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Some time ago…

Or was it once upon a time ago…

Uh, what about once upon a time or two?

Anyhow, way back when—which may only have been yesterday—I had the sudden impression that ‘most everybody I encounter is shaped funny in one way or another.

People are shaped funny. Why was I just then realizing that?

If the world is peopled with oddly-shaped people, why do I view them as being, well, oddly-shaped? Wouldn’t this mean that oddly-shaped is normal and that therefore the term “oddly-shaped” has no meaning at all?

So, the world is peopled with normal-shaped people.

This must also mean that people who have “perfect” countenances—leading actors and athletes and models, for instance—are the odd ones. They are the shapeshifters who don’t fit the mold of “odd.”

Hmm, if most of us are in the randomly odd category, why do we still compare each other to a handful of perfectly shipshape people? “Well, I don’t see what you see in her looks…her forehead is too high.” “I don’t think he’s so good-looking–his arms are short.” “How can he play that part when he’s only 5′ 8″ and his character is 6’7″?” “She’s not so hot—look at that birthmark.”

And so on.

Seems like we spend much of our time trying to make idiosyncrasy look bad, despite the fact that most of us ain’t so  hot ourselves. Maybe we’re trying to level everybody out, uglifying the beautiful and beautifying the misshapen.

This doesn’t get us anywhere at all. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Once this idea took hold in my daily life, I began the exercise of making the bodies of others disappear for a time, so that I can explore and observe who they really are. What joy may lie beneath.

That includes me. I don’t look in the mirror to see myself anymore. The horror. I focus on whether I feel like a kind and helpful person. If I feel like this today, then my shape means nothing. Today, I can feel Gregory Pecky. Tomorrow I can be Pee Wee Hermanesque. Next day I become Roy Rogersy, then Gandhiful, then Denzel Washingtonian.

Or I can just be me, eschewing the transmogrified self-imaging and focusing on the decency lying dormant and waiting to be accessed.

I can look for Teddy’s joy.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Avast, ye thief.

Bring forth the joy


(c) Jim Reed 2017 A.D.

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