Conformity and the Loss of Identity

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Quirks make each and every one of us who we are today. Quirks are unique. When sprinkling ingredients together during the formation of you, the universe reaches for its McCormick Quirk seasoning to set you apart. It really is the spice of life. As we age, these quirks become traits and help define whom we are, no matter how much we tried to suppress those seeming oddities in high school.

Some of these traits, these unique senses of self seem to fade away over time. Not that we forget, but others confirm. And as others confirm, the traits become less and less unique. The fading of a freckle here. The disappearing of a beauty mark there. Conformity sifts out the quirks.

Anyone who walks into my apartment know will discover it littered with reflective artifacts of my fandom. It’s accepted. The passion didn’t materialize with the shifting of childhood to adulthood. It transversed time right along with me. But as a kid, openly touting Star Wars pushed you to the edge of the lunchroom table. Shunned by the world of cool kids. Their Tommy Hilfiger outfits and luxury sedan school pickups wouldn’t have anything to do with someone in Rebel insignia and a make-believe X-wing in the shape of a bicycle.

If I told them I had shelfs of unopened action figures covering my room their designer tag might have inverted itself. Hiding away from my lack of conformity.

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Star Wars made me me. Truthfully I wouldn’t trade it for any amount of Tommy jeans. Yet now fandom, fandom of all flavors has become mainstream. Openly discussing comic book characters or referencing alien types isn’t something done in the shadows. It’s accepted. It’s no longer unique.

Conformity.

A beauty mark here.

As the age of alcohol consumption legality approached (or maybe reached…I admit nothing!), Chris and I (the other Dude) tinkered in the world of other beers. Other beers didn’t exist in quantity. Brewpubs didn’t exist. A sprinkling of microbreweries scattered around the country but at most remained state-based, if not county based.

Finding new beers became a challenge. World Market offered a land of limited opportunity. The only option for someone in search of something different. A handful of Belgian imports. A smattering of German bottles. Not much and yet oh so much.

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We grabbed whatever we could. We wrote about our flourishing tastes. We brought these strange beers with us in social settings. People asked us what strange beers we had. People asked us if they could try the strange beers. People made fun for paying for the strange beers.

Beer drinking, or should I say uncovering, trying and showing up with new beers made me, me. Like someone discovering a no-name band with talent capable of setting the world on fire. Only a few knew about the band, but it made the live performances so much more unique and intimate. One of a kind.

At some point in time, I couldn’t even say when beer drinking changed. Micro beers took over store shelves. It went from driving over town and into the next city over to find something new to always having options. People stopped asking about my beer. They stopped making fun. Now they ask if I’ve had what they’re drinking before. They judge those who drink what they use to only a few years ago.

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Conformity.

A freckle there.

When the discovered band makes it big, the person who found them loses a bit of their identity. It’s not just theirs to enjoy. It’s the world’s. The search for great beer will remain part of me, of my DNA, but much like the rest of my DNA, I now share it with those around me. It no longer makes me unique.

Or perhaps I’m just the ultimate trendsetter.

I do have a few quirks left though. But I’m not telling you what they are. Don’t need the rest going mainstream.

Originally published at www.2dudesanda6pack.com.

Written by

You might hate my first story, but maybe you’ll like the next. Editor at The Last Call Express. More at greysonferguson.com. Say hi: greysonferguson@gmail.com.

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