Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Going Against The Norms - Significant or Not ?

As a teenager in the mid-1960's I used to walk around West Lafayette, Indiana, USA - where I grew up - particularly on Purdue University's campus barefoot. This was being "different" in a way that really had little significance for me or others.

In the summer of 1969 or 1970 - playing the French Horn in the Lafayette Citizen's Band - I bucked "the rules" and wore a Non-White dress shirt with my tie at one of our regular Sunday afternoon concerts. Why one couldn't wear a modest yellow or blue shirt - was "tradition" I guess - in those days - White was "the norm". Soon other boys (though not the older men) were sometimes wearing non-White shirts. Did this matter? Not much then I guess!

In 1976 I convinced my partner of the time to keep her "maiden name" when we married (in early 1977). Women in Chicago didn't do that then very frequently. I think that this was helpful for both of us and am glad I saw things as I did, though I didn't formally discover Feminism until around 1981.

Somewhere around 1977 or 1978 while working at the Chicago North Social Security Office - in a world where smoking was allowed most everywhere, I put a sign at my desk saying to claimants and co-workers - "No Smoking" (at my desk). Surprisingly I got a lot of respect from both claimants and co-workers who smoked everywhere else most of the time.

In 1987 my son Ben was born carrying his mother's surname as his last name - allowing her family name to move into another generation - which it wouldn't otherwise do. My son is my son - his last name - isn't something that belongs to me because I am male.

My father spoke out against the War in Vietnam to family at least as early as August, 1962 - he died in November, 1964 - before US troops escalated their efforts in 1965 (after President Johnson faked the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" to justify a massive war effort).

I grew up without television - my father's choice to ensure that we'd read a lot not allowed to have any kind of guns - including squirt guns - because they were guns.

Thinking independently - can be helpful - particularly when working through things in good ways. Sometimes it may be frivolous - other times more significant!


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