After Woodstock – Where is Different Now?

Different Becomes Normal

When we were in the Woodstock days, we were freaks and proud of it. We used the term for everything someone could be passionate about. Acid freaks, clean freaks, camping freaks, money freaks, whatever. It was cool to be freaky, and the freakier you were, the cooler you were. We actually had a philosophy behind our bent toward “different.” We wanted to empathize with the downtrodden, and all this seemed like a good wholesome thing to do. We wanted to Walk a Mile in My Shoes. However, I don’t think anyone dreamed we would plumb the depths of weirdness that we have come to today.

I saw a cartoon once that had a flapper, a hippie, and a spiked punk standing next to a little kid who looked up at his dad and said, “Do I have to be weirder than the generation before me?” This sparked an article that I recently wrote, and I have included some excerpts.

Definition of Different

To be different is to be not the same, or distinctly separate from something else. In today’s culture, the “something else” is what people think is normal. So, each child grows up trying to be not the same as whatever normal is. The more unlike normal you are, the “cooler” you get. However, when “normal” changes, so does different, and so does “cool.”

Ways to be Different

You can be different in a good way or a bad way. You can be better than normal or worse than normal. The trouble is, most people think the only way to be different is to be stranger than what used to be. Long, weird hair, freaky makeup, and bad language are the ways to achieve “cool.” This has been going on for generations. What young people did to be different in the 1920’s became normal in the 1960’s. So, kids in the 1960’s had to be more different than their parents were. Then, what was different in the 1960’s became normal in the 2000’s. So, kids now have to be even more different than their “different” parents were before them. Do you see where this is going? How weird do we need to get?

When Normal becomes Different

Here are the facts. Normal is the average of the majority. When more and more people try to act “different,” they become the majority. Their many ways to be cool suddenly become the average… they are the ones who are normal. So now what do you do?

When sloppy clothes, spiked hair, hats on backwards, tattoos and bad language become normal, there is only one thing you can do. According to the definition of different, you have to change. You have to be unlike that. If you want to be different, you need to be normal.

Definition of Normal

Being normal means to conform to a standard. This is not a bad thing. It is standard to drive on one side of the road. What if everyone zig zagged back and forth down the highway? In order to avoid wrecks, everyone must drive “normally.”

People used to say it takes courage to stand up and be different. But these days, different is what everybody is doing, and if you don’t, they may not like you. So guess what? It takes courage to not be different, to not go along with the crowd. And if the crowd is not doing the right things, they will suffer for it, and you do not want to suffer with them. Also, people look up to those who stand for what is right and good. So, do you really want to be different? Be normal, and you will definitely stand out… you will definitely be different!