Is It Weird?

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When I was in high school, all four years, we had a vocab book in English class. Every week, there was a new list of words and definitions and useage to learn. I remember practically nothing from those vocab lessons, mainly because it was common practice to just copy off of whatever “good” student actually took the time to do the work. God, in retrospect, how I wished I’d have paid attention. Who knew I’d some day end up writing books?


While I don’t remember much of those vocab lessons, I’m sure some of it must have stuck in my grey matter. Whether it was that, or just being an avid reader or audiophile-whatever, I feel my vocabulary is pretty good today. That being said, when I was a youngster, that wasn’t always the case. Probably the same for you, too.


Sitting in an airport recently, a couple of kids approached and wanted to pet Garrett. I think that most people know not to pet a service dog, or at least to ask first, so I was glad these kids made the inquiry. Both were adolescents, probably 11 or 12. I figured they were old enough to “get it” when I explained that, no Garrett is working right now. When he’s wearing his harness, he’s at work and his job is to only pay attention to me. If others pet him while he’s working, it distracts him from doing his job. Can you tell I’m well versed in this conversation?


Both kids were respectful and had a couple other questions. I’m always happy to help educate, so I answered their questions as best I could. The younger one needed to have it explained again and she asked, “So, when he’s got his harness on, he can’t play or anything?” Moi: “Right. When he’s wearing his harness, he knows he has to look out for me.” To which the kid responded, “That’s weird.”


Now, I know these kids probably haven’t had to copy high school vocab lessons yet. I know it’s a unique concept to understand “work” is a word mainly used to educate the public. Garrett thinks that leading me around is fun! After all, what do dogs want more than anything (other than food?): to please their master to walk and to be properly rewarded. So, is that weird? Nah, not at all.


These are kids, so the word “weird” suffices for “interesting” or “unique” or (insert your own preferred word here.)


Then, I wonder how many adults just classify something as weird? Lots, right? Instead of saying, “I don’t understand”, something is classified as “weird.” Saying “weird” is a judgement. My analytical self says I’m going to try to remove that word from my vocabulary. Think it might benefit you to do the same?


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