Friday, August 7, 2009

I Truly AM... an Alien

The title of this post is actually a true statement. I even have a small ID card to prove it; across the top, the words "RESIDENT ALIEN."

Perhaps it is just part of the Human Condition to feel like you "don't belong on this planet." It happens to me rather often, although I am given to pause and consider whether my puzzlement results from cultural issues (being a Dane in the US) or from planetary issues.

What gave rise to my current ponderings was a soundbyte on the TV in the next room, which could as well have said "And in OTHER news today, Michael Jackson is STILL DEAD!" Of course, that wasn't what was actually being said... but the news snippet distracted me from my work for long enough to stop and wonder...

"Who ARE these people who can find endless fascination and entertainment in ongoing 'stories' about a dead pop star? Why does anybody CARE? And why do I feel like I don't share DNA with them?"

Ultimately, this seems to be a question of what constitutes "interesting." Or, perhaps, "noteworthy." Of course, it's a question that can't be readily answered, as everyone is different. Still, there is such a thing as a general consensus, and I find myself spending more time looking in at it (as an observer) than I do being a part of it.

"Death" is fresh on my mind, at the moment, so taking a moment to consider the endless sideshow that has been (and continues to be) Michael Jackson's death is an easy segue for me. So, I sit and I think. Someone walks in the room and announces "Michael Jackson died!" and all the response I can muster is "Oh... really? That's too bad." Conversely, someone walks in the room and announces "Bob from three houses down died!" and I will stop and want to know more.

The difference, here, being that Bob is a "real person" to me-- I saw him ride his bike by, and we'd sometimes chat, when I walked by his house. Michael? Not so much. No disrespect to his music career, but I never met the guy. To me, he is not a "real person."

Evidently, caring more about real people than celebrity icons is proof that I am an alien, just visiting this planet.

In many-- if not most-- homes, it seems that the news of Bob's passing would be met with "Not NOW! Can't you see I'm watching TV? Michael Jackson died...."

Frankly, I prefer Bob...

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