Friday, January 6, 2012


My brother was making his End of Year video for his family and he mentioned to me that he had a clip of me making one of my traditional self-analyzing comments. I think that this one was, "I think that I eat as much candy as the average person; I just do it by eating a four-pound bucket of Red Vines a couple times a year."

Self-analysis is not an aspect of my personality that I had ever acknowledged before, which is a little ironic if you think about it. (Or is it? I always nervous about calling something ironic because I know that literary-types like to rip into that one.) But after he said it, I realized that he was absolutely right. I spend an awful lot of time thinking about the things I do and why I do them.

It has gotten me thinking a lot about where this characteristic comes from. Until my Sophomore year of high school, I really didn't really think a whole lot about how I was just a character in a larger world, and the things that I did had on impact on people around me and what they think of me. Since then, I actually do almost everything on purpose (e.g. what I wear, the things I say, the movies I see) to try to give off (or not give off) a certain signal.

When I was in high school, I think that this primarily manifested itself in portraying a persona that was different than I was in order to better fit in and make friends. I've become more sincere since I've come back from my mission, not necessarily trying to be something I'm not, but being careful to only dispense information about myself at the pace I want. For instance, for a long time, I made a huge effort to dress and act in a nondescript way, wearing plain clothes in neutral colors. I allow myself a little more freedom to stand out these days (I'm wearing bright green shoelaces right now (shout-out to Elisa!)), but I tend to be pretty quiet when I'm around groups of people I don't know.

A lot of this purposeful living leads to a strange sense of humor, involving several inside jokes where I'm the only one on the inside, and the thing I'm inside has more layers than an onion. My sister pointed out to me that my entire life is a little like one big piece of performance art in this way. She is just about right.

For instance, on my mission, I had a tie that I decided I would dedicate as my Depression Tie that I would wear when I was depressed because it was just a sort of dark gray. As a joke, I would occasionally wear this tie on days that I wasn't depressed, just to fool people around me. The thing was that I never told people that it was my Depression Tie, which made it all the more funny to me. I was wearing a tie that was supposed to fool everyone to thinking I was sad, but I wasn't sad. But furthermore, they had no idea I was pretending to be sad because they didn't know about my tie. In short, they weren't being fooled and they didn't know it. Hilarious.

In a similar vein, I often tell people "they are true" (rather than "they are right") partially because I think it is funny, but partially to make fun of the common church-phrase "[fill in the blank] is true," which doesn't really make sense to me. I especially love saying it to non-Mormons who don't know this important piece of information. I also like that I pronounce things like "borrow" and "sorry" with a Canadian accent, that I'm a regular at IHOP, and that I bring my math books to the movie theater by myself for approximately that same sort of reason. Hilarious.

And more hilarious since it's not really that funny at all.


Wilberforce said...

Oh man, I need to get on the inside with the hilarity.

Christian said...

I do the inside jokes with myself ALL THE TIME. The problem is that I haven't learned to not laugh at them, so I just laugh randomly and people look at me like I'm a crazy person. Which, I suppose, is not that far from the truth :)

xister said...

@Wilberforce: I would love to have you in on the hilarity, but I can't figure out who you are.

@Christian: Most of my inside jokes are not laugh-out-loud type jokes but more chuckle-under-your-breath type jokes. I suppose giggling all day at personal inside jokes though are as much (or moreso) a signal of crazy than a person who just laughs out loud every once in a while.

mlh said...

I have the same problem as Chris. Sometimes I see something that reminds me of something funny and I bust out laughing by myself in inopportune places. But, my, is it funny in my brain.

Day said...

Actually, that tie thing is kinda hilarious. I see your point about maybe needing to connect with people more, but I rather wish I had the creativity and/or sustained inner life for inside jokes like that. :)