Milton, I’m not going to beat around the bush here; I’m a weird fellow.
I’ve been called weird many times in my life. I’ve even called myself weird many times in my life. I like being weird. But I’ve learned that I really have no idea what that word means. Weirdness is something that is strange, but what constitutes strange? Is there a measurement of strangeness? I don’t know. Do I want to know?
Yes I do!
To the internet we go!
According to Merriam-Webster, the first use of the word weird was before the 12th century. The word was a noun and it meant “soothsayer.” Now unless I’ve been leading some sort of double life in my sleep, like in “Fight Club,” I am not a person who typically enjoys telling fortunes with a crystal ball and a pet snake.
So when did this word stop meaning “witch” and start meaning “slightly eccentric/a bit different?”
Well according to the same Merriam-Webster, it never really did. As of the 15th century, the word “weird” began to mean “of, relating to, or caused by witchcraft or the supernatural.” This is a bit concerning. If I was born in the middle ages, would I be burned like a Salem housewife? Would my weirdness be welcomed with pitchforks and dark cellars?
Well, maybe. But right next to this accusation of ghostly being, there appears a single word, separated by only a semicolon: “magical.”
This definition makes me much happier. You see, I’d much rather be known as a magic little genie guy than a bringer of all that is bad in the world. But am I really made of magic? I mean, I can definitely picture myself as some sort of Peter Pan, flying around the world, sprinkling magic dust on small children. But am I like that right now? Is that really who I am?
No. Sadly, and maybe contrary to some of your beliefs, I haven’t any small wings on my back. I have checked, holding little mirrors behind my back while looking at larger mirrors, only to realize that not only did I lack any resemblance to a bird or butterfly, but that holding mirrors in that fashion really hurts your arms.
So what other definitions of weird are there? Is there something more modern that describes me perfectly?
Not in my handy-dandy internet version of Merriam-Webster. So let us broaden our word-defining horizons. To the Google we go!
Google defines “weird” very similarly to Merriam Webster, sadly. According to the megalith search engine, weird means “suggesting something supernatural; uncanny.”
I’m not 100 percent sure if this is the most reliable definition, mostly because it’s conveniently placed sentence example is “the weird crying of a seal,” which I’ve honestly never seen as all that supernatural.
However, there is another definition. Weird as a noun means “a person’s destiny,” which makes an interesting point; when all of those third-graders called me weird, did I merely misunderstand them? Were they saying “You’re weird,” or “Your weird,” pointing out my destiny, the future that I owned? Were these little children? Or were they actually prophets, informing me of my purpose and fate?
Is my destiny simply to be strange? Does my purpose in this world include saying words that don’t exist? Doing things thought unnecessary and mentally unnatural?
I do hope so. I’m already pretty much doing that.
So Milton, I leave you with a choice. The first option is to be strange. Be something that other people aren’t. Do things other people don’t. Because I’ve learned that a lot of people get places in life, but don’t have fun doing it. And to me, having fun while doing stuff is the meaning of life.
The other option is to not. And I mean, that’s cool. I won’t judge you for being functional. Maybe to you, being a witch isn’t all that appealing. I can see your point.
Really, I’m not leaving you with a choice. I’m leaving you with yourself. But whatever you do, do it better than other people. Be an awesome person. Do an awesome thing.
Stay magical, Milton.