Extremely Average #63: Abby Someone

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Blog entry by Ecocandle posted 03-06-2010 05:29 AM 984 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 62: The Glockenspiel Part 63 of Extremely Average series Part 64: Progressing Slowly »

“Whose brain did you bring me?” asked young Frankenstein.

“Abby someone…Abby Normal I believe” responded Igor.

If you are a movie buff, or Royce Alger, then it will be obvious that this is from the classic Mel Brooks film, “Young Frankenstein” It sprang to mind when I was asked if I was normal.

I had been carrying on a conversation with a woman on Linkedin. I sent her an invitation to connect, and she responded, “Going to hope you’re not oddball—seems normal. Usually add people I know well to connect – but been more open, these days. Want to be in a ‘good crowd’ – perceptions = reality”

Naturally I assumed she meant Donald Sutherland’s character in the 1970’s classic ‘Kelly’s Heroes’, Sgt. Oddball. Or perhaps she actually meant Donald Sutherland, either way; it was probably a good idea to make sure I wasn’t Mr. Sutherland.

I responded, “Define normal.”, after I determined that she was using the adjective oddball, and applying it to me. Actually, she was saying I seemed normal. This concerned me, because it was apparent, in our brief conversation, that I may have misrepresented myself.

She responded, “Not sure I can. but funny come-back. Guess I’ll just have to follow you to see.”
I liked her wait and see attitude. She was leaving the door open to bailing, but doing it in such a way that was not at all offensive to me. I thought she was being quite prudent. But I did feel a bit guilty, knowing as I did, the ultimate conclusion she would reach. So I felt obligated to respond.

It was a great question, one that I think everyone should ask of themselves.

The more I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that I am not normal at all. I am the son of a mathematician, and when I think of normal, I think of a normal distribution curve.

“I have worked very hard to avoid being part of the normal distribution in all that I do. I found a fun game yesterday, and have been playing it, trying to move further away from ‘normal’. [Editors note: The Eyeballing Game]

I love to read. Surely that isn’t normal in this day and age. I am fascinated by words and language and like to play scrabble. Most of my friends find the game boring, so they would say that isn’t normal.

I worked as a volunteer docent at the Corcoran gallery in DC, for a year, before I moved back to Iowa. Most people wouldn’t want to spend hours in a museum, most normal people that is.

I have a PC and an iphone, and like both Apple and Microsoft, surely that is odd. Many people get as worked up about Apple vs. Microsoft, as they do about politics. I don’t. That isn’t normal at all.

In my blog, I wrote an introduction in iambic pentameter, just to see if I could. Most normal people have never heard of this style, and I am sure, don’t feel that they are missing anything.
People who are passionate about politics consider their positions normal, though half the country disagrees with them.

A normal person would prefer to go to a movie, in a group, watch endless car chases and gun play. I would rather go to a foreign film, alone, and then meet up with my ‘car chase, no dialogue’ loving friends afterwards.

I bought an electric piano, with weighted keys, when I was 38, just because I have always wanted to learn the piano. I still stink, but I love to play around with it. Who does that? Certainly not a normal person.

I just can’t think of a single thing in my life that is ‘normal’. I am happy though. I really enjoy life. Which, I would assume, is also, not normal.”

She liked my response, and thought it should be part of a blog post. I just checked and we are still connected. I will send to her the link to tonight’s blog post, and she can read some of the other silliness.
Perhaps then she will be able to finally conclude, that on a scale of normal to oddball, I am tilting towards odd.

I thought about this a lot tonight, as I ran my router over the laminate top. Each pass is so close to perfect, so much better than the other side, that I am almost amazed. The sanding is going to take far less time. I will then use the same methodology on the middle section. Once that is done, I will be able to move onto cutting the middle section in half, routing the edges to take the router plate, and then glue the 3 table pieces together.

I am confident that I can get through all of those steps this weekend. It feels like I am well over half way done with my router table, though I could be wrong. It is possible I will decide to add some upgrades to it, thus moving the finishing line further and further away. It is ok though, as it all makes me better at this wonderful hobby.

Well now I am going to go back into my basement, on a Friday night, and spend hours and hours playing with chunks of wood. That seems a little odd to me, but perhaps I am not the person to ask. [Editor’s note: Normally we don’t include cow shots.]

-- Brian Meeks,

15 comments so far

View oluf's profile


260 posts in 2082 days

#1 posted 03-06-2010 06:16 AM

You are correct. A simple yes or no would not have bin adequate.

-- Nils, So. Central MI. Wood is honest.Take the effort to understand what it has to tell you before you try to change it.

View Bill729's profile


241 posts in 2124 days

#2 posted 03-06-2010 06:33 AM


In our culture, “normal” is not such a good thing. The popular culture makes “normal” look bad : ) I guess it’s much harder to market to individuals! I’m glad you have set higher standards!

BTW, I got a digital piano with weighted keys about the same time you did (wish it was acoustic)—and an open back banjo and a fiddle since! I got interested in making instruments and I made it to hear—I mean here!


View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 2109 days

#3 posted 03-06-2010 06:35 AM


I would love to make a fiddle some day.


-- Brian Meeks,

View Bill729's profile


241 posts in 2124 days

#4 posted 03-06-2010 06:51 AM

Brian wrote: I would love to make a fiddle some day.

I might like to as well, and I have already read a couple of books on it. As far as an instrument to start with, I can’t think of a worse choice! : )

I think: mountain dulcimer → banjo → fiddle (somethink like that!).

In the meantime, I’m learning a lot more about woodworking!


View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 3033 days

#5 posted 03-06-2010 07:00 AM

Perhaps the only thing Abby shares with the rest of the population is a desire to not be normal.

-- Jim

View stefang's profile


14706 posts in 2377 days

#6 posted 03-06-2010 01:00 PM

If we were all normal we would still be living in caves and the definition of woodworking would be beating on each other with tree limbs.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2136 posts in 2151 days

#7 posted 03-06-2010 02:56 PM

Great post Brian. Of course telling 17,000 woodworkers that spending a Friday night working with wood is a little odd will probably generate thoughts like “You mean there are some people that don’t spend a Friday night working with wood? Weirdos!”


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1055 posts in 2438 days

#8 posted 03-06-2010 02:57 PM

I just recieved a photo taken when I was about six.
There I was, at the end of the Great Depression, wearing oversized pants held up with little suspenders, funny plastic glasses on my nose, squinting one eye.
Holy Cats!!!!
I was a geek from the very beginning!
Normal? I don’t think anyone has ever considered me normal.
Define normal?
In the nearby small city of Erie, PA, it is normal for violence to occur on a daily basis.
Shootings in the street so often people are getting used to it.
Prostitution, drug dealings and even – gasp – people driving while texting!

No, I’m not normal and have never claimed to be. Don’t want to be. Not in the present conditions.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View patron's profile


13409 posts in 2384 days

#9 posted 03-06-2010 03:19 PM

seems to me you are definitely odd ,

you want to do something ,

normal , is talking about doing something .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View rtb's profile


1099 posts in 2756 days

#10 posted 03-06-2010 04:23 PM

Brian you are far to delightful to be normal. I think that any of us that have the ability to think will shun that accusation . Cats, who and how many ? Picture ? We currently have 24 due to a situation far to gruesome to post at this site.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View webwood's profile


622 posts in 2293 days

#11 posted 03-06-2010 06:43 PM

great blog brian – i look for it every day – btw that cow carving is great , almost looks real lol

-- -erik & christy-

View Bill729's profile


241 posts in 2124 days

#12 posted 03-06-2010 09:44 PM

Well Webwood, or Brian, since you brought it up, what kind of cow is it? Is that a picture of a dirty cream-colored cow or are those its natural colors? Normal people probably wouldn’t ask these things, but I’ve always thought cows were cool! : )


View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 2109 days

#13 posted 03-07-2010 02:23 AM


The breed is called Charlet. They are white, except when they are dirty. When Charlet’s have calves they are very white, and incredibly cute. Maybe the cutest of all the cows.


-- Brian Meeks,

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 2368 days

#14 posted 03-07-2010 03:16 PM

Being in the first or second standard deviation is preferable. Talk about an oxymoron, eh? “standard deviation”.

If anyone accuses you of being out of the ordinary, tell them to take a sedagive ;)

View Kacy's profile


101 posts in 2128 days

#15 posted 03-08-2010 05:34 AM

Man, almost missed this one, and it was one of your best (from a socio-pyschoanalytic perspective). Who says tweets don’t serve a purpose?

-- Kacy, Louisiana

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