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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Learning to embrace our own weirdness

Human beings are a complex and complicated creature. Our bodies are marvels of nature when it boils down to its physical function and mental capabilities. The outward appearance of somebody can reveal to others whether or not they want to get to know that person better.  “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” is a saying that is entirely relevant and especially noteworthy in this world of high-fashion and glamour.

While the outward appearance of an individual is important, our mental capacities are as vital to us as is our physical attributes. The tricky thing with our minds is that certain mental traits are not as readily visible.

As we know, all of us are products of our environment when we are in the formative years of our lives.  Case in point: As a child, I remember watching “The Wizard of Oz” and being beyond terrified of the burning scarecrows, apple-throwing trees, flying monkeys and melting witches that permeated the film. 

As terrifying as this was the one scene that had a lasting effect on me was when Dorothy clicked the heels of the ruby-red shoes she was wearing and was magically reunited with her beloved Kansas, her dog Toto and “Auntie Emm.” My subsequent journey into the multifaceted world of obsessive compulsive disorder began. My fixation evolved into needing to click my heels together three times before I would attempt to do most things. Needless to say, my friends took great glee in calling me “Ruby Red Hrubes.” To this day, I am somewhat governed by OCD due to the fact that I need to achieve perfection as much of the time as possible. In fact, I sometimes find myself doing work over again in a vain attempt to master perfection. At least I’m aware of my dilemma and am working to rein it in just a bit.

Another quirk of mine revealed itself shortly after my bride and I were married.  We experienced our first thunderstorm and as the storm progressed, hail stones began falling in a dizzying maze of blurry white matter.  Suddenly, I ran outside and began scooping up the icy chunks; grass, dirt and weeds!  Amber, screaming at the top of her lungs, demanded that I get back inside and after pulling me indoors, she remarked that I had completely lost my flippin’ mind.  Something about me being “some kind of a nut” brought me back to my senses.  

I hastily informed Amber that it was a long-standing tradition in my family to bite the first falling hailstones and, by doing this, would render the storm impotent from accomplishing any possible crop damage.  Interestingly enough, during the 50-plus years of using this tried and true method of crop insurance, our land never received any major damage from hail.  But after ceasing with the ice-biting ritual and just about every year thereafter, we experienced significant crop devastation from numerous barrages of hail.

Probably the “quirkiest” anomaly of mine has been with me pretty much my entire life.  At an early age and while watching the “Frosty the Snowman” program during the Christmas season, I discovered that the narrator’s voice (Burl Ives) reminded me of homemade chicken gravy! That’s right … homemade chicken gravy!  From there, I realized my fifth-grade speech therapist’s voice reminded me of Bing peaches in heavy syrup. From there, I went to Richard Nixon’s voice and facial features that reminded me of Quaker Instant Oatmeal and President Obama’s voice currently reminds me of a Milky Way candy bar.  Wait … it gets even better … or worse, depending on ones’ viewpoint. President Reagan’s voice is akin to Smucker’s strawberry preserves ... not jelly or jam mind you, but Smucker’s strawberry preserves, while the voices of Bill Cosby and the late Blues legend BB King and their corresponding facial features remind me of creamy double-chocolate ice cream.  A person in town, who shall remain nameless, has a voice that reminds me of Bisquick pancakes with copious amounts of butter and Mrs. Butterworth Original Maple Syrup.

I’m sure most of you are thinking, “What a frickin’ looney toon!” and you would probably be correct. I can’t help who I am or what makes me tick. A couple of these idiosyncrasies are a direct result of my upbringing and the last one, well … where did that one come from?  I have no idea.

It just goes to show you that we are all different in our mentality, beliefs, superstitions, etc.  But it’s these differences that make all of us individuals; incredibly unique and sometimes strange, but never dull, mundane or boring.  The differences in all of us make this world interesting and a thrill to be a part of.

 The time is now to embrace your weirdness, quirkiness and idiosyncrasies!  They are a part of life.  It’s a wonderful stage and we’re all in the cast!

Alan Hrubes is an employee and occasional columnist of the Ranger-Review. He can be reached at metalal@midrivers.com

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