To Be Like Everyone Else or Not To Be

Nonconformist peep: one individual chick.
Nonconformist peep: one individual chick.

If So - And - So jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?

You know that statement well, don't you? So do I. Growing up, it was a common phrase used in my household. If your sister jumped off a bridge, would you jump off the bridge as well? If your friend jumped off the bridge, would you follow? This was especially true if the excuse for doing something (particularly if it was wrong) was because So - And - So did it or if the reason for wanting to do something was because everyone else was doing it.

It was a lesson that didn't sink in well throughout my younger years, but we do live in a society that encourages individualism rather than cowering to conformists. And I do have a bit of a stubborn streak once I set my mind on something. Plus, it doesn't hurt that my first lesson in why one should not do something just because everyone else does came around the age of 3 or 4.

I wish I could say the spoon represents being different than all the forks. . .

but all it really represents to me is. . .well, okay it does represent being different. However, this particular spoon is the reason the lesson was learned in the first place.

Let me explain.

Imagine being a preschooler, playing in your innocent little world of house and blocks and such when it's cleanup time. You're now summoned to lunch, and in this particular preschool, students do not convene in a common cafeteria, but rather eat within their own classrooms.

Okay, that's a nice enough scenario, right? Stay with me. Lunch is over now. Now, all the other kiddos are throwing their paper bowls and leftover stew away then happily skipping over to circle time on the rug. Oh, but what's this? They can't just simply toss them in the big trash can in the middle of the room. Oh, no, that's no fun. Why not snap the plastic spoons in half first?

Why not indeed. . .

Here's why not. I had no real desire to break a spoon in half; I remember that. But, you know. . . monkey see, monkey do. And this silly monkey-child did succeed in breaking my spoon in half. Yay me! Oh, wait. . .surprise! It's not quite as easy as everyone else made it appear, and the extra force it took to make it break apparently applied just enough pressure in the wrong place, meaning a sliver of plastic broke off and flew up at my face. Still, yay me! I did exactly what everyone else did - only, not.

"Honey, there's a spoon in your nose," said the teacher.

Nope. Of course there's not a spoon stuck in my nose. How could there be? I would feel that. At least that's what my little mind rationalized. No, definitely no spoon in my nose, and I emphatically informed the teacher that this was so.

No, ma'am, no you may not look at my nose to see how deep it is. No, ma'am, there's nothing to remove. Of this I am certain. And I will stubbornly just keep fielding off your attempts to convince me otherwise; that's how certain I am!

The walk of shame. . .

came when the teacher gave up trying to convince me I had a problem. Instead, she left the rest of the little conformists with the assistant teacher and marched me across the hall to the classroom where my grandmother was head teacher. Only then did I believe there was a piece of spoon lodged in the side of my nose. I'm not really sure if she knew whether to scold me for being so doggone defiant or to laugh at me.



Moral of the story.

So, am I a stronger woman because I jumped off the bridge with the other kids? Nah, probably not. As I said, the lesson didn't really stick, though I'll admit, I never was much of one do what the rest of the crowd did, so maybe it did.

And, if I look closely, there is still a small scar to remind me it's better to be a one of a kind chick.

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Comments 62 comments

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Oh my goodness, dearest Shan, I had to hit all of the buttons above on this gem here! I remember my mother repeatedly asking my three siblings and I that very same thing over and over . . . LOL Yes, been there done that too . . . and you got that right without a shadow of a doubt . . . it is way better to be a one of a kind chick!!! :)

Thanks for sharing your story. Ouch, it had to have hurt?

Voted up +++++ and sharing

Hugs and love, Faith Reaper


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Faith Reaper, so happy to see you tonight! Or is it this morning? LOL. I'm glad you enjoyed my little tale. :D


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Is it okay that I found this story particularly hilarious? Oh my goodness, you can tell a funny story... and yes, I appreciate the moral. I think parent's ask 'if you'd jump off a bridge too' for lack of better words. Think about it, it's a copout! 'Crap, my kid wants to do something dangerous/stupid and I can't really think of anything to say... I know, the bridge thing'll work!" lol... I remember when I was young I'd have my hands behind my back, fumbling with my feet, head down and answer 'no', walking away disappointed... well, they did bring up the point about the bridge! Then when I got older, I learned to outsmart them... or so I thought, my new answer was 'Yes, yes I would', there response was... 'well, you're still not doing it'... they won! lol

This is awesome!

All the buttons and sharing!

Cat


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Of course it's okay that you find it funny, sis. LOL. That's the point. . .well, that and the moral. haha Ah, yes. . .the answer of no while thinking. . .well, maybe...how dangerous is the jump exactly? Is there water below? Are there rocks? Hehe...just kidding...of course we respond with "no", all the while thinking our parents are asking a stupid question. And, yes, if the answer is "yes, of course I would," the response is "you're still not doing it! BECAUSE I SAID SO!" hehe


writinglover profile image

writinglover 3 years ago from Lost...In Poetry

I voted this up across the board! The moral is awesome and, I hate to say it, funny (unfortunately at your expense) because of the spoon. This is something I probably would do considering I'm not very coordinated so I feel ya!


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Eh, writinglover, I'd rather laugh at my own expense than someone else's. Well, most of the time, that is. ;). My friends might get laughed at just because I know they know I'm laughing with them as much as at them.


writinglover profile image

writinglover 3 years ago from Lost...In Poetry

True! I've started to learn that it was okay to laugh at one's self once I got out of the shadow of various people in my life. Then I felt free and I guess when I posted my first "You Know My Life is Pathetic When..." hub was when I truly felt good about myself.

By the way, I like nonconforming peeps. They're tastier. LOL!


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Haha. You can thank Cat for that picture. I mentioned looking for pictures that might fit and she happily went on a search for me, I guess, because I walked away from the computer only to return to find those lovely peeps and silverware waiting in my inbox. :)

And, it does feel good to find humor in life and situations.


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Hey... you guys have been carrying on without me! lol... (Shan... you didn't have to tell about the peeps... lol)

writinglover, you're uncoordinated? lol... is that why you always look so sad? :D


writinglover profile image

writinglover 3 years ago from Lost...In Poetry

Yeah. I hit myself in the face with a snow shovel one time when I was still living in Nebraska (so Shan, I'm still with you with the spoon incident). I was trying to get a good hold onto the shovel until I let it go. I snatched it back up and whacked myself good in the face. Good night!


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Uh, I didn't realize it was a secret, Cat. Shhhhhh!!!!! Shhhh! Don't tell anyone else, writinglover!


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Uh, goodnight as in you're going to bed or goodnight as in lights out you were knocked out?


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Ha ha... well, I could probably think of some uncoordinated things I've done... for one thing, I fall Upstairs, more than I do downstairs! lol ... I ran to the bathroom to quickly throw away a tissue and smashed my nose into the door on the way out?

Yeah... when my son went to Kindergarten tryouts, like 6 years ago... they tested him and notified me he was "uncoordinated" because he couldn't skip... lol!


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this. Funny but a great message. thanks


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Me too, Cat, but we've laughed enough at me tonight. lol. Maybe some other time.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed it, Mhatter.


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

That was certainly not the typical story discouraging people from doing what "everyone else does", but it was a cute (and painful) story. I used to be stubborn when I was a kid, too. My poor parents...

I like how you told the story. You drew me in!

Have a great weekend.

~ Kathryn


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Great personal story illustrating the possible dangers of following the crowd without thinking. At first I was afraid we were going to hear about how you and fiends jumped off the roof tying to fly and you spent a summer with your leg in a cast. Most of us have at least one story like that in our past. Yours occurred when you were so young. :)

I really liked both music videos. Great songs, great messages. Theresa


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks, Kathryn. :) I'm pleased you liked how I told a random childhood memory.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks, Theresa! No worries about me jumping off a roof, though I've seen my dad do it and he said he used to jump from the hay loft. I'm not afraid of heights, but too afraid of falling down to sometimes not even want to come down!

Not sure too many actually listen to the songs. LOL. But, these two seemed to fit in a round about way. Glad you enjoyed them!


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

I believe it is very important for us to know who we are, when we act like sheep for too long we become one, knowing who you are, saves a lot of self searching when you get to mid-life, the world needs more characters. I loved your story, yes, it was funny, but you got the point across beautifully. :)


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you so much for the visit and for the nice comment, tobusiness! I believe the world needs more characters, too.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 3 years ago

I knew you were a type of your own and one of a kind and a non-conformist from the very first time you left me a comment and then I started to see a shrink for the first time in my life. lol

You know you can tell a lot about a person in the way they leave comments and what they say in them.

Well Epi is one of a kind too and I'm here to toot my own legendary horn here on your sacred page - what nerve eh, lol lol , well you know what they say Shan Marie - it takes one to know one , well as long as you're aware that I am a hub legend, lol . You still have to work on it....... lol lol lol lol lol

Just kidding with ya - don't worry you're already there.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Well, thanks my friend, I think.. . .Actually, counseling would not be a profession I would be against, but I suppose you already know that. hahahaha

Yes, Epi, you are one of a kind and we would not have it any other way! Toot your own horn if you so please!

As for the moral question, nah, not really so tough. I wouldn't want it. How do I know this? I've lived in poverty and never wished to be rich. What I want is my bills paid on time so that basic necessities are met and it would be nice to have enough wealth to make a difference to others that are in similar situations as ones I have been in. It's times like those when one realizes how judgmental and selfish others can be, but also how caring and loving others can be.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Oh! You edited after I'd replied! You sneaky son of a gun. Now people are gonna wonder what moral question I am talking about. Hahaha


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Shan... what on Earth are you talking about! :D lol... I had to! Oh that sneaky little Epi! :D


epigramman profile image

epigramman 3 years ago

okay ladies okay .......


epigramman profile image

epigramman 3 years ago

....me is back with the moral question and struggle within one's heart and mind - would you accept a suitcase filled with one million dollars cash if you knew that someone else in another country had to fall off his/her bike and have a fatal heart attack?

p.s. - me is still up playing Sun Ra and waiting for the sun to rise - so too, are my cats.


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Ooh, ooh, can I play? lol Only if I could watch the person fall off his/her bike... as I would find that very amusing! :D

The fatal heart attack? Oh... I don't know about all that!

Honestly... I wouldn't even consider it, unless of course I could chose who was on the bike! lol... kidding again.

Money makes the world go 'round... but I'm out of this world, so? That much money isn't worth it... no money is. It's too bad we even need money to survive and it is certainly the root of much evil. The best things in life are free!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 3 years ago

...well the best things in life is your friendship Cat and Shan Marie and your respect as esteemed colleagues at the Hub and now in a shameless promotion of my new one - Miracle in Deadbirch County , ole!!!!!


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Aw... thanks Colin and I can easily say the same!

No shame... I've already been to Deadbirch County and it's beautiful!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

A wonderful hub shanmarie. Enjoy your weekend and this one voted up.

Eddy.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Oh, see what happens when I go to bed, Cat and Epi? The part begins without me. hahaha

By the way, we're missing an answer from one notable hub legend, are we not?


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you so much, Eddy!


marion langley profile image

marion langley 3 years ago from The Study

ouch! lesson learned. :-) I agree it's often a battle between belonging and standing apart...but I find both essential to a life well lived. Thanks for the giggle. :-)


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

You're most welcome for the giggle, Marion. Thanks so much for coming by! I must say that I agree that it is almost essential to strike a balance between both being one's self and fitting in. But, one should also not be afraid to be different. Had I gone with my original desire not to break the spoon, my day would've gone quite differently that day. haha


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

I know I'm a little late to the party... which hub legend are you referring to?


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Epi, of course. He asked the question, but did not answer. LOL


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Duh! Ahhh... forgot to take the Flintstone Chewables again today! :D


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Yabba Dabba Do!


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

lol! Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiillllllllmmmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!


MrsBrownsParlour profile image

MrsBrownsParlour 3 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

Too much! Thanks for sharing the lesson you learned the hard way. :-D


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

:-D Thank you, Lurana, for reading.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Lessons are always learned the hard way. I say always be yourself and march to your own drummer.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you so much, Gypsy Rose!


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 3 years ago

Who could resist breaking the spoon.I was one of the lucky ones.Thanx for sharing.


writinglover profile image

writinglover 3 years ago from Lost...In Poetry

@Shan. I just looked back at the last post that I made and realized that I didn't answer your question. When I said good night, I meant I was going to bed. I was fortunate enough to not get KO'd now that you mention it. I was luckier not to have a bloody nose, too. LOL!


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Well, Dream On, so glad you were lucky enough to break a spoon without a piece in your nose. It sure looked easy enough to do! But then again, I guess conforming is easy enough much of the time. ;)


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

LOL writinglover, glad you didn't get one!


writinglover profile image

writinglover 3 years ago from Lost...In Poetry

I know. :D LOL


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I needed this today and found it. Thank you. I am refreshed in my total belief in the miracle of diversity.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Diversity is good, Eric!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

A truly well-earned lesson in being one's own person and following one's own guide lights! Poor little nose! -- Poor little spoon!!


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Really? You're gonna sympathize with the spoon!? :p Which incidentally might've actually been a spork. haha. Funny that something like that should be among my very first memories!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Of course. It's the one who was permanently broken and damaged! Think it will ever get another chance? Nope!

All your nose got permanently was a scar and you were permanently enlightened. Poor spoon - or spork. It didn't even know exactly what it was!


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

:D I just wanna smile here because you make me smile, but alas...HP tells me my smiley face is a "rather short" comment. . . So, touché, touché....spoon/spork wins some sympathy.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

This is cute with a great message. It's funny the things we remember with the morals that stick with us. Keep marching to your own beat, spoon and all!


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

It is funny - and it seems these lessons are not necessarily "taught" but just sort of learned. They then seem to be reinforced later in life with literal lessons.


Ausseye 3 years ago

Hi Shanmarie,

Love the concept scarred for life because you are a strong woman

This monkey sees the awesome message , and you used my favourite “ to be or not too…”

You have used cutlery in a very domestic way, a war against environmental damage caused by plastic

Emotions!

Has me think about following….. Down a particular road and finding resistance

Captured by Harry Chapin song….On the road to Kingdom come …monkey see, monkey do

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0w_Rj_8jV4


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Interesting comments, Ausseye! Thanks for sharing the music video and for stopping by. Unfortunately, there is often resistance when following someone else down a road.....hell, it's there when we don't follow someone else. Just seems more meaningful when it is doing something important that is maybe not "the in thing" to be doing.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

Love this hub shanmarie. Gets the message across clearly. The songs/videos are great too and perfect for this subject. Well done.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you, Jodah. Two hubs in one night? I'm honored. Thanks so much for visiting and for taking the time to leave a comment.

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