Lou’s Been Thinking about Accepting Others For Being Normal

SUSIE GHARIB: And finally tonight, it’s time for our Friday feature, “Lou’s
Been Thinking” with author and educator Lou Heckler. Tonight, Lou’s been
thinking about his image.

LOU HECKLER: I’ve been thinking about being normal. I thought about
all the times in my life when I didn’t feel normal: when I was overweight
as a kid; when I wasn’t as athletic as some of my friends; even when I got
drafted into the army at 22 and realized I was one of the few recruits who
had never before fired a weapon. At those ages it didn’t occur to me that
each of us was a unique character. Instead I listened to that little guy
inside my head saying, blend in. Be usual. Do what everybody else is doing.

In journalism school, I often sat next to Jeff MacNelly. Jeff was tall
and a bit gangly and seemed to spend every class doodling in his notebook.
These weren’t ordinary doodles though. They were caricatures of the
professor or a slick drawing of a pretty girl a few rows away. I’m sure the
teachers must have told him to stop drawing and get down to doing something
worthwhile. Oh, and by the way that’s the same Jeff MacNelly who before his
far-too-early passing won three Pulitzer prizes for editorial cartooning!

If we could just open our arms a little wider and accept each person’s
normal as OK, wouldn’t that create some kind of a shift? I’m not so naive
as to think it would make wars go away or stop politicians from slamming
one another during heated campaigns, but it might do this. It might help
more of us to feel whole, to feel at peace, to feel fulfilled. Isn’t that
normal? I’m Lou Heckler.


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