Steve D., of One Dad's Opinion, recently posted about the definitions of normal, human, and fully functional. He and and some other bloggers had been asked by a researcher to define the terms independently and relative to one another. I also participated in the survey. Not surprisingly, my responses and Steve's share some common territory, diverging more stylistically than pragmatically. Of course, you have read his post right? Well, then go read it, okay? I'll wait.
Did you read the comments? There were some good responses in the comments.
Anyway, I figured my response is a bit too long to put in a comments section, so I told Steve I'd post it over here. As with everything, there's more than one way to answer a survey. Here's mine:
Pertaining to norms, that which is average or close enough to it, usually not more than one standard deviation on a bell curve. Some people use the term normal to express value judgments, or in attempt to enforce conformity. People fear not being normal. It’s primitive, I think, the fear of exclusion, because in difficult times exclusion can mean death.
We live in difficult times.
To be fully functional is to do whatever your society expects of you in the ways determined by those in power, who necessarily must be within the one standard deviation. To be a fully functional citizen, one must work at a job and pay her own way. If you don’t have a job, it is your fault. The manager looked at you and said, “I don’t think this is going to work out.” The manager is fully functional, in the Functionalist sense. He is keeping the riff-raff out.
Homo sapiens. A person. A man, woman or child. Except for Hitler. Oh, yeah, and Osama Bin Laden. And Charles Manson. Child abusers, sexual predators, sociopaths, murderers. These are a few of the labels people use alongside words like “inhuman” or “monster.” The great Me / Not me dividing line. Which side am I on if I laugh when the others are crying?
I was a normal human, but broken. Couldn’t get it together. Defective. You know you could do this, if only you tried. Yes, you are probably right. But I don’t know how to “try.”
Normal, Fully Functional:
I will work extra hard. Yes, I will arrive thirty minutes early. I will skip my break. I will volunteer for holidays. Then you will like me and keep me at this crappy job forever.
You are perfect as you are. Take this pill. Now you are different. Now you are perfect as you are.
Have you heard the story of the girl who cried all day, and I am not exaggerating, I mean all day, from 8AM until 6PM and maybe even longer, over a sad song on the radio? She was autistic, you know. Her parents did not know what to think. Especially later, when she didn’t cry at funerals. They didn’t know what to think. I will tell you a secret, though. The music at the funeral home was not very good. It wasn’t functional.
Fully Functional Normal Human:
The pearl is in the river. There is a light that never goes out. Have you ever eaten a pine tree? Ticket! Ticket! These are a few of my scripts. Speech is sometimes required. This is how I can function.
Is not to have Super Powers. I have been invisible. At night, sometimes, too, I have flown.
Human Normal Human:
I tell you I have never wanted to be. Sometimes it would have been nice to be considered to be it but not to be it. No. I never wanted.
Normal Human Functioning Fully:
Eat. Work. Sleep. Play. Use the bathroom. Don’t forget. Don’t forget to flush.
That which is broken.
Losing its meaning.
Laughing at videos of people slipping on ice.
Turning away from human turning away from normal laughing at people slipping on ice.
The leg will be fine in a few months.
I am so happy it wasn’t me.
Ouch for you, ouch for the other!
“They, since they were not the one dead, turned to their…”
Nonsense! You are hereby excluded.
Boo hoo! Grow up, why don’t you?
(Quiet, invisibly quiet, invisible)
Choosing to live anyway.
In difficult times.