All my dreams involve combing my hair.
-Armand Tamzarian, The Simpsons
I have something of a confession to make, though I doubt it will startle those of you who know me best. I've always known it, in the back of my mind, and for a long time I was ashamed of it. But now, I think it's best just to come right out and say it.
I am really not that cool.
Now, when I say that, understand that I'm not being down on myself! I have plenty of good qualities, and I like myself just fine. I'm a good friend. I'm kind to animals, and I treat kids like individual people. I have a unique (and sometimes obtuse) way of looking at the world. I get along with people from many cultures. I've sat up with people at 3AM and talked them out of suicide, and sometimes I make people laugh so hard they snort chicken up their nose. I can write fairly well, I buy awesome Christmas presents, and as far as I know, I usually don't have bad breath.
So I'm not saying I don't like myself. I'm just saying I'm not that exciting.
See, ever since I've really gotten involved with the unschooling community, I've started feeling a little... bland. It feels like everyone else around me has some amazing talent, or has started their own business, or dresses really cool, or travels around the world, or has unique beliefs they're really passionate about, or can turn water into wine, or whatever. I have a friend who has wrestled a Japanese deer. Even my dad, who was once an actual, honest-to-God carny, seems more interesting than me.
Me? I'm a geek. Most of my deep thoughts are sparked by Star Trek. Where others might quote Emerson or Thoreau, I quote Dave Barry. Where others post insightful remarks about their deepest beliefs, I post fart jokes and complain about not being able to catch Mewtwo. Where others buy fresh, organic, local produce, I buy Twinkies and Dr. Pepper. My only "party tricks" involve having an encyclopedic knowledge of The Simpsons and being able to sing that song from Animaniacs where they name all the presidents real fast. To quote Dave Barry (see? I told you) - "My only area of proven competence is listening to the radio." And I do that quite a bit - you're much more likely to find Prince or Elton John in my library than anything new and edgy. Edgy music makes me want to wear slippers and tell kids to get offa my lawn.
But I don't get down on myself too much for not being that interesting - because I kinda like it that way. I don't see all those things as needing to be changed. I like my Simpsons reruns, and my Dr. Pepper, and my Elton John. I used to feel like because I was an unschooler I was obligated to develop some really unusual talent to prove unschooling creates awesome people, or something. (This pressure came only from the voices in my head, not from any of you, so don't worry. Except about my sanity.) But I'm starting to realize that putting that pressure on myself is getting in the way of my real passions. They're usually sort of nerdy and pointless, but at least they're mine.
Those of you who are awesome tightrope-walking fire-breathing globetrotters who play the didgeridoo are awesome and should keep it up. But if you just kinda like to hang out on the couch and not do anything too Earth-shattering, and you're feeling a little inadequate, you're awesome too. Come hang out with me for awhile, and you will definitely start feeling more interesting. Or maybe you will scream that if I ask you to play Trivial Pursuit one more time, you will spit beech nut in my face. But you will not feel inadequate.
Except at Trivial Pursuit. I will pwn you at that.