause me to feel rather “put out” and aggravated, rather than #ICANTBREATHE). You can tell a lot about folks from their initial reaction to the unexpected.

From my experiences, there are six types of people in the whole world, and everyone falls exactly neatly into one of the categories EVERY TIME for the purposes of this blog entry.

  1. Purse-y lips: “We have rules for a reason. I won’t say anything now,  but you can bet that I will Facebook post all the facts I can remember from my community college classes later. Because that’s what good citizens do. IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING!”
  2. Matter-of-factoids: “You’ve done a lot of research on the issue? Well, I read (most of) an article on HuffPo/Daily Caller and therefore have the definitive opinion on the matter.”
  3. Chicken Littles: “Won’t someone think of the CHILDREN?”
  4. VP of the Quirky Club Membership Committee: “Oh mah god, that’s amazing. AH-MAY-ZING! Did you know that from ’97 to ’99 I wore my blazers inside out when I wasn’t actually meeting with people.  It was so AH-MAY-ZING!”
  5. And you’re telling me this WHY?: “Um…yeah, huh. Say, have you ever watched Big Bang Theory? Smartest show on TV.”
  6. Reasonable person: “That’s interesting. Are you familiar with [some author]?” (instantly becomes fast friends with Heather)

All Aboard

Perhaps my earliest counter-culture foray was to take on the keyboard establishment. Oh yes, there is a keyboard establishment  and you would not believe how insidiously entrenched they are. Forget the moon landing and the cover-up of Andrew Wakefield’s findings, there is vast conspiracy to undermine the pro-DVORAK movement.

I first learned about the QWERTY conspiracy and Big Keyboard Industry in this Discover magazine article. It changed my Life*. I popped all the keys off my superbad Gateway PC and rearranged them according to the far-superior Dvorak method.

The Dvorak Keyboard Layout
Can you feel the sensibility in design? CAN YOU?

Within 2 weeks, I was touch typing at my former QWERTY speed (about 40 wpm). After four weeks, I had attained a whopping 60 wpm. That’s a lot for me. I also convinced Heather to switch, though she may have done it simply because she got tired of trying to remember how to switch it back in Windows. This is how Heather comes to accept most technology advances, actually.

Telling people about Dvorak (or, for better results, wait for them to ask to use your keyboard and then watch their consternation as jibberish appears on the screen) usually earns me this reaction:


Abner! Come quick! I think they’re having a baby!

You are probably in your 40’s or older if you get the above TV reference.


All three of our boys were born at home. Yes, on purpose. No, Heather didn’t have any drugs. No, it’s perfectly legal (though not without legal peril if you are a POC).

Heather, by dint of the obviousness of the impending child-dropping, got a ton more responses on this than I did. I did, however, get the honor of having my mother cry on the phone and expressing her concern for Heather’s and the baby’s life.

Oddly enough, if one were to take the man-on-the-street reactions to homebirth, you would think that the U.S. would have a 60% infant mortality rate were it not for modern, hospital-based obstetrics. I kid you not (#realtalk): well over half the people I’ve spoken to about home birth — even those who were supportive — had a personal story about a baby that would have died were it not for an emergency C-section.

Home birthing usually earns me a half-grossed-out, half-salute of the Ross kind:

It’s 11:30, kids! Time to wake up for school!

Home schooling gets me, far and away, the most opinionated responses. My personal favorite came from a cousin (actually, a cousin’s wife) who simply stated, “Home schooling is wrong.” Most of the reactions are a little more subtle that than, although I firmly believe the word “socialization” was coined for the sole purpose of driving home school parents up the wall. It represents a pervasive, assumed belief that children will be unable to form human relationships without the benefit of sitting in a desk for 6 hours a day.

Add on the fact that I’m a stay-at-home dad who does all the homeschooling, and things get a little weirder. Especially from other men, who have a classic NPH reaction:

And then we have…

We’ll leave these quirks aside for another time:

  • Being an anarcho-capitalist-liberal (yes, it’s a thing)
  • Hating pumpkins
  • Not mixing sweet foods with real food


* read: typing habits

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