Today I had a Facebook comment from a long-time acquaintance: Gilbert Sullivan. Actually, I first came to know him when we were in elementary school, through my younger brother. Gilbert Sullivan’s name immediately grabbed me … and this was years before Irish pop star Gilbert O’Sullivan hit the music scene. Gilbert Sullivan’s name meant something to me because it reminded me of Gilbert and Sullivan, the creative team that wrote comic operas in the Victorian Period. Most of my other elementary-school friends didn't make that connection. (And why on earth would they?) But I was listening to Gilbert and Sullivan operas, and playing their music on the piano … yes, even as a little kid.
As an adult, teaching school, I encountered a student named Nicole Porter. “Cool name,” I thought. It was even cooler when I discovered that she could sing! “How fitting!” I mused to a friend. “How so?” said with a blank look, was all I needed to hear to realize that my friend’s mother didn’t ever sing them snippets of Cole Porter songs.
And these are just a couple of the musical connections made by my brain. I can’t even count the number of coincidences and oddities -- musical and non-musical alike -- that my brain found interesting or amusing but were met with blank looks, and occasionally derisive laughter … until I finally learned to just keep the observations to myself.
Like any other kid, I didn’t want to be weird. Unlike most other kids, I never figured out how to accomplish that.
I’m still weird. I laugh at jokes that are funny only to me because they pull together disparate knowledge and trivia; by the time I explained every little component, the joke would no longer be funny, even to me. As a kid, this really bothered me. As an adult, it doesn’t much bother me any more.
Part of self-acceptance, I suppose.
I have friends whose "weirdness" is genius, in my estimation. There are friends who are considered by others to be weird but in reality are marginalized, because of the unwillingness of general society to accept them for exactly who and what they are, without condition or judgment. I hope they all know just how much I love and admire them for being true to themselves. It can’t always be easy. I know whereof I speak.