What on earth was I thinking when I suggested “stereotypes” as the topic this week? This is way, way too difficult. First of all, I don’t want to get all “after-school special” on you. And if we haven’t heard the one about how it’s bad to stereotype, maybe we need to read a few ValueTales or simply get out of the house more. Take a few vacations that challenge our cultural comfort zones.
But if you try too hard to avoid stereotypes, you might end up being hyper-politically correct. Both are deadly to good character development. Except when the character is doing the stereotyping and ends up learning some interesting life lessons. Or not.
I love busting stereotypes–particularly those relating to women. For example, I like horror movies—the more obscure and bizarre, the better. (Aren’t we supposed to prefer romantic comedies?) I do not like diamonds. (Aren’t they supposed to be a girl’s best friend?) In school, I actually liked math. I would rather go for a hike than go on a shopping spree. I don’t mind dirt or bugs. In fact, I find certain bugs fascinating. Unless they are earwigs destroying my perennials. Then, soapy death from above, my little stinky enemies. You have eaten your last daisy.
Then again, now I’ve got myself reconsidering this whole shopping spree thing. If it’s a shopping spree for, say, all-weather radial tires and I happen to need tires, does that count? Or how about a shopping spree that includes groceries and household cleaning supplies? How about a shopping spree for a new laptop and maybe a solid pair of running shoes and some drywall? I would vote “Yes” on that shopping spree referendum.
And speaking of shopping sprees, does anyone remember that old game show Supermarket Sweep? I had some roommates in college who were addicted to that show. I’d come home from class every afternoon, and there they’d all be, lined up on the couch under a pink blanket, mechanically eating cereal or pizza while they watched couples race around some fake store tossing high-ticket grocery items in their cart. Those roommates weren’t particularly nice to me, so I spent nearly every night at the library and earned a 4.0 both semesters. (My grades were never as good when I enjoyed my living arrangements. At least it seems they shouldn’t have been.)
That was also the year I turned 21; so while I spent nearly every weeknight at the library, I spent more than a few weekend evenings at a bar called The Library. (I know! It’s like I enjoy being surrounded by books or something.) I also had my heart broken a few times that year by beautiful young men with low morals and high ideals.
So I guess that’s me. The somewhat neurotic, book-loving, highly caffeinated, romantically wounded, bespectacled writer who enjoys a stiff drink now and then. We have hopped our pieces all the way around the board and I have become a different stereotype. At least for today. And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go obsess over my amazon pre-sales ranking, sew some corduroy patches on the elbows of my tweed blazer, and reorganize my dictionary collection.
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