Normal Is Overrated…

Here In La La land and at hospice we have these little gizmos that you stand in front of before entering a space. They do some sort of a temperature scan and pronounce you “normal”. I have got to get one of these for home and keep pressing it to prove to my wife I really am on the right side of sanity. On second thought it probably wouldn’t work. 

I got to cogitating about this whole normal thing. Who invented it? Is It some computer that clicks on when you go one way or the other over the line? Perhaps it is a stuffy group of people that meet once a month to decide what is good and what is bad….in their eyes? Can’t say for sure.  

Normal is defined as conformity to a rule or standard. It is usual, average and by some measure, healthy. Whether it is body parts or mental acuity they line everybody up and develop some median of the way people, economies and things of all sort should behave. 

I guess this is why they developed statistics on everything from batting averages to stock averages to body mass indexes. This is okay for reference but in reality it is a contrived concept. They are merely numbers but when transported to you and me they often take on a deleterious effect.  

We seem to love to have guard rails. Acceptable behavior.  How else would we keep score? How else can we figure out who is in and who is out in our particular part of the universe. It becomes the basis of our expectations and if people or things do not measure up, then they are stigmatized and possibly ostracized. 

It becomes an obsession for parents as they not only want their little Jane or John to conform but to excel. Who the hell wants to accept average? They spend hours and vast amounts of money to make sure their progeny at least keep up with the rest of the world and hopefully surpass it. You are told our child had wonderful talent and possibilities.  We form Great Expectations and are shattered when realty hits home.

 It drives our love of things. We want to fit in. We want to be acceptable. We adapt and change our bodies and minds to please society. We develop a social identity, not necessarily our own. If we are not within the lines we are deemed different, disabled, or sick. But is that the real us?

Enter the individual. How horrible! Leonardo DaVinci is one of the great examples of this deviant behavior. He would question everything and at least try to compose an alternative explanation. Not to be a pain in the ass but to say that is the way he wanted to live his life. He looked at things differently. He did not set out to be a genius. He just figured out how to let his mind go. The rest is history.

He wouldn’t make it in today’s educational system. He might take a week or a month on some concept with his students. He would argue the teacher does not have all the correct answers. He wanted to know what you thought in your gut and not what was dictated by the pablum of rote. 

We feel uncomfortable in these situations. We are SUPPOSED to act this way or dress this way. You are too old to be doing that. Your ideas are crazy. What are people going to think of you? On the other hand is it in any way acceptable or healthy to live your life behind a facade of so called propriety?

If I were perfect I would be white, upperclass, suburban, straight, physically chiseled, mentally complete and with 2.5 kids. Do you know anyone like that? I don’t, but we think we do or at least want to be just like that person. From that derives prejudice and stigma. The unwashed masses. Stay away lest we be tainted. Who died and left you the gatekeeper?

Perfection is nirvana. If I don’t have it I must be able to buy it, take a pill for it or find some surgeon who can create it. It literally drives people nuts trying to achieve it. 

The most common symptom of depression is a lack of self esteem. I am unworthy. I can’t be good enough to be loved. If we wonder why people take drugs or binge on booze look no further than a world that wants to tie individual personas in knots. Am I being hyberbolic? I think not. What say you?

Up until about twenty five years ago I strove to be in the right place at the right time. I wanted to be in the club and to say and do the right things. Dare I say, be normal? After a great deal of introspection I discovered that it was more fun to just be me. If I fit in the mold then that was fine. If not I could find my own way and not sweat it.

I did not want to tear down society but to have it serve my purposes rather than the reverse. I am outspoken, not to put someone down but to say I don’t think this or that is quite right. I know it causes some to feel uneasy but if I really believe in something shouldn’t I stand up or should I just acquiesce in the name of amity? 

The real bottom line is whether or not you speak your heart ? Are you truly genuine or do you worry about how that will look? Being open is a tad scary but also a lot of fun. You don’t have to think your way through every move or word. Normal is a vague notion not a strict construct. I happen to think it is overrated. How about you?

As Always

Ted The Great



Who has 2.5 children? In all my years I have never experienced a half child.

Behavior: the way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially toward others.  There are thousands of books on the topic from social to economic to consumer behavior. Don’t be so smug when you think you have it figured out. I sure don’t.

Etiquette: the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group. Emily Post made a fortune by her “Rules of Etiquette”. Manners, especially good ones are wonderful, but when you get carried away by proper this and that it seems a bit stifling. 

We have had New Normals about 1000 times in my seventy five years on this earth. Just when you think you have normal down it changes again. It is stupid thing called life. BTW: I have also been through at least a half a dozen elections that were the most important in the history of these United States. Pax.

Balance of Power

These past few weeks we have witnessed our three branches of government in action for better or worse. The Executive, Legislative and Judicial were dreamed up almost 250 years ago by some pretty clever dudes. I imagine they are having an interesting conversation in heaven or wherever they are.

In a perfect world each branch does their thing and then keeps an eye out to make sure the other doesn’t overstep their bounds. Somewhere along the line that has gotten a tad askew. 

The people elect the Congress and President. The President nominates to the Supreme Court and the Congress advises and consents. The Supreme Court makes sure that the laws that are proposed and enacted are according to our Constitution. This is the separation of power. My poli sci major at Georgetown at least gave me the basics. 

After watching the last few months the separation part is wanting and I prefer to use the balance of paper as in warring nations. I fear egos on all sides of the fence are trying to assert themselves. Is it their proper lot in life or is hubris superseding civility? SCOTUS is getting dangerously close to legislating. POTUS thinks everything is fair game. Congress is enjoying the theater of it all. 

Case in point is Judge Barrett. I think no one doubts her excellence in all matters judicial as well as her coolness under fire. As a judge we would hope she would be Solomon like in cases before her and that would lead to a simple analysis of the law. 

But I would lead you to a wonderful article I found by Brandon Murill that outlines the various possibilities of interpretation of what our forefathers wrote. There are many and they range from textualism to moral reasoning to original intent. If you read it and the justices are true to their school they will use whatever manner without bias or prejudice or personal feelings. I am not completely confident I would know how to do that? Maybe you too. 

I am not sure if the intent of the Senate Judiciary Committee was to try to understand the judge or to grandstand on both sides of the aisle. I found it incredible that each member on the first day read prepared remarks that seemed like stump speeches to pander to their bases. Even the second day of questioning was more accusatory than fact finding. Did we accomplish anything other than to brag to the home town folks that we showed them. 

The fiasco of a second stimulus package laid bare the obstinance of both sides. Constant negotiating for the last several months have brought us nowhere nearer to a conclusion. Congress holds the pursestrings and the executive branch tries formulate a policy. It s like a president of a company coming before a board. But they are at loggerheads. Balance or chaos? Does the company eventually go down the tubes?

I did a little more delving into the boys and girls on the hill. Surprisingly they average around 60 years of age and their average tenure is ten years or so. Senator Josh Hawley is youngest at 40 and Diane Feinstein is oldest senator at 87. AOC is 31 and Don Young is 87 on the House side. 

As I went through biographies and career paths it was fascinating  to see how many were career politicians. Some would say they know the ropes. Others like me, would question if they have ever had any experience in the real world? 

Beyond that one has to wonder what sort of original thoughts one might have after being in the same place for forty years? Schumer, Pelosi, McConnell, Grassley and Hoyer are the ones in position of leadership. All lifers. 

You know me. I love to think outside the box. Spontaneous? My middle name. Not always a plus but you know where I stand. Imagine being in a so called deliberative chamber where your are pretty much forced to follow the party line? You can originate a bill that might be truly groundbreaking but it is tied up in committee by the party hack chairman or chairwoman. You hear of bills being locked up in committee or scheduled for a vote so far down that it will never see the light of day in this term. What happens? In the next session the process has to start all over again. YIKES!

I guess the SCOTUS nomination has caused me to think far beyond the choice of a Supreme Court Justice. Is this whole system of organized chaos the way it was supposed to be or has the cancer mutated so grossly that we will never find our way back to a healthy and vibrant organism?

To put it another way do we have Ben Franklins, Thomas Jeffersons, James Madisons or George Washingtons in our midst? Or was that  time of incredible foresight and collaboration a freak of nature and history? 

To think their plan would endure for two and a half centuries is mind boggling. Yes there is a process called amendment to change things and we have done so several times. The Bill of Rights clarified and repaired the original document a short while after it the original constitution was ratified. They nailed it. 

 But overall in an amazingly simplistic form this thing has worked. We have teetered and tottered but that thing called balance has brought us back. I hope we understand what a wonderful but fragile thing balance is….in all things. 

As always 

Ted The Great


The Constitution states that Justices “shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour.” This means that the Justices hold office as long as they choose and can only be removed from office by impeachment.The Supreme Court acts as a check against the power of Congress and the president. The lifetime appointment is designed to ensure that the justices are insulated from political pressure and that the court can serve as a truly independent branch of government


5% do not have bachelors degrees compared with 65% of Americans 25 and older.

Only 20% have not held previous political office

Fewer than 5% list blue collar experience in their biographies.

35% are lawyers

!8.8% have served in the military

Common fields for Republicans

include medicine, real estate and

farming. For Democrats, they include

teaching, nonprofits and unions.

Chuck Schumer went to Harvard undergrad and law but never practiced. He went right into politics. His father was an exterminator in Brooklyn. I couldn’t resist.