Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Series of Unfortunate Shredding: On Differerentiation, or Why This Is Not The Fourth

Being different can be an extremely difficult pursuit, it seems. As children we are edified on the laudable nature of the trait with much media being devoted to differences being acceptable. Yet somehow there is a tendency shortly later on to rebel and be different in precisely the same fashion as some thousands of one's peers. Naturally this leads disillusioned parents to wonder where they went wrong. Did they fail to correctly follow the prescribed pattern for teaching their child to be different? Maybe they should have played that Barney tape one more time.

I'm here today to ease the troubled minds of parents, young people, companies, platypusses, and any other individual interested in the fine art of varying from the norm. For those skilled enough, I hope to point out potential pitfalls. For those of you who are just never going to be special, I'll lay out reasons why working at being different might not be all it's cracked up to be anyway. To aid me in my discourse, I will be enlisting the aid of a very special shredder and one of it's warning signs.

Appearance of being different is often all that is actually being pursued. For example, this warning sign seems rather unusual on a shredder, but if there is actually nothing special about the shredder, and the sign is merely warning you not to empty canned lasers or pocket flamethrowers onto it, much of the appeal is lost. That warning could be put on any shredder you can buy. It's merely omitted due to rarity with which the warned against action is attempted.

Don't be a poseur. People will notice if they're smart, and who wants to impress only the truly dumb? (Don't answer that, it's rhetorical!) A faux eccentric is not likely to achieve greatness, win friends, or even influence people unless they're extremely fashionable. But that makes for even more work than ever. If you don't genuinely enjoy being different on it's own merits, rethink your life. Have a nice sit on the couch and join the group I talked about earlier that will never quite be unique.

Sometimes there is a reason that nobody has done something before: it is incredibly foolish. This should be kept in mind when entering any area that is untrod in a metaphorical sense. Perhaps even in a literal sense. If this article's warning sign indicated that one should not spray the shredder with liquid because it will melt, that would be an example of an incredibly foolish, yet unique, shredder design. If you are determined to be different, at least don't be a melting shredder.

My final point should please my entire audience, if they've read and followed my advice so far. You see, being different really isn't something that should be worked at, despite the huge amount of effort society devotes to trying to be different, or at least hold the appearance of it. People are most unique when left to their own devices to find the path that makes sense to them. That's why I like to assume that warning label means one should not put their favorite spray bottle in the shredder, because it happens to be designed to shred spray bottles, just in case somebody needed to.

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