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Explosive Journalism - Opinion Columns by Michael Giardina

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Normalize my Irregularities
by Michael Giardina

Here is your first Friday task: Walk into your closet, find a button-up shirt, and then tell me which side the buttons are on. Men, your buttons are on the left. Women, your buttons are on right. Whoever knew such a dumb social norm existed?

If you're curious, women, rumor has it that your buttons are on the other side, so that men can drunkenly remove your shirts more easily. Isn't that dandy? I'm glad Abercrombie & Fitch had my drunken, sexual interests in mind when they were creating that new, psychedelic, tie-dyed blouse you look so good in. Meow.

As you can see, I'm not a huge fan of social norms. Call me a deviant if you will, but I don't think there is anything wrong with walking my cat on a leash through the Quad or singing my heart out on a crowded bus. Don't hate me; I'm just sharing my love for the Lion King soundtrack. I just can't wait to be king.

Seriously, though, try breaking these social norms. Hop onto an elevator and face away from the door. You won't believe how nervous everyone around you gets.

One of my friends performed this experiment and a lady actually informed him that he was "facing the wrong way." A female friend tried this, and -- to her surprise -- everyone else in the elevator turned around and faced the same way she was facing just to fit in. I sense lemming karma.

I don't know why our society is so incredibly frightened by deviants. Will you stop reading my column if I dye my hair purple and streak it with golden sparkles? Come on, I won't be a different person. As the late comedian Mitch Hedberg noted, "[We get our] hair highlighted, because [we feel] some strands [are] more important than others." Nothing more, nothing less. Rest in peace, Mitch.

Liberation time! I'm going to go against these awful social norms that keep society restrained. For example, I'm going to sit with my friends and eat a banana like I would a corn on the cob. What's it to you?

I'm going to wear my clothes inside out when I accidentally spill that Coffee House brand Chicken Tetrazzini on my sport coat. Don't look at me funny, we all make mistakes.

If I get a little lonely, I'm going to get on a crowded bus and shake hands, introducing myself to everyone on that big yellow submarine. Why be shy when I need more excitement in my life?

Same goes for the Quad. I'm going to start taking a seat next to those beautiful females sunning themselves and strike up a conversation. Sure, it's breaking the norms, but what do I have to lose?

I'll even go stand in line at Safeway, jumping up and down a hundred times. If you don't like my bouncy nervous jitters, you can voice your complaints to Aggie columnist Lamar Heystek at check-stand five.

Let's see him throw me out! He won't even recognize me, with my Jim Morrison wig, a fine pair of Oakleys, and hopping about in my fancy Bruno Malis. Just try and catch me, Born Loser!

Interestingly enough, things that are illegal can also be social norms. For example, I'd love to see you drive 65 on Interstate 80. If you weren't aware of four-letter words, funny finger gestures and terrible collisions, you certainly will be in for a surprise. Driving at the speed limit is breaking a social norm. Quite ironic.

This brings me to another social-norm pet peeve. Normally, you're supposed to honk when you're angry and scared for your life. We need a second horn sound that signifies "polite reminder." I can't count the number of times that I have honked at a duck that wouldn't cross the road only to see a girl in a skintight bikini flip me off. Simmer down Mama Sita, I'm just not a fan of duck carcass surprise.