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Archive for Sunday, October 24, 2010

Boomer Girl Diary: “Normal” graded on a wide curve

October 24, 2010

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I am pleased to report that, according to Oprah, I’m perfectly normal.

“Perfectly” is a stretch, of course, as anyone who knows me or watched this week’s “Am I Normal?” show will attest.

I haven’t been overly concerned about personal normalcy since 10th grade (and those three years around menopause when I spent more time searching symptoms on Web MD than I did cooking meals for my family.)

I’ve always prided myself on being a bit of a nonconformist. A maverick, if you will, in a non-Sarah Palin way.

But, I’ll admit it was a relief to discover I’m as normal as they come. That is, if you’re grading on a curve set by the crazies who were the control group for the O-Queen’s research.

For example, 66 percent of people admitted to hiding a food wrapper in the garbage so others wouldn’t know what they had eaten. How disgusting! I would never DREAM of…

Uh-oh. Wait a minute. There was that time I polished off my son’s Pad Thai and buried the container under a mountain of soiled butcher paper. He came over to retrieve the leftovers for lunch, and I told him the dog must’ve eaten it.

That leads me to another one of Oprah’s suspect factoids: According to a 2009 University of San Diego study, 78 percent of parents admit to lying to their children.

Seventy-eight percent? Do the words “Easter Bunny” and “Santa Claus” mean anything to these people!? Who among us hasn’t looked a belligerent child in the eye and said, “I never talked to MY mother like that!” or “When I was your age, I walked to school in the snow, uphill both ways.” Civilization depends on parents lying to our kids.

Clearly, the credibility of the “normal” report must be called into question.

Another case in point: A poll conducted by someone named Betty Confidential showed that 68 percent of women lie about their weight on their driver’s license.

Uh, Betty? Hello?! Only 68? This reveals nothing, except that 32 percent of women LIE on polls. That said, just call me Norma Normal since the number on my license is still the big, fat fib I told at the DMV in ’71.

On the other hand, a survey by the Music in Motion organization found that 90 percent of people sing while driving. I am the oh-so-normal leader of this pack, baby! Despite my advancing age, I sing at the top of my lungs with wild abandon. Occasionally, head banging will even occur. UNTIL I get to the stoplight. Then, I compose myself and sing through pursed lips like an amateur ventriloquist so as not to be ridiculed by other drivers. Normal? O didn’t have an answer for this one.

Let’s talk about performing housework naked, shall we? Glamour magazine reports that 51 percent of women have vacuumed, even cooked in the nude.

OK. The Hoovering I can understand, if conditions were bad enough. And, I’m talking record-breaking heat wave, air-conditioner on the blink and major flea infestation in the carpet.

But, cooking?!? How many times have I splattered myself with hot grease or spaghetti sauce? And, I’m sorry, but oven mitts accessorizing your birthday suit? That’s definitely a Glamour “don’t.”

Count me solidly in the abnormal camp on that one.

The rest of the show was sort of a “duh!” Like the study by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association that revealed 94 percent of people speak to their pets as though they were human. How else are we supposed to talk to them? By barking and meowing? That might make the dog park more entertaining, but it’s nuts!

And what about the study from the University of California-Berkeley that found the average person picks or plays with their nose five times per hour?

(I’m pleading the Fifth on this one.)

There was one statistic, however, that — days later — still boggles my mind: A survey sponsored by the Travel Lodge hotel chain showed that one out of four men travels with a stuffed animal.

Oprah said it. It must be true.

Let’s do the math, shall we? You’re on a plane with a seating capacity of, say, 150 people. Sixty percent of the passengers are men. That means 22.5 of those guys are carrying Beanie Babies in their valises.

Who cares, right? After all, “normal” is a moving target, especially in this day and age.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do a quick check of my husband’s luggage.

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