My People

I’ve been accused of having too many groups of “my people.” Science fiction writers for instance. My people, bless their hearts, most of them are more damaged than I am. Or science fiction fans in general. My people are full of the awesome strange. Or people who like to read. My people will short food to buy a new book. Or Americans. My people, bless us every one, fractious and fighting, a loud and tumultuous family, embracing liberty with all it means. Or my family, that small number of people in a small portion of Portugal, at whom I can go and say “well, right or wrong” (and often politically daft) “they’re mine.” There’s a turn of the head, a way of putting your hands in your pockets, a sort of lumber to the walk, but most of all there’s a turn of mind: to a man and to the last woman, we are thoughtful, a bit depressive, a good number of us are bookish, and most of us are artistic in some way, even those who express it as engineers, which Heinlein assured me is an art.

And it’s this last one that brings me to “my people” today. My other people. That vast extended family of Odds around the world.

You know who you are. You’re the ones who never quite fit in. Sometimes you were mysteries to your own parents, which is why so many of us suffer from cuckoo’s egg syndrome (though in my parents’ case they are both of us, just tried very hard to hide it and pretend they weren’t.)

It always amuses me to hear classifications of humanity into alphas and betas and…. It’s not that I don’t see the justice of it. I’ve been a long time in the world, and I’ve seen groups of people in action. In fact watching other people is a survival mechanism. Most groups do stack that way. Most women/most men are attracted/mate that way.

But there is more to it than that. There is us. We’re the ones who don’t fit in.

A talk with Dave Freer long ago confirmed our existence as a biological creature. It seems individuals like us exist in every social species. We’re outliers. We’re not the pathetic bottom-of-the-heap trying to survive; we’re the ones who don’t seem to recognize social rules the power to bind us, not like other people. We obey some, we ignore some, we go our own way.

In ape bands, we’re often cast out. I imagine in primitive human groups too. And the smart ones of those survived. In case one wonders where that band of roaming brigands that became the Romans came from.

“We” is not covalent with high IQ though I’ve never met one of us who was really LOW IQ. We tend to assume we are all high IQ because those are the ones that become vocal and (in the present day) even valued by normal for some achievement. Also because it flatters us and we’re human enough.

Some of us do their best to fit in, to the point of what amounts to psychic self-mutilation. For those who manage it, you’re likely to find us playing all roles from alpha to zeta. I think it’s part of the reason normal people distrust us and dislike us. We’re protean, and they don’t know how we do that.

Some of us – me – can swim in and out of the normal world and even pretend for a while, but don’t find much reward in pretending all the time, in fitting in, in living by their rules.

There are many names for us. These days they try to put us all in the autistic spectrum, except we’re not. Or at least, the things they keep saying ARE autism, like the inability to create new things, or the lack of social skill aren’t right in my case and in many other cases.

The best way to find us is in elementary. Other kids instinctively know that we’re different which in their minds is “wrong”. They are in touch enough with their instincts (something we don’t seem to be good at, btw) that they want to “kill the stranger.” Most of us were bullied, ostracized or hated in the playground, no matter how we learned to deal with it later.

But even now you can find us. We tend to be the people who now and then forget there ARE rules to social interaction. I don’t mean manners. We do those well enough. I mean, aping what everyone is admiring/talking about. Wearing whatever anyone else wears/thinks is hot. Those of us who are into fashion are likely to be so unique in dress style that it’s a good thing eccentricity isn’t a crime. But most of the time, even those, just bother with things that cover the essentials, because there are so many other things to do.

Perhaps we are a submerged set of genes from some race that mated with/melded with homo sap. Maybe some of those genes surface now and then and make us just Odd enough.

Or perhaps we are simply those outliers, like all great apes have.

I’d guess there’s more of us in America, and can even offer some explanation. It was hard and a long way away for immigration. Those who came were uncertainly attached to the group. Also a lot of us feel like strangers in the place where we were born and seem to have deep rooted in us the idea there is a homeland for us, somewhere, if we only look.

. Our kind has always been cast out or left, shaking the dust from our sandals, shrugging our shoulders at the crazy rules of normal, as we go looking for another better place, or as we seek to build one. Perhaps that’s why so many of us are interested in space exploration

And you see, here’s the thing, we know each other. Usually on sight. Sometimes on reading.

Dr. Matt Taylor is one of us. He might be of whatever political opinion, and I’m sure some of his ideas would make me cringe. But he’s one of us. “My people, whatever they are, they are mine.”

His bullying over a shirt – a signaling only important to normal – was a wound to those of us who got bullied over inexplicably strange things in school. You know, wearing the wrong dress or writing with the wrong pen, or what we read, or the fact we didn’t watch the same shows everyone watched or had no interest in their social supremacy games.

We’ve always known each other. As adults, we’ve shrugged our shoulders and gone elsewhere.

But now we’ve got the net. We can find each other. And we’re learning to hit back at bullies.

Bullies and normal have gotten away with pushing us around because most of the time we couldn’t be bothered and because most of the time there’s only one of us anywhere near.

It’s time we woke up. Normal society needs us. Whatever else we are, geeks, odds, eccentrics, we’re the ones who try new things. Without us, the stultifying pressure of social conformity would mean that they were still in caves. Or maybe still in trees.

They need us. Yeah, we’re strange, and we dress us funny. Yeah, we have obsessions you don’t get, and ideas you don’t understand. Yeah, a good number of us are crackpot and even the normal ones have patches of crackpottery. Yes, yes, a lot of us are emotionally walking wounded by growing up “strange.”

Doesn’t matter. They need us more than we need them. From now on, when one of us is touched, the rest of us will rise up and say “You and whose fashion-police army.”

Thanks to the net, we’re no longer alone. We’ll never be a group, though we can form loose groups. But we now know there are others like us. Odd isn’t evil or broken or non-functional. It can be. But mostly it’s just different. And needed by any functioning human population.

Leave us alone to enjoy our weird. We don’t play by your social game rules.

But we ask nothing from you, except the chance to be.  And in return, you might get the stars.

431 responses to “My People

  1. Yes. Definitively.

  2. Elegantly put, but I have learned to expect that of you.

    Thank you.

  3. Sarah, my sister from another mister, this column is exactly why I always, always read your blog. SO glad I found you!

  4. Sara, you have exactly expressed the way I have felt since I was old enough to be self aware, but could not quite vocalize. We, the others, the fellow strange, salute you.

  5. I don’t know what you’re talking about … I’m normal.
    All the rest of you, on the other hand … hey, is that a Cyprinidae headed my way ***ducks and covers***

  6. Stranger in a strange land.

    Outlier, outsider, outlander…

    I’ll just stand over here in the corner and watch, okay?

  7. We be weird!

    And somehow I imagine Dr. Matt of the Shirt is undergoing a bit of cognitive dissonance upon realizing who is attacking him, and who is defending him (not the individuals, but the groups).

  8. Amen my young Portagee.

    New TV show this season about a group of high IQ odds called Scorpion.
    Science is abysmal, situations are hokey at best, but I watch and just about every show something or other seems to pluck at my heart or memory. Odds with flaws and pecadillos, but they care, and they win, and they’re heros.

    Old saying that I’ll paraphrase as “the timid never left, and the weak died along the way.” You had to be odd to come here, risking everything on a hope or dream, or you got shipped here as a troublemaker back home. And the lot of us became America and our country became the best of a sorry lot while the others were the worse off for the loss. America isn’t perfect, that’s left for heaven (or hell, can’t imagine anything more boring that perfect) Always room for improvement, but I’m sick to death of the idea that imperfect equates to bad, even evil. You want evil, look to those that hate us for legitimate examples.

  9. For some reason this popped into my mind:

    And them that don’t know him won’t like him and them that do
    Sometimes won’t know how to take him
    He ain’t wrong, he’s just different but his pride won’t let him
    Do things to make you think he’s right.

    • “The really valuable thing in the pageant of life seems to me not the
      political state, but the creative, sentient individual, the personality;
      it alone creates the noble and the sublime, while the herd as such remains
      dull in thought and dull in feeling.”

      Albert Einstein
      Ideas and Opinions

  10. Blessings, Sarah, and thank you. Some years back, there was a book entitled “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.” My first reaction was “real men eat whatever they damn’ well please.” Guess that makes me an odd… of sorts.

    • ’bout that same time was another. “Real women don’t pump gas.”

      • Hah – which reminds me, when gas stations routinely stopped having attendants – sometime around the great gas shortage in the 1970s – my father had to show us how to do it. It’s been an age since I bought gas at a place where the attendant came out and did it. (The Texaco station in Beaver, Utah, if memory serves, sometime in the late 1980s.)

        • Oregon, it is a law you can’t pump your own gas their, except at certain commercial cardlock only stations (CFN, Pacific Pride, etc.) Of course that is ALL the attendants do, it certainly isn’t full service, they will refuse to wash your windshield or check your oil if you ask.

          And make sure you are packing spare gas if you are traveling across Eastern Oregon at night. Because in many towns the gas stations will close at 8 or 9 at night and not open until 6 or 7 the next morning. You will be spending a few hours sleeping in your car and waiting for the station to open, if you don’t have enough gas with you to make it to a town that has an open station.

          • There, not their. 😦

          • The Other Sean

            New Jersey has similar “no self service” laws. After living in Ohio for almost as long as I lived in New Jersey, I sometimes forget that and get out to pump my own gas. when I’m back visiting family. I much prefer to pump my own gas – except during a polar vortex!

  11. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    “All the world is crazy but you and me but sometimes I wonder about you”. [Very Big Grin]

  12. It is interesting to note that the various classifiers of humanity – the ones that come up with alpha, beta etc. – don’t seem to mention us. The ones that don’t fit in their neat boxes but ramble between them or head off at 90 degrees to every single one of their axes.

    I do wonder what will happen if the Internet and globalization (and maybe interstellar colonization) allows for us to self sort so that we don’t associate with the mundanes. I assume the mundanes will have a sustained run of Heinleinian “bad luck” but it isn’t clear to me that a society of odds will be that functional either. A bit like how organic fertilizer is very efficacious when spread around but is a stinking mess when gathered in one spot

    • Thankfully, we’re too squishy, and there are too many “normal” people who can and will enjoy being around us– and can form good relationships because both feel needed, and are needed. Sometimes you get marriages of Odds that are Odd in different directions, but at least as often you get marriages of an Odd and a Caretaker, and that’s in situations with a lot of Odds. Thinking on it, most of the Odd/Odd marriages I know have at least one Caretaker involved, and now I’m thinking I need a Guardian or something because there’s two different jobs, there, one is mostly Nurture and one is mostly Defend, but it’s like trying to draw a line where Red stops and Yellow starts without allowing for Orange….. Digressing. I do it.

      I can’t remember who pointed it out recently, but Geek Groups do tend to date outside of their pool, and even in Geek Groups there are sometimes normal people who just really enjoy the company.

      • Somebody linked the youtbe video yesterday, but here are the pertinent lyrics:

        And the only reason I’m singin’ you the song now is ’cause you may know somebody in a similar situation.

        Or you may be in a similar situation, and if you’re in a situation like that, there’s only one thing you can do:

        Walk into the shrink wherever you are, just walk in, say, “Shrink, . . . you can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant”, and walk out.

        You know, if one person, just one person, does it, they may think he’s really sick and they won’t take him.

        And if two people do it, in harmony, they may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them.

        And if three people do it! Can you imagine three people walkin’ in, singin’ a bar of “Alice’s Restaurant” and walkin’ out? They may think it’s an organization!

        And can you imagine fifty people a day? I said FIFTY people a day . . . walkin’ in, singin’ a bar of “Alice’s Restaurant” and walkin’ out? Friends, they may think it’s a MOVEMENT, and that’s what it is: THE ALICE’S RESTAURANT ANTI-MASSACREE MOVEMENT! . . . and all you gotta do to join is to sing it the next time it comes around on the guitar.

        With feelin’.

        Odds of the World, Form Up! The cat herders have been telling you where to go, and now it’s our turn to tell them.

        • I saw the movie so many years ago, and loved it. Saw it a couple years ago, and didn’t. The world has changed, and I have, too.

        • Ah, the iconic song of the 60s.

          It’s about a man who makes a mess and leaves it for other people to pick up.

          • Well, he did start out by cleaning out Alice’s home … and they did try and take it to the dump, but it was closed for Thanksgiving.

            Government still shuts down for Thanksgiving, but it looks like the stores don’t anymore.

            • CombatMissionary

              These days it costs more money to shut the government down than to leave it running.

              You know, because heaven forbid anybody trespass on king Zero’s WWII monument. 😀

      • “Thankfully, we’re too squishy”

        Speak for yourself, I don’t enjoy being stuck to somebodies shoe. Thankfully I’ve been out in the sun long enough to develop a hard crusty outer layer.

        Oh, does it make us odd that we just went with masgramondou’s metaphor that compared us to piles of excrement?

    • SheSellsSeashells

      WRT heading off at 90 degrees, my aunt used to say of me “She crabsteps to the beat of a different drummer”. As an adult, it’s…still rather apropos.

  13. This. Um, and kinda on/off topic, are there any Huns or Hoydens in the KC metro area that might like to get together next week? I’ll be up there visiting family. Shoot me an e-mail at AlmaTCBoykin AT AOL dot com if interested.

  14. Normals don’t want the stars, they want to know what “the stars” are wearing/thinking/emoting.

  15. I love this post. I was born in South Africa but never wanted to be there, and have always been an outsider. Of course I tried to fit in when I was younger, but I am who I am. You get tired of pretending.

    I’m in New Zealand now and I have a family. I still don’t fit in anywhere, but I’ve a tribe of my own whose needs are above my own. I suppose you can say I have a nomad’s soul. It doesn’t mean there weren’t times when I ached for roots or identity.

    You get to an age where it doesn’t matter anymore whether you fit in. You do the things you do because it makes sense to you. And let’s be honest, you view yourself as normal. It is the rest of the world who need counseling. Seriously, I sometimes think that.

    Anyway, the shirt issue is top of my list of absurdities that makes me look boringly normal. It was unfair how they treated the guy. it was unfair how they reacted because of a bloody shirt. I’ll defend the guy and I will defend anyone of you and other people if I feel they are being treated unfair. Because principle.

    • Hear! Hear! Chivalry for the win! Though I go 3 rounds every so often with a dear friend about whether or no chivalry is for you gents alone to apply. He is old and fell in argument, but I keep on playing knight errant & cheerring on any ladies with similar impulses. Call it the Puddleglum effect, but it seems to be a stubborn characteristic of what folks here are calling “odds” (Here’s a lark: let’s reclaim “queer” for our tribe: it will make all the right folk’s heads explode.)

      On a practical note, however, I would be remiss in pointing out that one can get away with SO much more if a body is willing to adopt protective camoflauge. All clothing is cosplay.

      • By and large, we mean well– so if we view clothes and manners as trying not to upset folks who aren’t meaning us harm, it’s easier.

        It’s just not easy to figure out what calms them!

  16. In the Doctor’s case, that picture of him that’s obviously a geek in full joy about His Subject is what made me peg him as “one of us.” I’ve pissed off some folks because I see former Pope Benedict the 16th as one as well– which shouldn’t be a surprise, nobody’s getting into theology because it’s a great way to be popular. 😀

    I think part of why we’re not trusted, often, is that we’re not predictable. We run hot and cold– depending on how much we love a subject. We’ll show a startling amount of focus on things that are hard to predict if you aren’t paying attention to the person, rather than “most likely.”

    That can be quite dangerous, depending on the situation and how disciplined the Odd is, both in paying attention to the raw situation and in paying attention to the sub-currents of other people.

    I think non-Odds have some kind of a better sense of the sub-current thing, and they can’t even describe it because it’s normal, while a big enough group of the same type of Odd to detect the same thing isn’t very common, and is generally really unstable.

    • Of course Papa Benny was a geek. The biographical and autobiographical material screams that he was as nerdy as it comes, and so was his brother (choir geek) and his dad, and probably his mom and sister too.

      His dad was eldest but didn’t get the family farm because he was “the smart one” who didn’t need it, even though it hurt the man’s heart pretty seriously to leave in the first place, and basically getting disinherited for being a non-good for nothing really hurt him. He got married through advertising the world’s geekiest personal ad, and his wife was geeky enough to think it sounded good. He was geeky enough to openly say things against Hitler, and not care that he kept getting transferred to smaller and smaller towns as a policeman because of it. They always had plenty of books and music in the house, no matter what else happened.

      It’s very sad that both Pope Benedict and his brother got such severe vision and hearing problems when they got older. To be separated from your interests is harsh. (Great for progress in asceticism, I guess.) His brother Monsignor Georg used to turn up the stereo so loud in his little house in the town square in Regensburg that everybody for blocks could hear it, but I think even that doesn’t work for him now.

      • Hm… I just thought about my family’s background– the way people tend to meet, we’ve got various types of odds all over, but most can pass just fine– and I think that the “Odds meet and mate” thing has already been going on, and has been for ages; being able to travel easily has just made it easier.

        You know all the old stories– both mythology and just gossip– about exotic brides?

        Being willing to leave your people to go elsewhere is odd. Falling hard for someone that different– enough to bring her home– is also kind of odd.

        We also know that a touch of the exotic (their kids, grandkids, etc) is really appealing to a large portion of the population.

        Maybe THAT is why Odds are still around so much? The “strange” of Odd is easily understood if you’re also “strange” because you’re foreign, and a touch is (in a healthy group) attractive.

        • the way people tend to meet, we’ve got various types of odds all over

          I guess I’d qualify on this issue – my wife and I met at the launch of STS-7 while on a National Space Society sponsored launch tour in June 1983. Married on Oct 1, 1983. She was just tagging along with her older sister, who was a geek herself. Both her sister and I were members of NSS…..

          • And the wife is not a geek, and probably qualifies as my “keeper”…….

          • *nod* Stuff like that, yeah.

            For older ones, it’s frequently the folks who were good enough at their job to stay employed, and loosely enough connected to their area to be willing to move a long ways to set up new (whatever).

            • We have 4 sons, and only one marginally qualifies as an odd, just barely since he’s a senior engineering major. All were jocks in high school. Two are elisted Marine infantrymen, and the other is a fireman/paramedic. Not exactly geek occupations.

              Their mother gave them their normality…….

              • *grin* Oh, I don’t know, half my geek group were Marines!

                “Jock” types just pass a lot easier– I think it’s that “light up” reaction to some topics that makes an Odd.

                • Or following topics down the rabbit hole after other people have already become so bored with it that they want to punch you for staying on it.

                  • Hm… maybe the reason so many of Us are oblivious to attention from the opposite sex because we think they’re really interested?

                    My sister runs into trouble because she’s genuinely interested in people as people– and a lot of guys can’t even understand listening politely isn’t flirting, let alone asking polite questions.

                    • Heh–I remember that complaint in one of the Bronte sister books, (Anne? Agnes Grey?) complaining about young curates who thought they were always being pursued.

                      It’s happened to me several times as well, interactions that I thought were normal courtesy, but where the man acted strangely. Even by my standards. I had to be told by friends afterward it was because they thought I was flirting.

    • Dammit! Women with ray guns are EMPOWERED. Who’s against empowered women?

      • Nekkid womyn with rayguns are empowered and expressing their sexuality. Anybody opposed to that is threatened by powerful women and trying to repress them.

        • So you’re saying if the women on his shirt would have taken their clothes off it would have been acceptable?

          • If the women on his shirt had taken their clothes off… geeks would have tried to figure out how he got the figures to move.


          • Back in my younger days I worked a hotel night shift. One evening I arrived at work to find the ballroom had been booked for a Chippendale’s type show and the place was mobbed. They had eventually had to draft every male wait staff person in the hotel, from dining room and bar and by all reports the treatment those guys “suffered” would have embarrassed a $25 streetwalker, with dollar bills shoved in almost every possible locale. Meanwhile, the female wait staff from the bar were fuming, getting $0 tips while having to do a full night’s work.

            Woman have little standing to criticize other than lack of opportunity. Anybody who has worked in a cubicle farm in a predominantly female office knows that the conversation covers topics no man ever wants to know about.

            • Back when I worked a regular job, I was a contractor for the DoD. In the warehouse I worked in, we were an all male crew. While topics of conversation often did involve women, it was more abstract. One of the single guys would merely mention “getting lucky” and that was it.

              Then they hired a woman. Now, she was pretty cool and all that, but the content of our conversations took a hard nosedive into the gutter…with HER instigating it. She would bring up some of the raunchiest subjects, while we would look at one another and try to figure out whether we were being set up for sexual harassment charges or something. Nope. Even after some engaged in such discussions, nothing ever happened.

              My point is, women can be as dirty and raunchy, if not more so, than men. It can be kind of scary, actually.

    • Oh GOOD. It’s not just me and my Mom who pegged Benedict as One Of Us. He seemed to find the whole Pope Palpatine thing amusing.

      Finding out that he would sneak out of the Papal residence so he could pet kittycats – apparently he LOOOOOVES cats and they’re not allowed at the Papal residence – kinda hammered it in a bit more. I hope he has a nice pet cat now he’s not the pope any more.

    • absolutely. I love reading Pope Benedict’s transcripts for his Radio show. He was not only a theo nerd, but a mystic. Granted, Aquinas was that way too. Nobody seems to remember how, for thousands of years the Church sheltered the nerds and outcasts, and brought them home to serve God.

      How else does monasticism make any sense? 🙂

  17. The flip side of this is that we’ve got to look out for folks coming in and trying to “organize” us, or at least claim to speak for us. That’s how the feminist crazies got going.

    • I do not like it when people presume to speak for me, whether it’s as a woman, a Christian, a writer, or one of the 99%.

      • I don’t think we’re organizable. Some of us can play leader or follower for a while, but we get bored with that sort of roleplay quickly. That’s probably why we didn’t want a King, starting out.
        The thing is, if we allow that most of the immigrants to the USA were Odds or they wouldn’t’ve bothered, and Odds tend to raise Odd children–how’d we get outnumbered here? Or are we outnumbered? There are so many Odds all over the web . . . are we the majority and just cautious because we don’t realize it?
        By the by, I’m changing which email I use posting here–I don’t know if it shows behind the scenes, but I’m still the regular Holly.

        • we’re not outnumbered — we’re outshouted. We don’t organize too well. But I think even among odds, the normals are the dominant genetics, so even odd parents have more than the occasional normal child. Maybe not as “normal” as in Europe, but normal.

          • I’m glad my eldest spawn is full-on odd. So far, the youngest seems to be shaping up nicely as well, though, so here’s hoping I skip out on having a normal child.

            *shudders at the thought* 😉

            • In seriousness, I think it’s better to be a ‘Dane born to Odds than an Odd born to pure ‘Danes (or Princess Elsa Odds)

              As much as the idea of having a kid that different worries us, we can deal with it. The biggest worry I have is that I have a normal kid and we’ll not be able to teach her to deal with ‘Danes properly.

              Someone born into a fully ‘Dane family isn’t going to have someone who at least recognizes they’re different, instead of a parenting failure– and someone who’s going the whole Total Rejection thing would be heck.

            • I did. Honestly, it was my greatest fear in adopting, was that a poor normal kid would have cuckoo’s egg syndrome growing up with us.

              • William O. B'Livion

                Love, working toilets and regular dinners go a LONG way towards “My folks were odd, but they were great people”.

                I mean, as long as you don’t use the taser too often.

                • I suppose. Our pediatrician said anyone we adopted would become Odd… I wasn’t sure that was a good thing. 😛 It was moot as we had no money. IF we had money now, or the time to go the long way around like Mike Weatherford, we’d still do it, though.

                  • Is not a “normal” amongst Odds pretty much an odd by definition? As the story says, a point in every direction is the same thing as no point at all.

                    • If there were enough Odds around, yes. But they outnumber us, and by far, rather than the other way around. They can be normal around normal folk, many different normal folk, and easily- we have each other, few (relatively speaking) that we are.

                      S’okay. The food’s good, the conversation’s better, and nobody bats an eyebrow when there’s six different “what would you want on your space station/moon colony/expedition to Mars” discussions going on in the room-of-many-corners…

                    • I was an Addams Family viewer myself, but do recall the “odd” daughter in The Munster household.

                      You might oughtta watch You Can’t Take It With You for examples of normality in an odd household. While I cannot advocate traveling to see James Earl Jones in the current Broadway production, but it’s a pretty good movie.

            • Rhys and I are Odds. My son’s a fairly normal little boy. There’s some flashes of Oddness here and there, but I love him to bits anyway. But if he hadn’t turned out to really resemble his father, grandfather and great grandmother, we would have wondered how we ended up with a normal little puppy in my womb.

              And I think exposure to Housemate is going to help in shaping him up as Odd-colored, so… (Really, some of the conversations are pure comedy gold!)

          • I think an argument can be made that we organize extremely well, we just don’t organize conventionally — not in the conventional way, not in response to the conventional incentives, not according to the conventional stimuli (was that redundant?) This has, in less particular fashion, been the essence of Victor Davis Hanson’s thesis about Democracies going to war.

            It requires leadership, not command, and it requires clear communicative ability from the leadership. But tell us the objective, tell us the importance, tell us the available resources (Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a holocaust cloak) and get out of our way.

            There are reasons Reagan is so dearly missed.

            • Yep, over on MGC there is an organizational conflict in progress, right now.

              • I think Sanford is wrong. I think we need a lot of voices as well as everything else. AND I think we need UNDERCOVER TOO. And a mocking brigade.

                • I weighed in on this over there. On a few very scary realities that I don’t think have quite popped into mind yet. Chatted with Kate a bit over IM earlier about some possible solutions but they’re not ones I’m really sure I want to chat about in open blogosphere. Relates to the undercover too, because I agree with the ‘need for the everything.’

                • Ooohhh – I haven’t run a mocking brigade since I was a wee little turtle. But I was very good at it; they all said nobody runs a mock like RES runs a mock.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  My position is purely personal.

                  I get tired of thinking of the idiocy involved in the SJWs.

                  Also, in spite of the “hot arguments” I’ve gotten involved in I also get tired of “hot arguments” (no matter if the people involved attempt to be polite).

                  So I’ve avoided Sanford’s thread.

                  However, I agree that the idiocy of the SJWs must be fought. I’m not sure of the best way to do it but a “Cease Fire” isn’t the way to go.

                  Note, I’m following threads here mostly because even threads started out about the SJWs, there are interesting “off topic” conversations. [Smile]

                • Related to that, Tom Knighton gave me an idea for something we need, by doing so himself: We need a group of people who specialize in turning their own statements back on them. The comment I am referring to is his saying “So, because of what he was wearing, he was asking for it?”

                  I know some people create things like this, but they need to cover as many of the attacks as possible, beating the hypocrisy about the head and shoulders with a polearm, or perhaps a mace. I am not good at this kind of thing, or I would simply start doing it myself.

            • Thank you, RES. I agree.

  18. Sarah you put feelings and thoughts into such clear sentences that reflect things I wish I could express. Now I do not have to worry about it I can just direct them here. Thanks for taking care of the “Normals.”

  19. It’s always been hard to be an outlier, but the current powers that be possess powerful means of enforcing conformity.

    Guess we’ll just have to resort to Hunter S. Thompson’s advice: “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” I think we’re up to it.

  20. Have you read on the Neanderthal Connection? As I told my husband “you might be a Neanderthal, many scientists apparently are.” They seemed to have a gene for math or deep thinking but not for socializing. And the really smart people do seem to carry their DNA. So Sarah, You Might be a Neanderthal. That would be a compliment.

    • My older son has a neanderthal skull and neanderthal feet.
      When I had to have a root canal, apparently the canals in my teeth are so weird that it takes long and is often botched. The last endotonlogist (sp) told me she had seen teeth like mine in medschool, in an illustration of Neanderthal teeth. So, probably guilty as charged.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Ah, so the next time someone accuses you of being a political Neanderthal, you can say, “Why yes. Thank you.”

      • I’ve probably told this story here too many times, but … science writer Loren Eiseley was walking barefoot through a muddy swamp when he encountered the tracks of a Neanderthal. No doubt about it. Was dreaming of the honors to be had, discovering the last of the race in this American swamp… and he noticed signs that he had been walking in circles. He stepped in the mud beside one of the Neanderthal footprints- identical. His own footprints.

      • Weird coincidence. MY teeth are odd, too. I was born with only two wisdom teeth. But those were so horrible to remove I had to sign a waver so I wouldn’t sue when they broke my jaw. Fortunately, I had the best ortho in the state, so he didn’t.

  21. I like this (actually, I haven’t read one of your articles yet that I didn’t like! Too bad you aren’t eligible to run for President….oh, hey, there’s a precedent…. 🙂 ). I’m one of your people, too (where did you think Cedar got it, LOL!).


    • I have this odd (Hah!) theory that *IF* some of the speculation about Obama’s heritage turns out to be true, that they orchestrated the reactions to the “Birther” contingent in order to drive the coverage higher and get the story set more deeply in the public consciousness, so they would be able to go back later and claim precedent when they want to try to overturn the “Natural Born Citizen” requirement.

  22. Beautiful! Hail fellow oddball! How well you articulate our oddities. Among the many reasons I have chosen to live my life in Japan is that my lack of a mainstream personality is totally unremarkable to the Japanese because they think all foreigners are weird — and I suppose we are to them — but even in Japan I tend to hang out with weirdos because, well, normal Japanese don’t.

    I’d type more now, but it’s 0430 in the morning, I’m on my first cup of coffee and I need go out and firefly for a bit.

  23. I have a lot to say, and not enough time to say it just now, so I suspect I’ll do up my own blog post on it.

    However, I have to say it was fun reading this and all of Sarah’s comments in her accent. 😀

    [Runs to void incoming carp]

    • You’re a TERRIBLE man.

        • When I read Sarah’s posts out loud to my wife, I do it in a bad impression of her accent.

            • I keep forgetting other people don’t speak Southern, so it’s a wash. Dave and Sarah’s posts always seem to have a “y’all” in there somewhere, listening to them in my head, though. *grin*

              • I gallantly resisted acquiring y’all for years, despite growing up in a rural area (admittedly, western Washington logging town) and then going to school in a large farming area. Bootcamp broke me down, and I finally gave in. More out of a sense of survival than anything else. Though I’ve gotten away from it, as I don’t sound at all Southern otherwise.

                • Then there’s “youens”, which (according to Jeff Foxworthy, and he should know) is y’all plus three.

                  • Eh, that can depend on where ye heard it, I suppose. Different places got different ways. There’s some variation.

                    Aighty then, for the record…

                    Y’all: one to ain’t-got-enough-fingers-and-toes.
                    All y’all: more than one, less than ever-dam-body.
                    You-uns: a less polite version of all y’all (usually).
                    Young-un: younger than you. My grandpa was a “that boy” or “Ma’am’s young’un” to his father in law until the latter’s death at 102.
                    Mess: a bunch, more than a peck.
                    Peck: a bite or three, if you’ve a small mouth.
                    Middlin’: better than fair, if by just a peck.
                    Poke: a weed, a salad ingredient, a sack, a pen.

                    That’s enough for naow.

                    • a rock throw: a distance that isn’t very far.
                      a ways: farther than a rock throw.
                      you-uns: an informal version of all y’all (not necessarily less polite)
                      handful: western term for a peck
                      truckload: a lot more than a mess.
                      safternoon: this afternoon.
                      smornin: this morning
                      kid: anyone less than ten years older than you, unless you are talking about yourself, in which case you haven’t been a kid for a number of years.
                      directly: in a little while.
                      I reckon: my opinion is, or my thoughts are.

                    • Ah’m fixin’ to get a reply up…..

                    • Then there’s the age slang pointed out by Richard Hooker in MASH GOES TO MAINE.

                      In New England a male is likely to be called “boy” untill 1) his hair is completely gone and/or white or 2) he requires a cane.

                      At which point he is called “young fella”

                • The accent gets worse during stress, for me. I was raised by an English teacher with a penchant for correcting pronunciation and grammar, little though it may evidence itself today. Outside of the South, used to I could amaze folks with my lack of accent. And the fact that I wore actual shoes! *chuckle*

                • I tried for years when I moved out here to not use the word “Spendy”, but eventually I succumbed, because nobody knew what the hell “Pricey” meant. And in retrospect, it’s etymologically less sound.

                • I’ve never lived in Texas, but when I was young and we lived on a homestead in Alaska, our next-door neighbors were from Texas. For quite a while I said y’all, having picked it up from them.

              • In my head, my accent is North Carolina.

            • Same accent I do for Natalia, actually. Y’know, when I read those out loud.

              If you ever need a fill-in for a reading at a con we’re both at . . .

            • Gentlemen and Ladies of the Horde, I rise in defense of Sarah, the Hoyt, against scurrilous and craven accusations of having an accent. I have met Sarah and heard her speak, and as a native born Amurcan who has lived in the North, South, East and West (Virginia) that Sarah, the Hoyt, has NO accent.

              It is all the rest of Amurcans who have accents. Especially those damned Nebraskans. Californians have abandoned the language altogether and now speak some strange hybrid language related to English but badly mutated. And what they do to the language in New England is not a fit topic for discussion in mixed (Amurcans & furriners) company.

    • Her accent is hard for me to do in my head (and thus slows my reading down tremendously), or else I probably would, too.

      Of course, in our heads, we can make Sarah say, “Moose and Squirrel”. (Also runs to avoid carp)

      • I’m just glad I’m not the only one who thinks that.

        [zigs and zags to avoid more carp]

        • You people who hear voices in your heads when you read are just . . . odd.

          • They’re nothing compared to us who hear scenes and characters when we’re trying to do something else. 😀

            • No, that’s perfectly normal. Everyone knows ironing with mental dragons is better than ironing without, don’t they? 😉
              But reading at the speed of speech, now that’s odd.

            • They usually rear their ugly heads when I’m trying to go to sleep for some reason. :/

              • Same. Dangit.

                Probably a holdover from my early twenties, when telling myself stories was a good way to transition into nighttime dreaming, after a day full of head-bustingly tough stuff.

                • I’m pretty sure mines a holdover from something I did to piss God off.

                  Not that I don’t deserve it. I probably do. I just wish I knew what it was. :/

                  • I cussed a nun in German before I was five. Not that she didn’t deserve it, or that I actually knew what I was saying, mind. But I’m pretty sure that got Himself’s attention, or at least an under-angel-in-training.

                    They say that you’re never given burdens wider than your shoulders can bear but some days it makes me dread the afterlife. Out of fear of paperwork and bureaucracy that got there ahead of me.

                    Can you imagine the line to the pearly gates? The forms in triplicate? Checkboxes, proper documentation, the whole deal?

                    Wait, that doesn’t sound much like heaven. Damn. *chuckle*

                    • God never gives us more than we can bear.

                      I just wish he had a little less faith in me, you know?

                    • AH, now you’re giving me some proper ammo for my concerns. “I’m pretty sure that got Himself’s attention,” Now that’s what I’m looking for- “Himself’s attention.” Thanks

                    • I despise the “you aren’t given a greater burden than you can bear” twaddle. Like Kipling’s HYMN TO,BREAKIMG STRAIN much better.

                    • I’ve always thought “no burdens greater than you can bear” was Himself’s way of saying “Just one more…”

                      Just one more… tvtropes link, cat video, potato chip, chocolate chip, chapter, paragraph, okay, the last fifty pages, just five more minutes?

              • When I’m very ill or dead tired…

          • Oh sure, you say that with that Brooklyn accent. 😛

  24. To me this explains a lot. I’ve always not been in the group but outside with the other outlanders launching rockets making movies on 8 mm film etc.

  25. I have only one reply, and the regret I can’t locate this sound clip:

    Lina Lamont: “People”? I ain’t “people.” I am a – “a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament.”
    [picks up newspaper]
    Lina Lamont: It says so – right here.

    • Lina Lamont: If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, it makes us feel as though our hard work ain’t been in vain for nothin’. Bless you all.

    • Lord, but I love that movie. And Lina’s quotes are gold.

      • It is very easy to underestimate the performance of Jean Hagen as Lina. There are auditions on the interwebz –

        – which show what a challenge the role is. It is often tempting for an actor to sweeten a character, make her (in this case) more likable, something Hagen completely avoided. Had Lina Lamont been a man he’d have had a handle bar mustache.

        • I understand most people who are more fanatic about that sort of thing than I am think she was robbed of the supporting actress award that year.

    • Wall Street Journal wants subscription, so here’s another link.

      Also, 67P had better PR than a nude celebrity, albeit for a brief moment in the attention span of the ‘net (or twitter at least). Nearly a half million tweets mentioned the comet vs. 370k. Rock on science Odds!

      • The WSJ pay wall is annoying as hell, but I say that for mostly personal reasons.

        • IF YOU HAVE A SAMPLE SENTENCE fragment sufficiently discreet, Google on that and see if it won’t let you get around the pay wall. I know it used to, but as I now subscribe to the WSJ online I cannot test whether it still works. I know it works for the NY Times, but really, how much of that does a body want to read? I can access ten articles a month in each of three browsers which is usually plenty except during Baseball Season (if you configure your Chrome setup to not save cookies from the Times … ’nuff sed.)

          I don not know why Google bypasses pay walls, nor whether it bypasses all such nor whether other browsers will do the same. YMMV.

          • I found you could do it shortly after the article came out, but then even that expired and now no one who doesn’t have a subscription can read it.

            Bummer too, because it’s a pretty good moment in my life. 😀

    • I’m not sure how I feel about that discovery yet.

      What kind of shirt was the person who announced it wearing?

  26. Well, I hope it’s not too odd – or perhaps just odd enough – to wish you a happy birthday.

  27. I tend odd, and oldest son does too (he’s my mirror image), but middle son I think will be quite normal. It’s youngest son I wonder about… yesterday, he decided he didn’t want a birthday party (he turns five in December). We asked him about friends, presents, cake, but he didn’t want any of it. He wants Christmas presents, not birthday presents. Finally we got to the root of it: he likes being four. He doesn’t want to turn five (too much responsibility?). I suppose it’s not too Odd to not want to grow up, but it’s the level of abstraction he took it to: how many 4 year olds will refuse cake and presents to avoid a larger unpleasantness in their lives?

    • Perhaps he is aware that 4 is 2Sq. while 5 is merely another prime number? Or that 4 is 100 in binary? (Speaking of which: if you can teach your kid to count on his fingers in binary he can a. count up to 1024 instead of merely 10 and b. is assuredly an Odd.)

      Have you read him the adventures of Jacob Two-Two? I cannot vouch for the animations, being familiar only with the books.

      • It’s not the math, though I think he’ll show proficiency there. It’s the creation of worlds (he does all the voices), and a somewhat asocial view of life. He played with a little girl a bit older than him, and she said it was the best play date ever, and can’t wait to see him again. He can’t remember her name, or that he played with her at all.

      • I cannot vouch for the animations, being familiar only with the books.

        If there’s only the ones I’ve seen, the “animations” are roughly illustrations with some moving parts– like they made paper dolls or something?

      • Plus you can do birthday candles on cakes in binary for ages that would require a call to the fire department if implemented in traditional fingers-toes counting schemes.

  28. Heh.

    Just four days ago, CNN published a story about global gendercide, which, according to UN estimates, accounts for 200 million women missing in the world today, simply because they were never given the chance to be born. Four days ago, most of the feminists on Twitter were more concerned with whether a guy who landed a robot on an asteroid for the first time in history should have worn a more appropriate shirt to his press conference.

    For the greater part of this week, all attention has been focused on whether a magazine that is utterly incapable of actually banning any words in the English language or any other language, held a poll on whether a word should lose its spot in society because it has lost all meaning, thus demonstrating that a word has lost all meaning.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Banning the word “feminist” has been banned.

      • The poll responsible for banning the banning of the word “feminist” has also been banned. The poll has been completed in an entirely different style at great expense and at the last minute.

        • CombatMissionary

          Wi nøt trei a høliday in Sweden this yër? See the løveli lakes The wøndërful telephøne system And mäni interesting furry animals

          • Patrick Chester

            Like the majestic moose.

            (Sorry, don’t know enough about ASCII codes to provide the appropriate letter changes.)

  29. Sarah, thanks for this. The great freedom of the Internet is sharing your joys and peeves with like minded strangers. There are bullies trying to shut us up, but then there are always bullies so no loss.

    I for example have clamps infesting my comments today because I dared to call the Shirt Shamers on their bullshit. Typical bully.
    I’m taking the opportunity to kick his ass properly. Because it’s been a long since any of these SJW scum were dumb enough to try me, and I’ve missed beating up bullies.

    • The troll seems to love being deleted. I am happy to oblige!

      My Finger of Deletion is made of iron, and yearns to obliterate your every word.

      Please say on dear troll, that I may exercise it to its fullest capacity.


      • Seriously, thank you– I needed that. I’m laughing so hard I’ve got tears….
        (In my head, I read it with a properly epic voice, with a side of ham and scenery chewing. Win!)

          • ❤ Anime kitsune. If I'd know they existed, I'd totally have used that for a 'nym instead of going all meta about seeming strange but being harmless.

            • You need to watch “My Girlfriend Is A Gumiho” on Netflix. You will laugh, you will cry, you will really wonder what “noona” means.

            • I dunno, I’ve always visualized ‘you’ in my head as an animestyle fox girl with a cowboy hat, checked cotton shirt, denim skirt with fringe and cowboy boots. With blond hair, fox ears and tail.

              …may have to draw it someday.

            • Funny thing, for some reason, I think thanks to the font, I dyslexify (totally a word) your ‘nym as “foxifier” As in something that turns things into foxes.

              • I tend to think of her as FoxFifer, who would either be a fox that plays the fife, or one who fifes for foxes. (Imagine what Dr. Seuss could do with that line.)

              • I always pronounce it as Fox-fahr. Since I believe she said it was originally an intentional misspelling when she was a kid, to avoid parental scrutiny, I’m guessing there isn’t really a ‘proper’ way to pronounce it.

                • Foxfire(?)

                  • Yes.

                    My mom was having a fit trying to find a cousin’s phone number to get dad’s uncle’s address, and I told her I could find it.

                    Thirty seconds later she’s looking at his address, full name and phone number, and the house he hadn’t lived in since his wife died.

                    Ten minutes later I have agreed enough times that she believes I am taking her seriously that I will only use pseudonyms online. She’s still scared silly. Even after I showed her that there were over a dozen folks with my identical name, and none of them were me… so I obeyed.

                    I thought my brother’s Magic Card for “Foxfire” was pretty, and the quote seemed fitting– “only a fool fears foxfire.”

                    Now I can’t remember if the correct spelling was already taken (there’s a guy in Russia who uses it, now, but I don’t know if he was around yet; as best I can tell from randomly running into his stuff, we’re about the same age) or if I didn’t want to be confused with the book series, so I spelled it differently and I hate adding random Ys to names.

                    Phonetically, “ier” is the same as “ire,” so I switched that.

                    • Oh, and my so terrifying resource that provided dad’s uncle’s information?

                      Online phone book.

                      I think it was an early version of “AnyWho.”

                      It’s just that we were three states away and mom was still having issues with the idea of computers talking to each other when they’re not in the same room.

                    • How long ago was that?

                      I mean, it’s much worse now.

                    • About a week after we got dial up– roughly two decades.

                      It’s worse, but it’s also better– in part because I was obeying my mom and flatly making things up when a resource asked for information it had no right to and wouldn’t take no for an answer, I have yet to find any information site that’s correct about my details.

                      Good heavens, one says I was married to my brother and HE was stationed in California! I have no idea where most of it came from.

                    • Thought it was something like that; also if you remember I was flipping the words around in my head calling you Firefox.


                    • You and many others. *sigh* When that came out, I actually tried using it for a while, just because of the name.

                    • Or a super secret Russian jet aircraft that needs to be stolen by Clint Eastwood.


                    • Or a cool, but not cutting edge series of books about Appalaichan Americans. 😛

                    • “Foxifire” and “FoxyFire” are also common manglings; for some reason folks who are trolling really like to start calling me “Foxi”… while addressing me as male. WTF?

                    • A couple of times I caught myself adding an L.



                    • Also popular– isn’t that a “drone” (remote controlled airplane) company?

                    • Could be, but was more just adding to different words together in my brain; Fox & Flier.

                      Silly brain.


                    • I must have a broom company in the DST universe called The Fox Flier.

                    • It’s not a broom, it’s a plane! Or a prize-winning kite.

                    • A train line.

                    • Don’t forget – in her Darkship universe, “Broom” is the nickname of narrow antigrav flying devices intended as emergency bailout safety equipment for flying machines.

                    • “Or a super secret Russian jet aircraft that needs to be stolen by Clint Eastwood.”

                      I have the book that movie was based on in my TBR pile. Having never read anything by the author, I have no idea if it will be any good or not.

                    • Book?

                      Crap! Like I needed another book to add to my TBR pile.


                    • Another sign of “our people: is that the number of books in our TBR piles exceeds the number of books* in the average American household.

                      According to a May 2007 “Report to the Community” by the Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs, CO (

                    • 40?! That’s — that’s it?

                      I’ve got more books than that on single subjects…

                    • Apparently a regular customer at our church’s annual book sale is a builder/home designer who always buys any encyclopedia sets that come in. As props. His clients buy houses with bookshelves built in, and need something to put in them. It boggles my mind.

                    • I have heard tell of people (certainly none of my people, but apparently people nae the less) having interior decorators order books in assorted fine bindings by the yard to give their bookcases a “proper” appearance. As in: “I want fifteen yards of hardbound books, assorted colors and fabrics, not less than 65% leather with 33% in red, 30% blue, 15% each brown and various shades of green, the rest in assorted other colors.”

                      I can sorta vaguely imagine people hiring somebody to select the “right sort” of books for their shelving to give visitors a “proper impression” of the owner as literate, artistic, learned or whatever, but it entails the same sort of creepy feelings one gets upon hearing somebody describe their sexual “conquests” by hair color and anatomical size of specific body parts.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      There was a humorous “aside” in Walter Jon Williams’ _The Crown Jewels_. This was a humorous SF take on the “Gentleman Thief” theme set on a human-settled world. In it, we hear this description of a high-class rental home with finely bounded books. However, since the property owners found that the renters sometimes “walked off” with the books, they stocked the book shelves with finely bounded books that nobody would want to read let alone “walk off” with. [Very Big Evil Grin]

                    • *shakes head* And these are the kind of folks who sneer at Reader’s Digest or Fantasy Club collections stacked next to classic westerns. My grandparents’ library may have been inexpensive, but they read it.

                    • And here I feel embarrassed that I’ve only got a few hundred lying around.

                    • 40? 40 books? I have more than 40 books in my house that I don’t know where they CAME FROM!

                    • I’ve got more than that on my phone….. heck, my KIDS have more books than that, and that’s not counting the duplicates. (I think their most advanced is “Dragons Love Tacos.”)

                    • I have that many on my bedside table, not counting the kindle. Yeah, I know, but I have middle-of-night insomnia…

                    • Keep in mind that this is an average — If you base it on a per 100, for every household owning 1K books, that means there are 99 owning 30.

                    • CombatMissionary

                      When it comes to the “You’ve got too much” argument, books is always the first thing my wife brings up. 🙂

                    • My mom once had a mini fit on finding I’d boxed clothes and put them in the attic and had filled the wardrobe with books. She threw them into the middle of the neighbor’s field. It still hurts.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        “Iron Finger of Deletion” must become a thing. 🙂

      • Patrick Chester

        It’s like that Bugs Bunny short where Yosemite Sam keeps falling into the same hole over and over.

    • he needs kicking.
      They’ve been exceptionally dumb recently.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Sweet merciful crap. Clamps is a one man infestation.

  30. Incidentally, your post aligns with my theory that Aspies invented the Modern World. If it wasn’t for us, Europe would still be floundering about under Feudalism and the Chinese would still be using gunpowder for fireworks.

    • But everybody is still using gunpowder for fireworks.


    • CombatMissionary

      And here I thought it was us ADD-riddled people. 😀


      Nah. I learned long ago that it’s not the tippy-tip of the bell curve, but the near-top types with solid social skills and masses and masses of self-discipline and drive that are the keystones for “building civilization”. Otherwise known as “how my dad helped build the nuclear navy”. I suspect we Augsburger’s types didn’t help build the modern world, but once there was enough of a modern world to make our survival and reproduction likely, we make it a lot more interesting.

      Hey. I read A Little Princess at a formative age :-). Smart is great, but like strength its just part of the genetic lottery. Cultural capital and virtue are where you want to put your money.

      • Not all Aspergers are brilliant. The ones who aren’t have it worse.

      • I have often thought that of all the possible super-powers I could select, likability would be a good one. A likable person with moderate intelligence can achieve far more than an unlikable genius.

        The ability to hold a team together, to get everybody pulling their oars in unison, to spread oil on the troubled waters is not to be lightly dismissed.

        A bar manager I once knew had that ability in spades and never had any trouble with drunks. He’d just slip an arm around the drunk’s shoulder, walk him out the door and wish him a good night and the drunk would be happy to be doing John a good turn.

  31. Hmmm…Jewel ATerafin from Michelle West’s Sun Sword series (and subsequent, which I haven’t gotten a chance to read) and her habit of gathering the misfits/outcasts of society around herself springs to mind.

  32. Hey, look! Somebody fixed that offending shirt for Dr. Taylor:

  33. “The best way to find us is in elementary. Other kids instinctively know that we’re different which in their minds is “wrong”. They are in touch enough with their instincts (something we don’t seem to be good at, btw) that they want to “kill the stranger.” Most of us were bullied, ostracized or hated in the playground, no matter how we learned to deal with it later”
    You know, that scene in Ender’s game, in elementary school where it was kill or be killed? That resonated with me so much when I read it the books later in highschool.

    I actually had one or two fight or be killed moments in 2nd grade. The whys of it never made any sense to me until much later.

    In elementary school, prior to third grade, I didn’t fit in at all. The school administration was busy trying to figure out how to fix me or get me committed to a mental hospital. Neurologists were having a field day putting me on all sorts of extremely weird drugs to try to make me more normal and less intense. (Seriously, some of those were scary. Have you ever had your inhibitions turned completely off before? No filter whatsoever between every stray thought that percolates up from your lizard brain and just hauling off and doing it? (shudder) It was like watching a nightmare where you couldn’t stop yourself from doing crazy things.)

    I think it was after some doctor shaved my head to attach some series of electrodes so that they could monitor my brain activity during a normal day that everyone else around me flipped from “he’s insufferable” to “he’s too different and needs to die.” After that, two sixth graders who were twice as tall/massive as me would try to kill me in the bathrooms. Literally. The first time, I was found before they could suffocate me in the toilet. After that, my parents told me that it didn’t matter how much trouble I would get in (and every single one of these incidents lead to wall to wall screaming sessions with the school principal), I had to fight back. So I did. (Not claiming I did *well*, but I managed to incapacitate one and hold the other off long enough that the screaming and banging couldn’t be ignored by the teacher right outside in the hallway anymore.)

    The principal wanted me expelled. It was the last straw – 6th grade bullies beating on 2nd graders was normal. 2nd graders, especially *weird ones* fighting back, no holds barred, was some violation of the natural order. My parents managed to pull me and get me transferred to another school, where life started to get much better.

    • Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve heard this story from way to many people. Let me just say that Home Schooling is your friend. I believe I would cheerfully live on welfare if I had to, in order to home school a child of mine. It would be Worth It, and the kid would grow to be a Wolfhound surrounded by wiener dogs.

      Stop letting these pricks torture your kids.

      • Don not mock wiener dogs — they were bred to beard badgers in their dens and, psi, have the most powerful bite in the dog kingdom.

        • This is true. But the visual of a wolfhound surrounded by wiener dogs is apt.

          • Wolfhounds get along very well with wiener dogs and terriers. Albeit sometimes with terriers hanging off their chests like pendants, which for some reasons terriers are known to like to do. (It’s not really aggression, because then the terriers would be going for entirely different body parts. I guess it’s some weird dog game.)

            • It’s the whole lurcher thing, although technically lurchers are usually a sighthound/shepherd cross. Wolfhounds have been hunted in conjuction with terriers/dachshunds quite a bit through their history.

            • I live near New Hope PA, and consequently was regularly treated to one of the funniest dog interactions I’ve ever heard of. There used to be a resident, black , Great Dane of huge size, named Thor. If you were on the streets on a nice weekend day, odds were that you would get to see a small terrier-type dog yapping hysterically at Thor, while Thor looked at this apparition with his head on one side, as if to say “You’re kiddling?! I pick things bigger than you out of my teeth!”

              Sadly, Thor belonged to one of New Hope’s shadier characters, and the man disappeared between two days a while back, leaving a bunch of unpaid bill (and employees), but taking Thor with him.

              For those of you familiar with New Hope, the man was the owner of the knife and sword store that I always called “Goth-er Than Thou”.

      • Okay, I must ask this, because this has been bugging me for a while.
        Nothing like this happened to me or mine or anybody else that I know of in my school system. (There was the guy who threatened me with a knife, but that was on a Scout trip)
        Is this A. a generational thing (I was born in the early ’90s); B. an obliviousness thing (I was not the most socially aware kid); or C. I got lucky with my school system?

        • Just my opinion: You either passed enough to be acceptable, or you were fucking lucky with the school system. Obliviousness would not have spared you, especially if beatings and vandalization were common. It’s not a generational thing. The high school students of the early 2000’s were the ones who started popularizing the ‘bully someone till they killed themselves or went nuts shooting people’, I recall. It scared me, since I was raising little ones.

          I recognized I was lucky with the high school administration in the school I was in. Not sure of many places where one was allowed to defend themselves.

        • I certainly hope that the particular set of screwed up circumstances I found myself in aren’t common! (It was the early 90s, btw)

          After I transferred schools, things were far more normal. It took me a while to calm down and acheive some semblance of normality, but afterwards things were better. I just had to get away from malevolent administrators that were busy trying to convince my terrified parents that there was something hideously wrong with me, the mad (and now that I think about it, probably dubiously legal) neurology experiments, and the prison atmosphere of the previous school.

        • I’m a Boomer. School used to be a lot rougher and simultaneously a lot safer than it is now. Rougher because fighting was considered normal, and safer because fighting never went beyond pushing around and punching. No weapons, no kicking guys when they’re down, no five-on-one bullshit. Manly fighting.

          These days kids get swarmed, knifed and shot at school, despite all the super duper nanny shit school boards and teachers do. So you’re lucky, I’d say.

          Most of the problems now come from teachers and administrators IMHO. Schools are jails complete with lockdown drills, and the kids still get stabbed and shot. You don’t fit in, the system itself will grind you up, never mind the other kids. Factories for turning out hipsters who can’t read or make change, but know all about Intersectionalism and fisting.

          Home schooling. Save your kid’s life, and God forbid maybe he/she could learn something too.

          • When I was in high school back in the stone age of the early 1970’s, our principal had what I consider an ideal solution for a pair of boys getting into a fight. He’d grab each one by the arm (he was a very imposing man), and walk them to the gym. There, he’s put boxing gloves on each offender, a whislte around his neck and a stopwatch in his left hand. Did I mention he was an old boxing coach? Then he would blow the whistle to start a one minute round.

            I can tell you from experience, one minute boxing wears you out!! He’d make us go for three rounds with a 30 second break between rounds.

            • My dad had the same principal! Well probably not, but he at least had one with the same solution. When I went to school ‘solutions’ varied wildly according to which teacher caught you. Some believed in finding out whose fault it was, some believed in simply figuring out who threw the first punch (not necessarily the same) and some just punished all participants equally. Punishment also varied wildly. Most times it didn’t go to the principal, because the principal when I was a freshman was a nutty witch (spelled with a capital B) who nobody including the teachers liked or wanted to deal with, shortly after the beginning of my sophomore year she had a mental breakdown (a fact that was covered up for most of the year) and so we didn’t have a principal until partway into my junior year, and then everybody was used to dealing with things on their own, since higher authority had consisted of a vice principal on his first job out college (no I have NO idea how he got the job) who had little authority and no presence.

              • If he grew up in the West Texas towns of Garden City or Robert Lee from 1962-1984, he just might have had him……..

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                In High School, Mr. Fields the Dean of *Men* handled such matters. While I don’t know how he’d handled two guys wanting to fight, I know he didn’t book nonsense like “we didn’t know why Paul got upset at us”.

        • I would say it’s likely a combination of B and C. If you got lucky with the school system, the obliviousness would have enabled you to not notice the lower level of attempted abuse that was directed at you.

          My own kids benefited from both, but also from being bigger than almost everyone else in their age group.

        • You got lucky.

        • You wouldn’t be likely to hear anything about it if someone was threatened, unless it couldn’t be hushed– I got stabbed with a chisel and was so sure it was my fault, somehow, that my mom didn’t even hear about it.*

          For the luck angle, there’s also the effect of Parents Who Will Make A Scene. If there is a high enough risk of having a parent come in and throw a ring tailed fit for their child being criminally assaulted by another student, they will behave accordingly.
          Each parent of a criminal who is willing to do the same counters that effect, though, and frequently it changes with the guy in charge. We got a new principle when I was very small and assaulted, during recess, but a known bully. He tried to expel me for trying to kick loose. That did not fly, and my mom is really, really scary.

          This effect is behind the ongoing push for schools to not have to involve the police for attempted murder. Because it will “ruin the life” of the guy who just tried to maim another student. Apparently having your head repeatedly slammed in a door doesn’t damage your life at all…. (an actual event from two years ago, family friend)

          *I looked at the blood, grabbed it from him and smacked the gun in the hand with it, so it never happened again– but I was sure that it was my fault for not doing what he’d told me to do, somehow, and what I now known was the teacher not wanting to be fired for not supervising us when the tools weren’t secured made me sure of it. I liked pretty much anybody that didn’t try to hurt me directly, so I didn’t realize how feckless the teacher was for ages.

          • There’s a new wrinkle. Apparently this administration is pushing really hard for “proportional punishment of races.” And it’s not proportional to their levels int he population, it’s “discipline three black kids, discipline three white ones” PERIOD even if in the school white people are a minority (they were at my kids’ middle school.) It’s unbelievably bad, but if they don’t follow it they risk being sued for racial “discrimination.”
            If you can, don’t send the kids into public school. Period.

            • I think that’s a back door attempt to bolster the “if you arrest more of X demographic, it’s evidence of discrimination” claims. They started after the schools up here in Seattle after they tried that on the police, with jaywalkers outside of a school.

              Then that little cop that was mobbed, shoved hard by a teenage girl (bigger than him), and laid her flat with a punch got a ton of attention… and hey, what do you know, the kids that were jaywalking were mostly minorities. As were the kids who’d been hit by cars, which is WHY they were having emphasis patrols on jaywalking outside of that school, and why the skywalk the kids were under was installed. (at great expense, before the last accident or two)

              Even the idiots up here couldn’t claim a guy in the middle of a proto-mob was being racist to hit back.

    • I absolutely cannot imagine how ballistic my Father would have gone if something like that happened to me. They would have had to get the Priciple off the walls of his office with a sponge. Not that my Father would have struck the insufferable idiot, he just would have hit him with the kind of military grade scorn that made him the terror of the Campus Liberals everywher he ever taught.

      In fact, that is something that has baffled me for years about present day public education. Inkeep reding about schools where, by policy, everyone in a fight gets punished, no matter who started it. How the pluperfect hell can that possibly last past the first time a parent with any spine runs into it?

      • ” How the pluperfect hell can that possibly last past the first time a parent with any spine runs into it?”

        Teachers Unions.

        Well that is actually only a partial answer. What happens is the teachers unions protect those teachers (and administrators) they deem worthy. Parents still have some pull, so what happens is that when a parent with a spine runs into it, and goes down there to explain in words of two syllables or less exactly what will happen if things don’t change… well there is an exception made for that parents child, rather than changing the rules, they just make an exception for that child. Since they are likely already making exceptions for a certain number of other students (children of teachers, members of the school board, others with pull) this makes perfect sense to them. And depending on how petty they are, or how badly the parent scared/embarrassed them, they may leave the kid strictly alone, or they may take it out on the kid in subtler, pettier ways.

        Generally the parent doesn’t hear about it, or very little about it, as long as their child isn’t a victim of it. Or if their child does mention about poor Johnnie getting booted out for getting in a fight he didn’t start, they either think they don’t know the whole story, or figure it is Johnnie’s parents responsibility to go down to the school and raise holy heck, after all they did for their kid.

        • It’s a pity there aren’t more school communities like the one that surrounded the school I grew up in. One year (I may have mentioned this before) the Gods of chance and bile sent us a new Principle who was JUST out of some kind of advanced Ed School program, and terribly full of himself (herself? Don’t recall). He was a condescending prat, who apparently did no research on the professions common in the district. He consequently told several working Professors (four colleges in the immediate area) that HE was a Teaching Professional (™) and knew better than they did.

          A bunch of College Professor parents visited him in a body and told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to “pursue other opportunities” at the end of the semester.

  34. To being an us, for once, instead of a them! Thanks for speaking up for those of us who are “others.”

  35. They need us more than we need them.

    That’s why they pay attention to us, because HOW DARE WE NOT NEED THEM?!

    Thanks Sarah.

    • There’s a more insidious level. WE actually are the kind of Fee Spirit Original Thinkers (™) that certain groups of “normals” fondly believe themselves to be. The Western Intellectual establishment contains damn few people who actually do that much thinking. The Art World (™) (which Tom Wolfe called “Cultureburg” with a certain brutal accuracy) does not contain very many skilled and inspired craftsmen and goddamned few actual Artists – or stupid little jokes like Andres Serrano’s PISS CHRIST wouldn’t get any attention whatsoever. The myth that the Intellectuals are the social rebels, fearlessly speaking Truth to Power (as opposed to Pablum to the Choir), and so forth holds up only so long as they don’t actually run into an Odd. And then all their carefully built Superiority starts to crumble, because they are really just one more tiresome orthodoxy.

      I was blessed among Odds. My Parents were Odds, and both Grandfathers were too (weirdly, neither Grandmother seems to have been, and both appear to have spent a lot of time worrying “What will the Neighbors Think”). I’m a third generation Odd, and grew up fairly secure in my Oddity. Oh, I got bullied, and my Father’s attempts to be supportive (while appreciated at the time) didn’t do a lot of good. But I’m big, and so by 7th grade bullying the oddball bookworm could have unpleasant consequences. I suppose if a bunch of them had ever made a dead set on me, I’d have been stomped. But I don’t know; maybe my temper (which my Father also had) convinced them that I would go Ape Man a lot faster than they would. Anyway, I’d have to pick one tiresome little twit up by his neck and bang his head against a wall, and that would be it for the year, mostly.

      Y’see; my Mother studied at RADA (that’s Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts). My Father once held the Lynn Thorndike POrofessorship for the History of Magic and Experimental Science. My maternal Grandfather spent the latter part of his life trying to reconcile the sunspot cycle with the stock market (his work still gets referenced from time to time when the Market does something strange). My Paternal Grandfather was a Methodist Minister (which may sound non-odd) with the Call (I’ve met several people with calls; they’ve all been Odds).

      The Intellectual Orthodoxy never did figure out what do to with either of my Parents; they learned that they fat out couldn’t out-stubborn Mother on any issue of principle, and they were outright terrified of Father. HE was an actual scholar, who could support his arguments with citations and everything, whereas they were (mostly) pathetic poseurs trying to get by in Academia with the minimum of mentation.

      I find the Western Intellectual Liberals fairly contemptible. They don’t think, as such. They don’t actually manage to repeat what is taught to them with any startling accuracy, and they certainly don’t understand it (not that it is often anything but gibberish). The Conservative Establishment deals with Odds somewhat better. Which isn’t to say they still will when they get the upper hand, though they certainly had the upper hand in the Depression era southwest, and their reaction to Grandfather Schofield was to lionize him.

      What a society of Odds would be like, I don’t know. I’m not completely convinced it would GO; we are too distractible to be good sterilizers of bottles, or repairers of the trivial but commonplace. Day to day Public Service (even the minimal type that would be left after we chased all the buttinskis up a tree) would bore us to death. We are, I think, symbiotes .

      The Western Intellectual Liberals, OTOH, are parasites.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        The name Schofield sounds familiar. What was his full name?

        • Robert E. Schofield was my Father; author of MECHANISM AND MATERIALISM, and THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF JOSEPH PRIESTLY among others. Grandfather was Charles Edwin Schofield, president of the Iliff School of Theology from 1943-1942.

          Either of those sound familiar?

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Actually, I appear to be thinking of Scofield. [Smile]

          • When I saw your username the first time, I’ll admit my mind went to he hero of Matthew Reilly’s Scarecrow series of books. (They’re fantastic fun. Think John Woo and Michael Bay, deciding to write books instead of explosive action sequences.)

            • I’ll have to check them out, they do sound fun. I’ll take my Father and Grandfather as they were, though; they were cool.

              In the 1920’s the Southern Methodists had a convention in Nashville. The hotel didn’t want to give the Black ministers rooms. My Grandfather was among the deputation that went to explain to the manager that he could give the Black ministers there rooms, or he could pack up and leave, because the Hotel leased the land from the Synod of Southern Methodists.

              My Father held a chair in the History of Magic and Experimental Science. ‘Nuff said.

              • I have such a huuuuge grin on my face right now. History of Magic and Experimental Science?! That must be awesome to read about!

                • It can be. for example; the history of Alchemy and the transmutation of base metals into gold;

                  Some ancient metalsmith is ordered to make a large gold thingumbob. He doesn’t have enough gold, and doesn’t want to disappoint the Kink (never a good idea). At the time the definition of Gold is, lets say, a malleable yellow metal. He tales some brass and does whatever to it, resulting an a malleable yellow metal. He’s “made” gold.. That’s handy; so he records it.

                  A couple of generations pass. The definition of gold has gotten more sophisticated. Along comes a philosopher (or maybe another metalsmith) and finds this old recipe. But it doesn’t work; the malleable yellow metal it makes isn’t gold, by the current definition. But the old metalsmith was clearly convinced he had made gold. So the Philosopher monkeys with the recipe, and manages to make a metal that matches the newer definition of gold. Obviously the old metalsmith kept that part a secret, to be handed down from Master to Apprentice, and not written down. The Philosopher records the experience, including his speculation about the “secret tradition”.

                  A couple of generations pass. the process repeats itself. And again. So you end up with a long litany of formulas for making “gold”, all of which (except the first) make reference to a “secret tradition”, when what has really been happening is that the definition of gold has been changing.

                  History of science researched by scientists will miss this, because they have to background in the study of history. A chemist writing about early chemistry will be baffled by all the “wrong” answers his subjects keep coming up with, because he doesn’t think in historical terms and this has never given any thought to the effects of doing chemical experiments in a city heated with soft coal (lots of carbon contamination). Similarly, the Historian doesn’t understand enough science to tell the story without fumbling it.

                  • That’s actually really fascinating, as an insight to what gave rise to modern science and experimentation and esoteric learning. Be great stuff for worldbuilding!

                    Are there any books on the subject you’d recommend? I’d be quite interested in reading more.

                    • The thing is, I got most of what I know from dinner table conversation, over fifty years. My Father’s books focus on the natural philosophers of 18th century England; THE LUNAR SOCIETY OF BIRMINGHAM, MECHANISM AND MATERIALISM, and his two volume biography of Joseph Priestly. No quite what I think you are after, and while I found my Father’s style fairly easy to read, it gets thick. He was writing for other scholars, and assuming a LOT of background knowledge. His writing can make you believe you understand what he is saying while you read it, and it will increase your knowledge base, but you end up with gaps that an undergrad course or two would have filled.

                      But there is a fair amount of good history of science / history of technology out there. David McCullough wrote two of the best slam-bang Hugo Gernsback “How we built the space station and conquered Mars” SF novels I’ve ever read … and they are factual accounts of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Panama Canal (THE GREAT BRIDGE and THE PATH BETWEEN THE SEAS respectively). There are a lot of good storytellers, and even the Political Correctness bug can’t keep them from getting published, because the Politically Correct seldom have enough background to recognize what is subversive of their POV.

                      If anything occurs to me, I’ll get back to you.

                    • I might look to see if I can get my hands on them anyway, since the difference is knowing when it’s written for a general audience versus a scholarly one. *makes note of the book titles*

                      Thank you =)

      • Fee Spirit Original Thinkers (™), Sounds good, no original thought without a fee or some spirits.

      • “…I think, symbiotes .

        The Western Intellectual Liberals, OTOH, are parasites.”


  36. Pingback: Standing Guard | T.L. Knighton

  37. I’ve been lurking for a few months, but this time I felt something a bit more. Never understood that viciousness from other kids up until about college age when it dropped into the background, but the ‘us’ experience has been rare. It’s a pleasure to know that there are other enclaves where if I were to wander into the nth corner there’d be someone to talk to! (and t’s been too long since I’ve kippled – must find that book again.)

  38. hmm – moderate my name out of that? 🙂
    Just realized I used the wrong email and would prefer not to have my ‘actual name’ shown – correcting email

  39. I wonder sometimes if I was “born Odd” and being an army brat and moving around a lot taught me to become a chameleon, so I managed to get by in life with very little bullying that I remember – or if I was “born Normal” and became Odd through having all sorts of experiences that most people don’t.

    Then again, being a fairly cute girl probably helped there some. I got taken under a lot of wings. I was a bit of a teacher’s pet too, which is typically a double-pronged privilege. The teachers who liked me best, though, were almost certainly Odds. And those who hated me on sight were probably militantly Normal. (With one exception. I just get the impression she had to have been an Odd. There was an English teacher in college who failed me. My only grade below a B in English my entire career. I think she took it personally that I wasn’t interested in the books she was so enthusiastic about.)

  40. 😀

  41. I’ve long thought about getting a CafePress account just to make a shirt for this crew. Plain black, with very large white letters that say “Odd” maybe with a period, I dunno. Maybe I could do both and people could factionalize like the Sneeches.

  42. Hello. My name is Susan and I am an odd.

    It feels so good to say that and not have to apologize. Or explain why I can’t just be “normal”. But anyway, Ms. Hoyt I have some of your books and enjoy them very much. I was always the weirdo girl in the corner reading weirdo books and loved SF and fantasy from the first time I read stories like that. But I hadn’t read much of it for years because it wasn’t fun, interesting, or science-y any more and was all preachy and stuff.

    Bleh! So I took up knitting and crochet.

    But someone I was showing my crochet trebuchet to gave me Darkship Thieves and Hooray! The SF I remembered was back!

    Thank you for writing “normal” regular SF and not that dreck that passes for it now.

  43. Professor Badness

    Thank You Sarah,
    Being an Odd for many years, it almost brings tears to my eyes to know that I was not alone. It is true that grade school is probably the hardest point for those of us that are intrinsically different.
    But I consider myself blessed to have had books as friends at that point. My mother and all of my siblings were huge into reading, (even my adrenaline junky brother liked to read), and they passed that love on to me. Though, what I read would often be wildly inappropriate for my age, (i.e. Robert R. McCammon novels in third grade). That freaked out a couple of teachers before I learned to keep it too myself.
    But my narrative doesn’t seem to follow the same one you’ve described as an adult. Instead of remaining socially awkward, I consciously learned social cues. I would practice conversations in my own head, until I eventually became good at it.
    Now my job is in customer service, and i don’t mind saying that I’m really good with people. What’s more, I enjoy it.
    Did this happen to any of the rest of you? Or am I strange for learning how to act mainstream as an adult? (Or at least how to interact with normals.)
    I’ll get back to the chainmail dicebag I’m making. I’m trying to decide if I should make a cloth liner or not.
    I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts.

    • Eh, I’ve done customer service quite a bit. I learned how to fake it well enough that I was one of the customers’ favorite techs on the helpdesk, but I don’t really enjoy it.

      On the other hand, I never really got over being socially awkward, I just learned how to handle a limited number of situations, with the ability to vary them to meet the specifics of the moment. As for everyday interactions, while I’m better than I was at, say, 15, and I do OK in one-on-one conversations, I’m still uncomfortable around groups of people, even small groups.

      In online discussions, where i can take all the time I want to figure out how to say what I want to say, I do far better.

    • One vote for putting a liner in the dice bag. Otherwise, your dice are going to look like gerbil toys.

  44. For anyone who’s interested, The Phantom takes on another egregious SJW idiot over the Shirtstorm foolery.

    Pointing at Enemies of Freedom and laughing.

    • From “I am Woman, Hear me Roar” to “I am Woman, He made me Blub” in a generation. Depressing.

      • Yeah, it’s depressing. From ‘fighting to be free of the fainting couch’ to the absolute necessity of the fainting couch.

        The classic feminists would have been appalled. Hell, I think the Grand Old Dames of the Victorian era would have been quite censorious of the embarrassing spectacles these ‘women’ have been comporting themselves as. Rightly so. I mean, where do they get the idea that they’re ‘better’ than the women of old? The women of old were badass with spines.

  45. You have officially be named as my faviodite web essayist for this and your most recent piece. Thank you. It’s a pleasure to read your effortless and wisely hopeful prose.

  46. CombatMissionary

    If the Normals leave us well enough alone, they may get the stars.

    If they don’t leave us alone, they’ll end up getting decimated by… who knows? Fusion-powered, ion-propulsed, blaster-wielding (dual wielding), armored hedgehogs with genetically-created psychic unjammable communications systems.

    And, of course, the requisite trebuchets and scrap-flinging railguns. Because COOL.

    Because the Odds are the ones who create everything cool.

    Normals DON’T WANT to mess with an alliance between the Aspies and the ADDers.

    • “If they don’t leave us alone, they’ll end up getting decimated by… who knows? Fusion-powered, ion-propulsed, blaster-wielding (dual wielding), armored hedgehogs with genetically-created psychic unjammable communications systems. “And, of course, the requisite trebuchets and scrap-flinging railguns. Because COOL.”

      Don’t be teasing. No one likes a tease.

      • And the hedgehogs will have laser eyes. And they will not set them to stun.

        • CombatMissionary

          Should we send the full-auto crew-served poo flingers with them, or let the Simian Soldier Squads be held in reserve? 🙂

        • CombatMissionary

          “Sir, does the emperor realize who he’s gotten us into a war with? That’s an army of white wolves!”
          “What do you mean?”
          “Sir, everyone in that army has spent their whole lives having to outsmart and outright the normals just to survive. It’s not that they’re so tough, it’s that picking people’s brains apart gives them the same euphoric response as cocaine does to a normal. Not to mention learning about science and technology. They have unparalleled knowledge of infrastructure. They can improvise weapons literally from chicken manure. Survival is a game to them. They know how to avoid fights until they can take advantage of situations and multiply their forces.”
          “So, they’re the perfect guerrilla warriors. They blend in, know where, when and how to hit us, think outside the box…”
          “Why hasn’t this been a problem in the past?”
          “Well, as long as society left them the Hell alone, it wasn’t a problem. But once they find moral justification for killing, they’re as cold and methodical as Ted Bundy. He’ll, in normal situations, they make great soldiers, although they have about as much use for rank structure and regs as they do for a solar powered flashlight. They typically view compliance with them as some form of Kabuki, because they usually have more knowledge and are smarter than their leadership. Simply put, they have a real problem with authority. About a third of the males and a tenth of the females we’re facing are prior Military and spend most of their lives thinking of ways to carry out a guerrilla campaign that they’ve simply never had a reason to execute until now. At this point, they’ve probably taken old Louis L’amour novels about Indian fighting, coupled it with their technical skills and intuitive sociological nature and have figured out how to defeat us already. A little knowledge goes a VERY long way with these people, and they tend to be hyper paranoid to boot. In the old days, we used to use them very heavily in our intelligence agencies for all these reasons.”
          “Ok, but what about the trebuchets? How’d they build them so fast?”
          “Oh, those? Most Odds are just enthusiasts. They had those laying around long before the war even started. I’m telling you, the emperor has stuck his reproductive equipment in a hornet’s nest on this one!”

          I move for the White Wolf to be the official mascot of the Odds.

          • An alternative conversation (though I’m down with the White Wolf suggestion):

            “Sir, have you ever seen the old TV show MacGuyver?”

            “I think so. It was about a guy who could improvise just about anything, right?”

            “Yes. We are facing a million MacGuyvers who are not, repeat NOT, pacifists.”

            “Oh, shit.”

            • CombatMissionary

              “Note to self… send Wayne Blackburn a gift basket of upvotes, summer sausage and cheddar, plus a new soldering iron, with note included saying how awesome that analogy was…”

            • “Tt’s worse, sir– they’ve probably written wikis on what was left out of MacGuyver episodes, just because they got curious. Cross referenced with Stargate: SG1 and TV Tropes.”

              “…What is that in English?”

              “More oh shit.”

              • CombatMissionary

                As Holly once said, “It’s brown trousers time.”

                • The funny thing is, I’m pretty sure we’ve all done the “huh, I wonder if that would actually work?” “Alright, that wouldn’t work… what would make it work?” thing.

                  I hadn’t really thought about how it made us dangerous…..

                  • CombatMissionary

                    I once explained in detail to my commander how to bypass a multi million dollar piece of defense equipment to inflict mass casualties on our forces using a technology that’s over a century old and can be found in any moderately advanced piece of electronics, then built for less than $5.
                    “How did you learn this?”
                    “I didn’t. I just asked myself how I’d bypass this if it was me. Then my brain wouldn’t shut off until I figured it out. I had like three sleepless nights.”
                    Not the first time a commander has told me, “Glad you’re on our side.” 😀

                • You see a MacGuyver/Stargate reference and raise it a Red Dwarf????

                  My compliments, sir.

  47. He could always make a proof of concept design for Robot Wars

  48. “Have your people call my people; they’ll do lunch.” — Robin Williams

  49. HT: Powerline The Week in Pictures:

    Global Warming awesomeness