FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Misfit Toys


by Dave Markwell

Last night while sitting at my local bar surrounded by a mismatched collection of friends, it struck me exactly how diverse my catalogue of acquaintances is. I suspect that I am not alone in this. Age, economics, personal philosophies, bodies, hairlines and personalities are just a few of the distinct characteristics defining each person as different. I love these differences.

A teacher, an engine fabricator/mechanic, a commercial diver, a booze distributer, a project manager, a health care professional, a house painter and a naturopath all sat around me telling stories, smiling and laughing. Unique perspectives were shared and for all our differences, we were much the same in our shared love of the moment.

I love the misfits. The simple fact that we are all misfits makes it very easy for me to love many people. We all have a story; a uniquely interesting tale to tell. People are fascinating. Compelling stories of near-misses, direct hits and lives lived keep me intrigued by human beings. The scratches in our paint jobs, dents in our doors and dings on our bumpers are what make us wonderfully special. We are a flawed humanity and beautiful in our imperfection.

This is a fact often lost in a culture where the emulation of homogenous sameness is lauded. I cannot support this. I don’t like plastic, cookie-cutter, unoriginal ideas or people. I like the oddball, goofy, independent thinking that comes from the weirdoes. I think the un-pretty, weird ideas progress us further than the ones neatly packaged in a box.

Often, “celebrating our differences” feels more like a public service announcement, than a legitimate goal. Watered down versions of copycat ideas litter the information highways we travel. It is refreshing and necessary when an alternative thought pokes us awake to the possibilities. These are the golden tickets that make a life worth living.

These golden tickets are printed by the misfits. And we’re all misfits. This earth we share is the real “island of misfit toys” of “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” fame. Acknowledging this and, indeed, being proud of our collective misfit-ness is a concept worthy of considering. And if “Charlie-in-the box” was bellied up at my local watering hole I would by him a beer.

“Were it not for the presence of the unwashed and the half-educated, the formless, queer and incomplete, the unreasonable and absurd, the infinite shapes of the delightful human tadpole, the horizon would not wear so wide a grin.” –Frank Moore Colby

Contemplating my own eclectic collection of friends and family, I can rest assured that originality is not lost. It lives in every one of us. And as I reverently celebrate this, I find a grin on my face as wide as the horizon’s…

[EDITOR'S NOTE:"Feel Good Friday" is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who just published his first book called "A Feel Good Life" (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: "Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!" Also, you can "friend" Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]


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