Wednesday, January 6, 2016

I Need You to Think I'm Interesting

"I like change." Is a sentence I've said perhaps five hundred times within the past few months. It's often in response to comments about my facial hair.  After having a neatly shorn face for several years, I've been trying all sorts of crazy things with my facial follicles. And by "all sorts of crazy things"  I mean I grew a beard, shaved it into a mustache, and then grew a beard again. Yep, you may as well call me the Charles Manson of beard growing. I'm that crazy.

But here's the thing. After saying, "I like change" for the five hundredth time within the past few months (and probably the five kabillionth time in my life), I realized that I'm full of crap.

I'm fatter now than I was at 22.  That's a change, and it kinda sucks.  If all the oxygen on the planet was suddenly sucked away, I wouldn't be thinking, "Oooh, this is a BIG change. Today is awesome."

Instead of saying, "I like change", I should be saying, "I like change when I like it, but I don't like change when I don't like it", which is exactly the same as saying nothing.

And it's not just "change", and it's not just me. People say things like, "I'm an adrenaline junky" when what they really mean is, "I like bungee jumping as long as I'm double strapped into a harness by a trained professional and there's a giant net below me." I've never heard a self-proclaimed adrenaline junky say, "My two-year-old went missing for an hour yesterday at the mall. It was a killer rush, you gotta try it."

"I love the outdoors."  Really?  All of it?  The Gobi Desert? Antarctica? Space?  As long as it's not in a building, you love it?

"I love reading." Just reading? Anything? Ok, to be fair, this one might be true. If you're a pre-schooler. If not, it's more likely that you love reading specific things that are interesting to you.

Why are we so anxious to make these broad claims about ourselves?  It's like we're trying, in as few words as possible, to make sure we get cataloged as "interesting" in people's brains.  "Okay, Tyler. He's the change liker. Very interesting.  Sally? Hmmm. Oh yeah, she's the reader. Fabulously interesting."

The problem, in my case, is there's nothing at all interesting about "liking change".  Even if I step off my pedestal and admit that most people aren't going to take the statement "I like change" to a stupidly literal degree, it still doesn't say anything meaningful about who I am. I imagine half the people in the world would say they like change.  I may as well say I'm male. "Oh yeah, Tyler. He's the one who's male.  Soooo Interesting."

If I'm looking for distinction, making a ridiculously generic statement about myself may not be the best way to find it. So rather than trying to force feed people a version of myself that I think they'll think is Interesting, I'm just going to relax and let people think of me what they will.

I love adrenaline rushes... for about three seconds on roller coasters.  Then I get a headache and want go home and eat a taco.

I love the outdoors... as long as I'm escapably close to the "indoors". And there aren't any bugs. And it's not too hot or too cold.  And I have my iPhone.

I love to read... stuff that I write.  And I love to pretend I'm humbly accepting a Pulitzer prize for it.

Oh, and you want to know what's up with my various beard configurations? Well, the naked truth is that I'm desperately trying to make myself better looking, but nothing is working.

There, now you know some real things about me. "Okay, Tyler. He's the shallow, self-absorbed guy. meh."

But for the record, I really DO like change... though I prefer bills.

(Also, I love"dad" jokes.  Every. Single. One.)