On Marrying Odd


As the wedding ceremony finished up, I found the song going through my head was not in fact Sunrise Sunset, but Miracle of Miracles (also from Fiddler on the Roof.) Which — I’ll note — also went through my mind at MY wedding.

If you’re Odd, you often partner late or compromise about it, or not at all.

This is mostly because, to quote mom (on younger son, but we’ll extend it) “the world is not made for us.”

The fact that we’re Odd means we’re not, by definition, average. There are therefore, statistically, fewer available partners for us.  Add to that that a lot of us first knew rejection on the playground.  Comparing elementary school histories, husband and I came to the conclusion the way to find the young Odds might be to observe a buy playground. The kids balancing on a low wall, a tiny ledge around a flower bed, or whatever, while completely alone will probably grow up to be one of us.  (Elementary was a little different, as I invented LARP (well, I’d never heard of it) wrote the scripts and had my very small class playing it.  When I went to the bigger middle school, though, I did a lot of flower bed edge walking/balancing.  Unless I could find a corner to hunker down and read.

I got very upset at a colleague who accepted his son’s diagnostic as autistic, as far as I could tell “because none of the kids in kindergarten like him.”  I mean, I’m willing to admit a lot of us are or ping on the spectrum, though I’m assured younger son and I are almost anti-autistic, in that we relate so well.  (You could say learned.) But we’re still profoundly introverted, so people tend to leave us alone, possibly because we’re glaring at them without realizing it. Certainly because we’re giving off “leave me alone, in my hamster ball of solitude.”

Even if we’re fairly normal, most of us seem to have limited, small-group of friends.

It could be because we’re weird.  On that, we also many of them come from cuckoo’s egg families. I’m assured by psychologists that it’s not that our parents are normal as such, but they’ve learned to fake it and might no longer remember their childhood. (They say our quirks, from IQ to social presentation are in the main inherited. Mutations happen, but not often.  I’m not sure I buy it, as I know families that throw out geniuses and morons.  But I’ve also seen people learn to “pass” over the years until they, themselves aren’t aware they’re not average.  Which is why identification is best done before High School.)  So often parents and siblings are completely bewildered by us, and teach us that there is no one like us, we belong alone and why even look?

My MIL and my SIL said at some point that they introduced me to husband because they didn’t understand more than a word in three that either of us said, and because we were both interested in weird things like parallel worlds and space exploration.  Oh, and we both read science fiction.  Well… I read it, he watched it.  Take heart children, mixed marriages can work! The reported thought was “OMG, here’s a girl who might get him.  Let’s introduce them. He’ll never marry otherwise.”  They were probably wrong, as when I entered the lists 4 years later, he was being pursued by several NON ODD women.

Which a lot of us “settle” for.  Well, not necessarily women. Just normal.

The end results are mixed. As with everything else, it depends on the temperament of your normal spouse.  If she views your oddity as a bad thing and spends the marriage trying to change you, it will end — or worse continue — in tears.

Often even happy “mixed” marriages leave the Odd feeling very lonely, unless he finds a group (real and virtual) like this to hang out with.

The thing is that most Odd marriages throughout history were of this kind. I mean, try to compute how many of us there would be in say a village of a few hundred.

It had an advantage of sorts, in that it kept mixing the genes back into the pool.  As Dave Freer told me, years ago now, it’s a good thing for any social group or species to have “goats” which is what I call odds:i.e. members who don’t quite fit in, try new things, explore new paths (and new diets.) But it’s not good for us to go so far from the INSTINCTIVE socialization of our kind that we have trouble communicating across the divide.

Because it’s possible, you know?

What I mean is that you kids have it easy, with your internets, your blogs, your fan groups.  You can meet people just as odd as you, strike a friendship, marry, often across the country or the world.

Sure, my generation had started doing that (Kate Paulk and I are prime examples of this, marrying our husbands across the world, after a largely long-distance courtship.) but it was all expensive phones, and cumbersome post.  You guys can have virtually free Skype, with cameras even.

My prediction is that many more of us will actually marry each generation, and that many of us will marry Odd.  Whether this leads to speciation, search me.  Since most of us on this blog seem to have a high component of Neanderthal, it has occurred to me that perhaps this is the Neanderthal genetic come back, aka “Neanderthal resurgence, this time it’s serious.” Yes, I’m mostly joking. And if we speciated it would take a long time.  Though a completely separate culture, even if online, might go a long way to mimicking that AND speeding it up as well.

But it will never be that easy or simple. Because we’re harder to partner than the average person.  And Odd women particularly so, as I have a notion we scare the living daylights out of normal men. I’ve seen it in action.

So, one son married, one to go G-d willing, with a following wind and his finding someone suitable. (Almost EE, ME and ASE engineer, free to a good woman! No, seriously. All that’s required is that she be kind to him.)

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles.

This ties in with cozy mysteries — don’t ask — where I’ve been reading a lot of them.  And running into things like characters saying “We’d get married someday, but I’m still young” from characters who are about 30.  And those are largely “normal” (average) characters.

I’ve been worried about this for a long time.  For the new generation, it really looks like 30 is the new 20, and they’re finally ready to sort of, kind of face adulthood.  “But not yet, we’re still young.”

This of course is true, because life expectancy keeps increasing, particularly active/functional life span.

OTOH there is one little hard fact we come up against: Women’s fertility starts to go sour around 30 to 35, depending on the woman, and drops off a cliff around 40.  One way to stop it happening is an early (like 18) pregnancy and birth, but we surely can’t require everyone do that.  To be clear, if you have a baby early, you stay fertile longer.  No one is sure why, but I’m told this is known in animal husbandry.

The other problem, particularly for Odds is that for those of us with math brains (yes, defeated by digit dyslexic, but absent that that’s how test) is that both men and women have a higher chance of autistic offspring after about 35. (We used to think this made no difference for men. Turns out it does. No, I can’t find the studies, anymore.)

Which means despite all the advantages of internet, etc, people are marrying later, having fewer kids, and Odds tend to marry later than normals.

What to do about it?  No clue. Maybe at some point there will be a drug that mimics that early pregnancy (I don’t know. The pill doesn’t do it.)

There have also been advances in freezing eggs and even one’s ovary.  There seem to be some advantages to the second in terms of prolonging fertility, but it’s still very expensive.  If it had existed in my time, and I’d known how negotiated my fertility would be, I might have tried it.  It would give us a chance at more.  If I were a young odd right now, still unmarried, and had the money?  I’d surely do it.

Because the one thing I know is that they’ll need Odds in the future.  They’ll need normal people, too.  The future belongs to those who show up.

Ignore the idiots who say that we have too many people. No, rat experiments don’t apply to humans. No, we’re not overwhelming the environment. Only a big-city-dweller would believe that.  And Europeans should be aware that they have a countryside that’s getting emptier and emptier, and that still, compared to America, they’re crowded, even in the semi-deserted back of nowhere.  In America we have miles and miles of miles and miles.Often with extra miles.  Famines? all of the ones in the last 100 years have been a matter of distribution, mostly messed up by totalitarian regimes and crazy politics.  Ultimately the answer to “Too many people” is “Too many for what?”

And the answer to human voluntary extinction is “you first, bub.” Because if you’re a human who hates humans, what in fact you’re saying is that you hate yourself. You first.

I believe in the future. I believe in finding mates who understand us, love us, and make our lives richer.  And I believe in children, normal and Odd alike going on long after we sleep in the dust with our forefathers.

I’ll drink to that.

Miracle of miracles.



338 thoughts on “On Marrying Odd

  1. I maintain there’s NOTHING in the least odd about me.

    It’s everybody else who is odd.

    1. Using myself as the baseline, I’m perfectly normal, and boring.

      What? Why would I use some other person for the baseline? How could you trust them to be normal?

      1. Ditto. I’m the baseline I measure off of.

        Boring part. Mom & I were discussing this yesterday. Regarding if you have a smart phone, computer, etc., and use them, you are being tracked.

        Snort. I hope they enjoy watching paint dry … not that I believe anyway, shape, or form, that anyone has any focus on me or mine. Boring that’s me. Lost in the mass of data.

        1. This morning I stayed in the house for a while, went to the playground, came back for lunch, went to Walmart for an hour, then returned home, where I am still. There you go, CIA. You can save yourselves the trouble of hacking into my phone.

          I feel similarly about the photos on my phone. If you want the selfies of me with the CSU mascot or the pictures of my daughter trying on hats in the hardware store, all you have to do is ask.

          1. I have lots of pictures of cats. So many you’d think I was a single woman… but cat photos are an easy way to send a smile to other cat-afflicted persons.

    2. “All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer.”
      –Robert Owen (1771-1858)

        1. Oh yeah, guy was a socialist fruit. Nonetheless, it’s a wonderfully apt quote.

        2. And to this day, they do their best to continue it.
          (You would think they would have learned when Antioch went bust, but nope, learning reality from a school? Never!)

          1. Yellow Springs is nuts, but there’s a lot of good biking and hiking trails in the vicinity.

  2. My father was very well trained in manners. Me, not so much. (I also was resistant to learning manners, and my parents may have had a lot less time and energy available for training me.)

    There are some striking similarities between me and my parents, in different ways.

  3. I had a two year long-distant courtship with Otto when I was in Japan and he was in Florida. I don’t think that is too unusual for Odds. We knew each other about five years before we finally married.

  4. If you’re Odd, you often partner late or compromise about it, or not at all.

    You forgot multiple (sequential or parallel) and “all of the above”.

    Sometimes I wonder the wisdom of Odds, at least some Odds (what, move that mirror) partnering at all.

    I know I’m a late for one of mine and certainly a compromise for the other.

    1. This may contribute to an explanation for some of the … non-standard sexual mores advocated/practiced by SF/F writers of the Forties, Fifties and Sixties. Nudity, group marriage and even (sorta kinda) incest (Time Enough For Love — not to mention the MZB proclivities.

      1. I always took the RAH stuff as “Using your intellect to rationally decide if the rules made sense” examples. Note also the similar topic area in the same time frame where LL cold-stacked the deck of cards he used to demonstrate genetics and recessive-gene facts-of-life to the brother-sister pair who had been getting interested.

        1. If your theory about what the RAH stuff is true it is in marked contrast to the mindset in one of my favorite RAH quotes:

          Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat.

          Most of the mores are about protocols.

          1. Lazarus Long (and many of Heinlein’s other characters) were big on protocols when there was a need for them. Where he was considerably more flexible was on the subject of laws, and whether they made sense to him or not.

            Protocols are important when dealing with touchy people (or others), and there is a danger of harmful retaliation.

        2. Actually, I revise that…contrary to most people who are basically trying to be irresponsible swingers, non-binary relationships have network complexity issues so protocols are even more important.

          And RAH does a fairly good job of showing that.

          It is just the people who pretend to try and do who don’t (no drama like poly drama, except goth or lesbian drama…at all costs avoid poly goth lesbian drama, it even splatters onto the popcorn crowd).

          1. Indeed. The bitterest breakup I ever witnessed was when a lesbian friend of mine broke up with her long-term partner.

            1. Ditto. Two cases as a matter a fact.

              One involved a relative. Hey family tried, including his kids (he’d been married before “enlightenment”) told him that the guy was abusive. In fact family member was welcome to family gatherings but his new partner was not. It was NOT the relationship, but we didn’t trust the partner around our young kids. FWIW. Another cousin’s significant other was also bared from family gatherings for the same reason, and their relationship was traditionally standard.

              The other involved a scouting family. Their breakup was bad. The biological parent took the two younger kids with her (her biological children), the next oldest (again her biological child) to her brothers, and left the oldest (12, also her biological child) to fend for himself. The partner, who had no legal rights, had already left the household, had no idea the kid had been left behind. Troop, (FWIW neither did the uncle or school), had no idea kid was home alone, until the power was turned off at the house. At which time the uncle, authorities, etc., were notified. Kid ended up with brother at Uncles. Troop stayed involved until kid transferred to a local troop closer to his new area, at which time most of us lost contact (hey it was almost 2 hour round trip to pick him up and return him for activities; we tried but more than working volunteers could handle over long periods.)

              Were any of these cases unique, just because of the type of relationship? Oh, heck no. But just because they are in this type of relationship, doesn’t mean they are necessarily saints either.

            2. It isn’t a fact much discussed, but if you have a close enough lesbian friend they might open up and admit of the three broad identities: straight, gay, lesbian, it is the last with the highest rate of domestic abuse.

              I got told that by a lesbian friend after I had to stand outside my downstairs neighbor’s broken window at 1am with an SCA sword. He ex-girl friend was drunk, broke the window, and was coming in for her. I kept her at bay until the police arrive.

              Also, people in the S&M world will tell you lesbians play the hardest. By my observation that is true. The only time I have seen a DM step in and tell people they were done was a lesbian couple. The bottom was willing to keep going but there was obvious physical distress from how hard they had been.

      2. And interesting tidbit, my post on my personal blog yesterday was about MZB to a large degree. At least, she was the jumping off point/example.

  5. So this entire post was in aid of justifying your demand that Robert knock Blake up immediately if not sooner?
    Yes my niece, they will be the most wonderful grandchildren that ever were, and amazing, smart, and ever so respectful of their grandma.

    1. Nah. They want to wait a bit and have good reasons (monetary.)
      If I have any kids who are respectful of their grandma, I’ll know their mamas stepped out. Affectionate, hopefully. Respectful? not a chance. 😀

      Actually it was in aid of putting younger son up for sale/giving to a good woman. 😀

        1. And is ASE aeronautical engineering? Sheesh, triple engineering degrees. Sure, there’s lot of overlap, but still….

          And sorry, I’m fresh out of cousins, pretty much. (Well, hmmm, the one in Washington state who came and picked me up with her husband when I was at Ft. Lewis I’ve sort of lost track of. Maybe she had a daughter.)

          1. Aerospace, yes. This is why it’s taken him so long, because scheduling is h*ll. I’m just glad he didn’t also want civil and chemical. (Other son has double undergrad degrees in bio and chem. We told them STEM degrees we’d help pay for. We failed to say “one per customer.” Kicks stuff.)

                1. I heard it as civil engineers built targets, mechanical engineers build weapons.

                  1. ChemE for the explosive filler, mechanical for shock testing, aero for glide path, controls for guidance, electrical for sensing, and systems engineers to translate the gobbledegoop into people words.

                  2. The original dictionary term for “engine” described what we’d now call a “seige engine.” Engineers were people who built and operated seige engines. (they were usually built on-site)

                    So, yeah, engineers build weapons…

                    1. Yeah. Which is why I get a kick out of ‘Middle Ages’ movies that show siege engines running around on wheels. When your artillery men showed up they’d have carts with rope, hardware, etc. and after chopping down their local forest have their catapults & such up and running the next day.

                    2. And Leonardo de Vinci’s “business card” was “Siege Engineer”. Painting was a sideline.

            1. Seems like every Aeronautics or Aerospace-Eng concentration anywhere twists up their scheduling as a matter of course. I was astonished when past company EE interns told me about the conveyor belt ride they had in their EE program, with the entire cohort proceeding stepwise from required class to subsequent class, pre-requisites automatically built into the flow, with no scheduling drama.

              Maybe places like the USAFA or Embry-Riddle do it better, but my college life was a constant fight to try and get the courses I needed, in the order required, to be able to move forward.

                1. Son didn’t do any better. Started with Chemical Engineering. Switched to just Chemistry. Didn’t help. Couldn’t get it done in 4 years due to scheduling conflicts. Screwed with him going air force (he was ROTC until his 4th year) well that and Obama’s military cuts. He was allowed to finish out the classes (which was unusual, normally. I understand, if you aren’t contracting you don’t get to continue to take classes; but he was allowed to. Couldn’t continue extra curricular activities ROTC did.)

              1. It’s practice for the real world of work. Scheduling is always a bear. More so in flight test. And a first flight…is a nightmare.

              2. I didn’t have the conveyor belt for my BSEE, but it was awfully smooth. Huge school (great STEM academics, pathetic* football team and the star-quality basketball players went one state east), with a correspondingly large EE department. Those of us nutty enough to get into semiconductor manufacturing had to go through a set of gates, but there were two professors who had a very intent focus on getting their students through.

                MSEE was a hodgepodge. IIRC, there were very few prerequisites, but the earlybird approach (7-9AM, usually 2 days a week) meant that you frequently had two desirable courses with the same schedule. IIRC, I got it done in 10 quarters while working more-or-less full time. (Slight informal allowance for classes, but sleep was a rare and treasured item those years.)

                (*) There’s be years when they were good (not when I was there), but then the NCAA would unearth Yet Another Violation and deconstruct the program. We’d cheer if we won the toss. 🙂

                  1. [Must resist transistor puns] There were a few gateway prerequisites and a bunch of senior/grad level courses one could get into.

                    At least in the ’70s, Immense University was a major source of graduates for the Silicon Valley. Of course, that was when Silicon Valley was actually producing semiconductors.

            2. We failed to say ‘one per customer.’ Kicks stuff.

              Combo meals offer the best value, so that was not your error. What you needed to say was, “Limited time offer.”

              Not that schools cooperate with that consideration; colleges need to be held to a standard of making a four-year degree attainable within four (three would be even better) years.

              AS IF any certification board cares about that.

              1. What? I can’t know single women who like geeky guys?

                Problem is they are in two alt communities and most are the “manic pixie girl” types for those communities (wasted too much youth chasing SCA pagan-hippie girls).

                Then there are transport costs 😉

                1. Now, do you have a supply of geeky guys who like geeky girls in the next age increment (38)? Ones who won’t mind an LTR until
                  miltary retirement (or at least US re-entry)?

                  I could probabky find you some kind of deal kn transport costs for those.

          1. As the Dragonette is only 13, I guess I’ll have to find other ways to become a Beta reader.

            Just as well, I doubt Marshall would want to get married in Jedi robes.

        2. Sigh … probably too young for my daughter – who if not Odd herself, has had plenty of scope coping with an Odd Parent.
          It didn’t last for much longer than it took to generate the Daughter Unit and reams and reams of letters (Yes, that’s how we did it way back them … with a pen, and paper … and postage!) but I’m pretty certain her father was also an Odd. He was the only man I encountered in simply months — who genuinely laughed when I essayed being amusing.
          (Wonder what happened to all those letters that I wrote him … eh, probably burnt or something. My future biographer will just have to deal…)

          1. Waves hands. I have a 30 year old (well in June) son. He works …

            Hey. As niece found out, someone who works is a requirement. She married someone because she thought she needed a father for her daughter (well she thought they were in love) marriage lasted 2 years. Part of the problem was his inability to help provide for the household.

            Not that he didn’t work at a variety of things. (Worked with his dad, quit. Worked as an aid at the school district, quit. Worked as a video grapher/photographer for weddings, dropped that …) But the kicker was it was HIS money. Okay, inability doesn’t quite complete the picture …

      1. I’ve got a brilliant redhead, but she’s still working on escaping middle school. Any chance of putting Younger Son on ice for a few years? 🙂

      2. *is chortling over the mental image of advertisement:

        “Younger son of Sarah Hoyt
        Aerospace Engineer, Odd, has similarly Odd family.
        If this above description hasn’t made you run away and intrigued you instead
        email me your book genre / library list at…” *

        1. During Kid’s toddler years I occasionally fantasized about putting her at the end of the driveway in a cardboard box that said “Free to Good Home”. A classified ad is probably a bit more civilized… 😀

        2. You want to take a more personal touch with such transactions, exercising nearly as much due diligence as would be required for kittens. As a model:

          Of course, nobody expects Sarah to sing as well as Harry Secombe.

          Perhaps a late-night cable commercial? They seem to find those useful in renting women. (Sigh, given the inevitability our society will soon be legalizing prostitution — having accepted marijuana — I am going to have to use the brainbleach to clear the idea of those adverts … I suppose it isn’t very different from permitting lawyers to do TV commercials.)

          1. It is very different from permitting lawyers to do commercials.

            Prostitution is a time honored profession.

            And the real fun of legalizing prostitution is it will be:

            1. Pushed by feminists
            2. Treated as empowering for all women.

  6. And Europeans should be aware that they have a countryside that’s getting emptier

    That is being solved although even the people solving it don’t realize it.

    In the end, that is how the mass immigration into Europe will pan out, I suspect. The ability to live in the city on the dole is strong, but not sustainable. I suspect the average migrant from Africa is better prepared for the countryside than the average European.

    1. Maybe, maybe not. Have you looked at the population distributions for many of the countries in Africa and South America? My recollection from when I looked into this a while back as that in many of those countries more than half of the population lived in the capital (or split between capital and the major port) and the rest is in villages and tiny towns scattered. If more of the migrants are from those urbs, they might be just as clueless as the Euro urbanites.

      1. Not only that, but Northern Europe is… less kind, than many parts of the world, for at least a quarter of the year, to the inhabitants living there. If you grew up with a dry season and a rainy season, than the need for spring planting, summer tending (and hay harvest), and fall harvesting in order to survive winter may not be… obvious from the head or from the gut.

        Nor the way said seasonal cycle makes it very necessary to tend relationships and trust people outside your clan. In fact, when migration disrupts the orderly world of “brother against brother; brothers against cousins; brothers and cousins against outsiders!”, you’re going to have to redefine “world” and decide what alliances are best to make. Skin colour? Home language? Religion? Competence? (Hint: America chose the last, and flourished. Pakistan didn’t and… there’s a reason people left there and came to Europe.)

        1. Depends on where you are and what you are used to. If it’s classic 3rd world slash & burn, one could run out of viable land fairly quick.

  7. What I mean is that you kids have it easy, with your internets, your blogs, your fan groups.

    When I was your age there were no SF/F sections in the bookstores — and to get to those bookstores we had to walk uphill through snow, both ways! None of this click on a link and the book arrives in your Kindle that day. And finding books! Oh my, what we went through trying to find SF/F. Haunting Used Book stores, with their musty smells and dodgy proprietors! Searching ceaselessly for a copy not hopelessly dog-eared, spine cracked, cover creased! Oh, it was a dark dark time for SF/F fans.

    1. You had bookstores! All I had was the paper back rack at the grocery store. That was mostly romance and westerns. When I found an order form in the back of a Ballantine Books copy of Dragonriders, I was in heaven!

      1. Hah! Paperbook rack! The luxury!! All we had was the discarded stuff that never sold because they never put them out with the covers ripped off from the dumpsters behind the drug store!!

          1. You had Paper books? Ogg and Son(he thinks) publishers only dealt in clay! It takes a full caravan to move a library! 🙂

            (Local gift shop/bookstore had a small but useful SFF section–got the Perelandra trilogy and some Bradbury there. University of Immense had a great section in the student union bookstore. IIRC, I never got a hardback SF book back then unless it was through the SF book club.)

    2. It takes you a whole day for a book to arrive on your Kindle? What are you using, a 300 baud modem? Takes me all of 5 seconds to download.

      1. I am unKindled, having an unreasoning fondness for caressing the pulverized corpses of slain trees while I read, so I was merely plucking a time from the ether.

    3. Wait, you had actual bookstores? All I had was a pawn shop!

      (Yes, really. Tho some regular customer catered fairly well to my tastes.)

    4. Silly Wallaby. That is what you get for living in someplace in the back of the hinterlands. I believe am nearly as old as you are and when it came to books I was spoiled. I lived in a major city that was book friendly and one of The Grandfathers was a publisher.

      On the other hand it was a northeastern city with all that entails…

  8. For the new generation, it really looks like 30 is the new 20, and they’re finally ready to sort of, kind of face adulthood.

    Given the Progressives obsession with “Overpopulation” and “Anthroprogenic Climate Change” this is intended ass feature, not bug. It not only reduces the surplus population, it encourages dependency upon the State as there is no way anybody can believe their kids will support them in their old age — those ungrateful miscreants are even less likely to be around than Social Security!

    Happily, the government is accumulating a large supply of well-trained medical workers to assist your suicide once you cease to be economically justifiable.

    1. I do think greek godlet Momus is having a long chuckle at the widely held (“The Science Is Settled!”) beliefs in overpopulation and global warming, as the current actual observable empirical data is pointing towards exactly the opposite – a period of cooling and population decline.

      Note that these are currently independent, but widespread cooling can easily add a push to population decline with resulting drops in food production as well as the direct effect of harsher, longer winters.

      But all of this groundless speculation is of course moot, as, naturally, “The Science Is Settled!”

      [Momus: “Hah!”]

      1. Sort of. From what I can tell the population growth data looks like a decline in the rate of growth until 2100, at which point we hit zero actual growth, then the population begins to decline.

  9. Aye, if the problem is too many people then why are so many small town dying? Not everyone wishes to live in a giant overpriced rabbit warren (e.g. Manhattan).

    The bit about early (well, not TOO early) pregnancy and longer fertility somehow reminded me of a story of when Pa worked at a TV station Way Back When… the stations ran tube gear… and specified used tubes rather than new. They were proven.

    1. Aye, if the problem is too many people then why are so many small town dying?

      Jobs mostly. It’s tough to make a living on a service economy when there’s so few people to service.

      Not everyone wishes to live in a giant overpriced rabbit warren (e.g. Manhattan).

      No, but mid-sized towns (Des Moines, Kansas City, Colorado Springs etc.) have a balance between the opportunity and anonymity of a megacity and the more open feeling of a small town.

      1. There is that. Manhattan (and Chicago, Milwaukee, Los Angeles..) make my teeth itch. Des Moines I might consider, but Sioux Falls would better if I had to live somewhere big(ger). Then, ideally (and if decent connectivity was there…) I’d be happy a few miles out of town. $HOUSEMATE might have issues with such ‘isolation’ however.

        1. Sioux Falls is nice. I’d favor a 15 minute drive in from the South Dakota side. Minnesota is being destroyed from Minneapolis, the locusts wreck everything.

          1. I’ve only spent a few hours in Sioux Falls on the way back from a trip to Yellowstone, but it seemed like a cool place. I was really just stretching my legs, walking around gawking at the falls and checking out the restaurants nearby as a break after six hours driving. From that cursory evidence I’d say it looked like a lot of fun.

            1. I lived in Marshall MN, Sioux Falls was the closest Home Depot and other big-box stores. 60 miles one-way. Spent quite a few weekends there stocking up on Stuff.

        2. Sioux Falls is pretty cool. When I worked for the power utility I interviewed several times for job transfers there. Always got beat out by fellows senior to me (once by a guy *one day* senior). Thanks, union. I guess the fact that I’d spent almost 20 years maintaining and operating gas turbine-engined aircraft had no bearing on my ability to operate a gas turbine peaking plant.

      2. Yeah, jobs. We moved from Nashville-sprawl to Tiny Town, TX, but we have the luxury of Peter’s job being based online, and doable anywhere there’s internet to connect to Amazon KDP, cover artists anywhere in the world, proofreaders and beta readers & etc.

        Most people are still physically located near their jobs, and most of those are near transportation hubs – either because they transport things, or because they’re interdependent on companies that transport things.

        Even financially independent folks like retirees want to be closer to good medical services, and thus tend to be close to a population center than can support a larger hospital.

        1. Late ’80s my in-laws sold the house they’d built for retirement, south of Sunriver, just north of La Pine. They had to be closer to the medical facilities and hospital. NOW the home they sold is closer to the new medical facilities built since in La Pine. But that came in a good 10 years after they died.

      3. Megacity living is great if you can afford to live in the nice part- with a flat that has a spectacular view, is within easy walking distance of the cool restaurants/public transport, and is in the part where the cops keep the riff-raff & criminals out.
        Otherwise, not so much.

    2. specified used tubes rather than new. They were proven.

      Infant Mortality – once past the initial use period, stuff tends to keep working, but a lot of things fail right away, thus burn-in specs for modern stuff and the whole debate about aircraft maintenance actually adding to the risk of failure when an otherwise working engine gets overhauled due solely to hours-in-service.

      Basically, the failure curve over time is a big U shape, with failure counts peaking right at the start of use, dropping down relatively rapidly, and then slowly working it’s way upward again out to the right.

      1. Semiconductor types call it the bathtub curve. Lots of infant mortality (for various values of “lots”, then nuthin’, then the failure modes creep up as things get older.

        And I have to see if the 6 year old LED lightbulb actually died or if I didn’t get it screwed in properly when I checked it last week. The *other* bulb needed to be screwed in–not a very friendly light fixture; OTOH, said other bulb replaced the twin to the one in question.

    3. The rabbit warren is necessary because otherwise they don’t have the excuse of your neighbors to regulate you.

  10. > In America we have miles and miles of miles and miles.Often with extra miles.

    Pff. That’s nothing.

    Drive from Tenant Creek, NT, AU to Townsville City, QLD, AU. With the exception of Mt. Isa it’s freaken EMPTY. More so than HWY 50 across Utah and Nevada (which is a nice drive if you like desert). Except that there’s more growing things in NT and QLD.

    1. Is that one of those stretches where there’s just the occasional sign, not even formal road as such, as a reassurance you’re on track?

      1. In 1986 Life magazine labeled the stretch of US 50 through Nevada “The Loneliest Road in America.” I-70 through Utah is desolate enough. It runs through almost-deserted desert, with many miles between exits, many of which only lead to dirt roads, and signs like “Last Services for 73 Miles”.

        1. Drove through southern Utah a few years back between National Parks – many many many miles not seeing another vehicle with nothing but the little solar-powered flashy signs with flags that warn about watching for cattle on the road.

          1. Oh yeah. In 2016 I hit the three more westerly of the National Parks in Utah, and long stretches of the route between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef were desolate – but not as much so as the route between Capitol Reef and I-70. Amazing scenery, beautiful blue sky, warm but dry, and not much traffic.It doesn’t get much better than that.

              1. There are reasons I still plan my routes myself, rather than going with what MapQuest, Google, or Wayz recommend.

                  1. A lot of bikes are hard-pressed to make it a hundred miles on a tank.

                    The peanut tanks on “cruisers” are the most obvious, but some of the sportbikes are *thirsty*. A friend’s Ninja used to drop into the mid-teens when we were out hooning around.

                    1. We did a ride from DFW to OKC for lunch once and a guy with a 1200 Sportster went along. Well he started at the same time. We ordered and got food before he finally got there with his ST riding buddy as he had to fill the thing so damned much. I ran up from Alvarado to OKC without needing gas until I south of OKC on the way back.
                      The ST1100 is one of those known for long long distance riding without adding tankage. 7.3 gallons and 50 mpg on a well tuned easily ridden, mild speeds with real gas. I got 50 mpg once coming across Wisconsin.
                      Out in Texas, on a hot summer road with NOTHING to be seen, I got 22 mpg (and hit 137 mph).
                      I’ve gotten so used to hammering the bike, I get a 35 mpg average, even using no ethanol 91. 42 if I pay attention. Needs some tuning.

                      There was a plastic tail tank for the 1100 that adds 3 more gallons in place of the rear fender, and I’ve seen an aluminum custom tank set that was good for 5 gallons extra.

                    2. Not so fond memories of a Honda 350 where I rebuilt a carb (bad diaphragm on the constant velocity piston), but hadn’t compared it to the other carb’s. Until I got that unscrewed, the bike got 10MPG. Afterwards, 40.

                1. Oh, and to take the route on their trip to Alaska, My uncle had to get an auxiliary tank for his Dodge. Dad’s Ford has two tanks so he was able to make the run.

              2. What the heck route are you taking? the longest fuel-free stretch I can think of, without leaving pavement for parts unknown, is Jordan to Miles City (85 miles) or maybe Broadus to Belle Fourche (95 miles, tho in a pinch you could probably get fuel at Colony). Just about every little burg with four streets and a post office also has a Cenex with 24 hour pumps.

                1. I think it might have been along US 2. iirc, there was a stretch where some stations had closed and stretched it out. Might be better now, I don’t pay as much mind to Iron Butt and the Folks ain’t on the road any more. in ’06 a few guys I knew took the route and the fellow with the Goldwing had to carry a can to make the gap. The other two had STs and managed it station to station.
                  ST1100’s got a 7.3 gallon tank, and at mild speeds get 50mpg. The fellow on the ST1300 had to stay at 60 mph to get the mileage he needed (it tells you mpg on the dash) but had a bit of gas extra as well, but it wasn’t needed then

                  1. It was better in 1974. I took a Beetle along US 2 from Duluth to Glacier Park and never ran into fuel problems.

                  2. Longest stretch of nothin’ along Hwy2 is Shelby to Havre, 100 miles or so… they musta been goin’ some way weird, cuz I’m not even sure how you’d avoid a real town any further than that, even if all the little burgs are closed up. Maybe if you did the Seeley-to-Lincoln loop in the off season… longest absolutely-nothin’ stretch I can find is Lewistown to Malta, 135 miles (there’s a station about halfway now, tho) but that’d be just a weird direction for a tourist. I suppose if you did Lewistown to Sidney (270 miles) at night you might see nothin’ but closed in the little burgs, but it’d still be a strange route for a tourist on a bike. 🙂

    2. On the other hand, most of Nevada, southern California, and Arizona are not capable of supporting humans without importing huge amounts of food and water. Which runs us back into the cheap and flexible transportation problem. And if AOC has her way, all those areas will go back to being totally uninhabited because you can’t effectively get or live there without fossil fuels.

      1. I think AOC has also sorta neglected to note what powers farm equipment, not to mention how food gets to market, what runs processing and refrigeration, etc, etc. In short, she plans to starve everyone outside of walking distance of the nearest self-sufficient farm. Well, that does solve the population problem…

        Then again, pretty sure if you asked her where food comes from, she’d say, “The supermarket.”

        1. no, she just assumes that somehow miraculous green technology will make electrically powered farm equipment that can run from dawn til dusk without needing a charge.

          1. Every future history story I’ve read where current technology catastrophically fails and we have to reinvent new technology involves the death of 80% of the population, usually over a 3 to 6 month period. Of course most of the violent deaths are in the first 3 weeks, the rest are starvation, disease, and suicide. And this is exactly what those idiots pushing for the Green New Deal are demanding.

            1. Made worse because they want all the survival tools. Or they’ll try to figure out someway to prevent the hunting and defensive ones from working.

          2. she just assumes” — Progressive “thought” processes in a mere three words. I salute thee.

    3. The coastal drive from Cairns AU to Port Douglas is scenic, but likewise fairly devoid of inhabitants.
      Likewise, most of central Florida east of the West Coast and west of the Villages/Orlando/Kissimee area right in the middle.

  11. Due to living in an insane asylum (California) run by the inmates, the issue of group cohesion has been on my mind. As you hint above, we humans cannot survive alone. We are pack animals, or herd animals, if you prefer. In our evolutionary environment, the lone human just doesn’t make, and if he did, would not reproduce anyway.

    Given this, natural selection would demand that we place a very, very high value on tribal membership. It really is surprising that anyone ever stands up against the mob – rejection from the group is just short of a death sentence, through most of human history.

    One way to characterize what we are here calling Odds is: people who lack or have comparatively underdeveloped tribal instincts. We flatter ourselves (correctly, it seems) that we’re smarter, or at least more imaginative, than the slavish conformists we find ourselves among, but even really smart people can be so possessed by a herd mentality that it never rises to the level of conscious thought.

    Yet, here we are. The people who didn’t care enough to try to join, or were even repelled by the very idea of, the Kool Kid’s Klub, who are happiest with vast amounts of alone time, maybe have a couple real friends, and get all kinds of belligerent when our space/beliefs/hobbies are threatened by groupthink. Many of us can be perfectly charming when needed, but many find the finer points of charm inscrutable. We’re nice and all, but shy.

    The bad news: the herd, especially when driven by the useful idiots whose Gender studies professor explained that the absolute evil of evils is referring to somebody as ‘she’ when the preferred pronoun is xur (and the Kodan Armada) or some other change-by-the-minute ephemera, will NOT leave us in peace. You must conform, or you are Eeeeeevil! And oh so mean!!

    The good news is that good hearted normies will, as above, attempt to play matchmaker and otherwise incorporate us into their activities, because to them, our lack of interest in being in the group is painful to behold, and so they want to help. Bless them.

    California is becoming intolerant and intolerable. What y’all think? Huntsville sounds nice, there are parts of Texas that are OK. I’d move to Idaho or Utah in as heartbeat if there were any work up there. Suggestions?

    1. Phoenix. Much depends on the sort of work you want to do, of course, but the local economy here is pretty hot (ahem) right now. As for the weather, well, it’s an acquirable taste. I found that it sure as hell beat the Chicago blizzards I grew up with.

        1. To some extent, but not as fast as I was expecting. You need to stay away from the college campuses, but I have a theory that well-off (and generally conservative) retirees from parts north balance out the people from California, many of whom can’t stand the heat here. (I know a few. One moved to Iowa because it was too hot. I suspect a lot of them just go back where The Weather Is Perfect.)

    2. One short mention here: I know a lot of Odds who are fiercely tribal, nearly all of them on the left. So while you and I may lack the tribal gene, lacking it is by no means a way to characterize Odds.

      1. Yea, I think I know what you’re talking about. I guess ‘those people’ seem – different? Odd, yes, but there’s something else at play? The totalitarian impulse seems like it would have to be an acquired taste for an Odd…

          1. Opposite end of the Odd Spectrum?

            They also have a strong tendency to argue from definition — “If you are a Feminist/Ethnicity/Gay then you have to accept these principles” — and to change the definitions as suits their purposes.

        1. I don’t fully understand it. I’ve known some of them since we were all in college in the early 70s, and we all had fun, built things, read SF, and thought politics was for small minds. 40 years later, they’ve become slobbering haters. Even though I can get along with almost anybody, I’ve had to avoid a lot of them in recent years because they will go on the attack if they think you’re not liberal enough. The psychology is obscure. Many of them are what I called “failed elites.” They’re in their late 50s and didn’t get tenure, or they’ve been working in crap jobs all their lives and resent it. Savagely attacking people who disagree with them must give them some kind of dopamine rush. I’ve not seen that same sort of behavior on the right.

          1. “Fake Elite” might cover it better. It’s like Alpha Male status…there are the Real Deal Alphas, and the Faux Alphas.

              1. And while I don’t like the direction of some of his thinking (e.g., on race and ethnicity, but that’s a whole topic I don’t want to get into right now), his description of Gammas is Spot. On. Perfect illustration: the various people who have shown up briefly on this blog (I don’t remember the specific threads) to explain to Sarah that she’s wrong about $SUBJECT relating to writing, which they (who have never published a book) know better than her. Secret Kings, who know more than you about your own field of expertise.

          2. I’ve had a period in my life where I was deeply angry, ultimately at myself for failing, and suppressed expressing it at any target I considered unfair or unacceptable. Guess how ready I was to concede that civil protections were due to any target I considered fair and acceptable.

            (Okay, some folks are asking why I use the past tense. I really am much better in several ways, even if I am quite frightened when it comes to the possibilities of the next stage in my career.)

            Happiness is partly a choice on the inside. Let things fester inside, and they will spray out over others. And changing oneself can be very difficult.

          3. “40 years later, they’ve become slobbering haters.”

            Propaganda really works. Ask any Liberal about guns or glowball warming, they recite the propaganda back verbatim.

            I’ve rarely seen one accept a reasoned argument on either subject. Almost a religious fervor.

            1. A good friend of mine bought into the globular wormening thing. He adopted it as a religion; it’s all “settled”, and he views any questions about data sources or algorithms as personal attacks. But he works at a university, and I guess the stupid is contagious.

              note: not the same friend who suddenly bought into the Protocols of Zion thing…Though he quietly dropped that after a while….

              Being an Odd doesn’t mean you’re not susceptible to being pwned by bad social memes.

              1. he works at a university, and I guess the stupid is contagious.

                This is a recognized psychological occurrence, social conformity, in which people have altered their factual knowledge to match that of a group. Put enough people in a classroom saying that 2+2=5 and some folks will agree.

                I suspect one aspect of our type of Odd is that we will not conform to the group opinion simply because everybody agrees on a “fact.” We remain that caste inclined to say, “I don’t care what you call it, I say it’s spinach and I say the hell with it”

                1. Yes, agree. Being Odd means -more- susceptible.

                  For a while. Lots of crazy things can look very reasonable when they let you play in the sandbox.

                  Until, inevitably, the sons of bitches stop pretending they’re your friend and start trying to bang you into the round hole like everybody else. After you get played one time, you always keep some mad-money in your belt.

    3. Texas is going downhill fast, from what I hear. Too many California transplants. The fact that Beto O’Rourke almost won last year is telling. I’d rather try for the upper Plains or Mountain states. The weather can be nasty, but the local gov’t is better. And when the breakup comes, you’ll be better off somewhere with a lot of farms and ranches close by than in any of the big cities.

        1. We *almost* moved to Colorado Springs in the late 1980s. For a big city it was remarkably easy to deal with.

          Now, I’m very glad we decided to stay put…

        2. Well Colorado Springs isn’t going under without a fight. Firefighters wanted to Unionize. Prop 1 was defeated 68% No 32% yes.

      1. While I think the influx of job-seekers from California to Texas played a part in Beto’s showing, I don’t doubt that massive Democrat spending from out of state, and Senator Cruz’s charisma*, played a part.

        * or the limits thereof

        1. Well, he’s got six more years now, and the beard, so I think he’s a shoe-in next time.

          Note I think a lot of Cruz’s negatives were actually Presidential-race hangovers – he had to push pretty hard to try and beat DJT and failed, so there was both blame from the nevertrumper brigade for not stopping DJT so Hillary could win as well as bad feeling from Trump-voters for trying to beat their guy.

          But I think the beard solves all of that. He always gave off a slick used-car-salesguy vibe to me (note I was a Cruz voter) when clean-shaven. Now he presents totally differently.

          1. “Used car salesman”…that is it.

            I was a Cruz primary voter, but I understood when people said he came off as various things but couldn’t put my finger on it. That is it.

            1. I also voted Cruz in the primary. Just after that he started talking in favor of gun control measures. Which has has since walked back, but you can’t pour the urine back into that particular boot.

            2. I found him less “used car salesman” and more “television preacher.” I supported him as best of a so-so lot (as opposed to the Left side in which Hillary was the best of an “oh h*ll no!” lot.) I thought him sincere in his beliefs but feeling he needed to shape them to draw in the congregation.

              He seemed a trifle too willing to make (what he saw as) minor adjustments to doctrine in pursuit of his goal.

                1. Why not indeed? There’s more similarity between them than you might think — both are, after all, essentially snake-oil salesmen.

                2. Used Car Preacher.
                  “This here is the car that Jesus would want you to have, Amen!”

            1. That’s not surprising. Cruz is an Odd in a way that Trump isn’t.
              He doesn’t remind me so much of a used-car salesman as he does of someone with mild Asperger’s–which is part of the reason he weirds a lot of people out.

            2. That’s because most NeverTrump types were “Hillary Yes” types (and “Obama Yes” before) but didn’t want to be open about it.

          2. It hadn’t struck me before, probably because the Truth often hides in plain sight, but it is clear that the opposition to Ted Cruz– both in his presidential and re-election campaigns — was in reality simple suppressed racism, Latinophobia, if you will. As all disagreement with Obama’s policies was attributable to racism, so it follows that the only reason anybody could have for disagreeing with ted Cruz’s policy preferences would have to be due to the fact Cruz is Latino.

            If he comes across as a trifle creepy, a bit slick, that is obviously a result of your subconscious anti-Latino animus. That is why the Left had to run a culture-appropriating Mick against Cruz; they coddled their anti-Latino racism by supporting a faux-Latino (Faux Latino – wasn’t he a big star in silent movies?) O’Rourke, of course, ran as a traditional Democrat: a man who had married a WWM (Wife With Money), a la John Effing Kerry and others.

              1. Maybe it’s a lawyer thing – he comes across initially as a slick lawyer, but after you pay attention for a bit, maybe watch him debate, you want him to be your lawyer.

                I think the beard blunts the initial slick lawyer vibe.

      2. Beta err Beto got the votes he did because the bill was being footed by CA Dems.

      3. Depends where. Aus-tonio or Houston and the Metroplex? Yeah, not politically pretty, although you can find safer patches. The Valley? Oh lordy. Rest of the state? Still pretty friendly so long as you don’t mess with folks our stuff.

      4. Beto almost won because of some record setting vote fraud, and the simple fact that Cruz isn’t real popular with some Trump supporters who can’t get past 2016 either. The Texas Gov and AG have been cracking down on vote fraud, but as Project Veritas showed, there’s still work to do.

        Ultimately, no place is safe from the Left.

    4. We are pack animals, or herd animals, if you prefer

      I prefer pack. I suspect most Huns do. I suspect most collectivists prefer herd.

      1. Good point. Hunters need more and firmer hierarchy than their prey, and it matters who is in charge. I suppose every sheep in the flock either thinks it’s the leader, or else easily could be.

          1. They aren’t but the vegans “want-to-be” a separate species. 😉

            1. Raising vegans for fun and profit as food source/sex slaves would be morally acceptable if they are.

              Should we give in and let them?

          2. Predatory isn’t restricted to meat eating. Ever seen a vegan cougar scoping out a bar of young studs?

          3. Vegan pack sustained omnivoral chase predators – hmm. I mean, stalking predators could stalk plants, but sustained chase?

            I suppose they could chase things like tumbleweeds, but those are dead before they tumble.

            Nope, I got nothin’.

    5. We flatter ourselves (correctly, it seems) that we’re smarter

      Not smarter — whether defined as processing speed or as accuracy — but simply that we are less likely to allow our processes to be swayed by popular opinion. We make mistakes, but we make them ourselves rather than adopting those of the herd.

      One of our salient characteristics is refusal to change a conclusion just because somebody declares, “You’re wrong.”

      1. And in evaluating this group, we tend towards an averaging or smoothing approach, that conceals the areas where we are freakish for this group. So the group mostly comes off well in our eyes. If you instead took the time and energy to catalog us by where we are freakish for this group, the aggregate would look unwise and quite strange. Take me, for example…

  12. As long as 20 years or so ago, The Atlantic Monthly (paper edition!) published an article suggesting that far from being at risk from overpopulation, our good Earth is at greater risk from population collapse. People have suggested this forever, but with respect to infectious diseases, mostly, and sometimes environmental pollution. I remember that article being the first to suggest that, once women have effective control over their reproductive lives, most will choose smaller families, and many will choose not to reproduce at all. World population will (eventually) go down, as it is currently going down in nations like Japan and Italy where many women choose to be childless.

    My almost immediate response was this: If women freely choose not to have children, they are breeding a tendency not to have children out of the human gene pool. I’m not a population geek so I can’t do any kind of math on this, but the SF writer in me wonders if the population curve may go down and then up again, as the children who are born to mothers who want children (and perhaps several or many) come to dominate the gene pool.

      1. Of course they lie about it. You tell an African kleptocrat that he gets so much aid money and food (which he can seize and resell) per head, and you expect him to faithfully and accurately report the population count, including any decreases?

        Follow the money.

    1. A friend brought up the possibility that China’s population just might have more unofficial, unregistered people than official citizens.
      That they’re in potential demographic trouble is pretty much known- too many boys thanks to the one child policy… but what about those who have an extra kid or two (or three) off the books? Especially if there’s fines involved.

  13. “To be clear, if you have a baby early, you stay fertile longer. No one is sure why, but I’m told this is known in animal husbandry.”

    I’ve also heard that a woman’s chance of having twins increases with age, and also increases if a woman has had twins before. My guess is that all of these are subtle genetic/evolutionary things, because evolution is always-without-a-doubt-no-exceptions-and-don’t-ask acting to increase an individual’s contribution to the next generation. A woman who has a baby at 18 (or perhaps even younger) and survives is thereby demonstrated to be a valuable part of the gene pool, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find that somewhere in the genome is a gene that reacts to childbirth by kicking up her fertility a bit.

    1. Twins are more likely as my sister learned when trying for a fourth kid and getting a bonus fifth.

      She didn’t start until 33 and had the twins a month shy of 42.

      1. Grandfather had a twin. They had younger twin sisters. One of the sister twins did not survive infancy. The other sister never had children (couldn’t?). His twin died in their mid-20’s without having kids. I have cousins from moms side, and dads side, that had twins. Just one set each.

        I wasn’t that lucky.

  14. “I got very upset at a colleague who accepted his son’s diagnostic as autistic, as far as I could tell “because none of the kids in kindergarten like him.””

    There’s TESTING. Important that the diagnosis involves the TESTING, goddammit! (I took the testing a couple years ago. Oddness confirmed. 😡 )

    Re kids in kindergarten, children are basically small predatory pack animals, like some kind of carnivorous monkey. If you value your kid’s future, and they’re not fitting in, get them the hell out immediately. I speak from extensive experience, not all of it my own. The Phantom Clan has some serious Oddness in several branches, some of the nephews and nieces have had Issues, capital I, largely related to living through the hell that is Public School.

    “And the answer to human voluntary extinction is “you first, bub.”

    That used to be my answer. Now I’m tending more toward “here, let me help you with that.”

    1. Public school is child abuse.

      If you hate your kids that much, put them up for adoption and get rid of them.

      1. Right?

        Tell me, how many times did you hear this: “But the child needs Socialization!”

        If’n I had a nickel for every time, I’d be richer than Jeff Besos’ newly ex-wife.

        Today was a special day at Ontario schools, the student councils all decided that there would be a walkout to protest Doug Ford’s education budget cuts. That’s the cover story, anyway.

        So while the “Spontaneous Protest” was going on with speeches etc, the Loser Brigade was in the parking lot getting wasted. The smarter ones were drinking, the other ones were doing who the hell knows what kind of crazy drugs. When the inevitable fight started, with multiple teens kicking each other’s asses in the parking lot, nobody broke it up. No cops, no teachers.

        The local police station -shares- the school parking lot, so it isn’t like they didn’t get a call. Cops told to stand down, is my working theory. Teachers as well.

        No serious injuries was the report I got, other kids took it upon themselves to break it up when the adults didn’t show up.

        1. Wel, you don’t want your child to miss being beaten up, unfriended, teased until they’re suicidal, or randomly group-punished for things they didn’t do, do you? And there would they learn the latest jive talk, who sells the cheapest drugs, or get the kind of premium SJW indoctrination public schools so efficiently provide?

          1. Vaping is the big deal these days, apparently. Along with a wide variety of weird shit to vape, the least of which is weed. And cyber-bullying of course remains a Thing.

            Socialization, so important!

  15. Since most of us on this blog seem to have a high component of Neanderthal, it has occurred to me that perhaps this is the Neanderthal genetic come back, aka “Neanderthal resurgence, this time it’s serious.”

    Interestingly, maybe us odds are using that Neandertal DNA to have “brains that go hyper-focus without dropping into the spectrum”, per this story from a few years back: https://www.ibtimes.com/autism-exclusive-humans-neanderthals-lack-dna-sequence-responsible-disorder-2398019

      1. There certainly does seem to be a cottage industry in “We found the gene that causes THIS!”, and as such I agree with your questioningness.

        1. And in many cases, they legitimately have found a gene that causes some condition. But often it turns out there are several genes that can cause the condition, or the condition only happens if that gene is activated (or not) via epigenetic effects, or it turns out the trait is pleitropic, or….

        1. That’s the “boyhood is a medical condition treatable with drugs” thing, which seems to have progressed to include some girls if they are not submissive enough and compliant with teacher instructions.

          1. and then they’ll wonder why all these boys need T supplements 20-odd years later….

            1. Or worse, not even care that boys are falling behind. Either because they are lesser, and so their failures don’t matter, or because the idea is that they’re so superior that they don’t need all the special help women/girls do.

              I’m not sure which idea is more pernicious, but I see it in other recipients of progressive “help”, as well.

  16. As an identical twin how can I identify as an ODD when she isn’t. I recognize much of Odd in myself. As a child I hid behind the couch rather than interact with visitors. I am a total introvert who makes herself interact with others.I am aged, 82, so is she. Yet I prefer to sit in my house for a week at a time rather than even go to the grocery store. My husband likes to do that.

    I have given up on outside activity other than a monthly herb club meeting. An herb club I helped found over ten years ago, rather than stay in Master Gardeners which had become too big and bureaucratic.

    I sit here in front of my computer writing to the masses (well, my masses) in an almost daily newsletter much like Instapundit for locals. I visit my friends and relatives on Facebook. I love seeing the many babies and children of my children as well as grandchildren of them and many nieces and nephews. But that is not facing reality. The reality is I visit with my sisters once a week when we go to my twins house for an afternoon movie and gossip session. I am blessed to have those sisters.

    We are almost equally intelligent, I think she is more so than I am, but I could be wrong. We are both highly intelligent and have minds that love to explore ideas, science and travel. Although we are not able to do that last anymore.

    She has a wide variety of friends in town that she sees regularly. She attends church two or three times per week. I do not go at all unless it is funeral or other occasion. She is an artist at china painting, I prefer gardening. She has a designer touch in decorating her house. I have never had a matching set of anything. I like old stuff and in my day refinished wood furniture with energy I wish I still had. She dresses to a T, I slump around in my old house dresses. Jeans aren’t comfortable anymore, nothing around the waist please.

    Yet, we really are identical. DNA proved that when she and my daughter both came up as a mother/daughter match. I’ve never taken the test because why bother when she did it for me.

    My husband is definitely an Odd, definitely on the Asperger’s end. The typical absent minded professor, he was actually a professor. I think he probably played school before he actually went to school. He retired in 1997 but sits at the computer researching and writing hours at a time, every single day. He is obsessed with science and the degradation of it into political spin. When I say obsessed, I mean really, that is all he talks about.

    So, just something to think about, after reading this you know how those odd minds work. They read something and have to work it to death.
    My daughter reads you everyday, so she’ll probably have something to say about this.

      1. Yeah, I know what you mean. I can fake it too. I’m just too tired to do that anymore. And I never cared as much.

        1. It is, I think, less a matter of being able to fake it than of thinking the rewards worth the effort.

          “But for Wales, Richard, Wales!”

          (Heh. I Duck, Duck, Gone for the exact quote and video link ((there were none)) and what was at the top of the list? According To Hoyt, from 10/10/2017!)

          1. We aren’t mirror. Trust me, we have really researched twinship. It is a good point, but doesn’t work in this case, unless brains can mirror and the rest of the body doesn’t.

    1. Possibly she learned to fake it, but another possibility is that you and she are mirror twins. I usually hear about that connected with physical things: mole on left shoulder vs. mole on right shoulder; one lefthanded, the other righthanded; stuff like that. But I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the mirroring affects aspects of personality too. Like Oddness.

      1. Our sons were mirror image twins. One left handed, one right handed. They lost their baby teeth on opposite sides of their mouth on the same day.
        Since opposite sides of their brains were dominant, their personalities were different. So a difference does not surprise me.

  17. the way to find the young Odds might be to observe a buy playground

    I think you have a good idea here. When I was in pre-school (which I ended up having to repeat… go figure that out) My mother received a panicked phone call from the pre-school teacher asking if she had come and picked me up without saying anything, because I was missing.

    Once my mother arrived and started freaking out over them losing her son, someone finally thought of checking the closet… where I was happily playing by myself, because screw those rotty kids! They are ANIMALS!!!

    Over the years growing up, my Father and I were never able to connect. However, the (many) times that various school faculty, counselors, doctors, etc. tried to drug me into normality, he stood up and told them where they could stuff that idea. Sure, sometimes it seemed like he was trying to beat me to normality, but that was much preferable to being stifled by the drugs. Especially in the ’70s, when ADHD was always the diagnosis, and Ritalin was always the “cure”.

    My kids (all girls) are Odd. The oldest seems to have found a fellow Odd. So as long as her guy doesn’t screw up, she’s set (At nearly 30). Of the two younger kids, both are Odd, but one more-so than the other, all I can do is my best for them. One thing I’ve taught them from when they were little is that being Odd (or weird, strange, etc.) is NOT a bad thing. If someone says it is, they can just be ignored because they are most likely very boring and not worth the time or trouble listening to. So far, I think they’re doing about as well as can be expected. Youngest even decided she wanted to be a cheerleader and went out an got it (of course, she’s the more normal one who manages to have norms as friends).

  18. 53 coming up. Still single. Yep.
    Then we get into all the other fun that can come with being Odd.
    Could be worse.
    I’ve family that is worse

  19. Speaking of Odd, the same memory that has to work to remember the names of people I’ve known for decades recalls this from an article in People (!) from 35+ years ago:

    “Eccentrics are the most diverse people in the world and among the hardest to define. In general they are loners and nonconformists who are curious, creative, obsessive. They don’t give a hoot what other people think about them. They see the rest of the world as rather mundane and out of step with them. They will put up with ordinary life, but they don’t like mass culture—that is, believing what everyone else believes. They are also highly intelligent. The average IQ of those we studied was 115 to 120.”

    (Aside: 115 is ‘highly intelligent’? Not a big IQ proponent (far too narrow), but I’d think this crowd would leave 115 vanishing in the rear view mirror…)

    1. Don’t forget that reported IQs are actually the middle of a 15 point range. My IQ of 120 means that I can be functioning anywhere between 105 (indistinguishable from average), all the way to 135 (not quite genius, but all my cylinders are firing!)

    2. Thank you for posting this.

      I have very vivid memory of weird trivia like that from elementary school on, but can’t remember many names or faces from the same period.

      1. For a journo school grad, I suppose. Once read that medical doctors tend to run around 105, that it’s dogged determination that’s the key much more than native intelligence. Lawyers are a little higher. I mention this because doctors and lawyers are typically thought to be smart people, but I’d bet the average at a typical geek-fest would run a little higher.

        1. yeah. Well, the too smart are not smart, often, but I live with my kids, after all.
          And btw, when the school mistakenly decided Robert had an IQ of 107 (it was the top of that particular test. This struck no one as relevant) at 7, they wanted to put him in classes for the slow…

            1. My kids. We used to have a saying “if they’re gifted, imagine the other kids.”
              BUT the truth is with IQs of 165 and 1mumblemumblemumble disability-level-high they invented ways to be stupid that mere NATURAL stupidity could never achieve.

              If you mean they wanted to put him in “slow” classes, having decided he had a 107 IQ…. I got nothing. They decided he was slow, gave him a test that topped out at 107 (without my permission, btw) and then said he was slow and needed remedial everything.
              We paid to have him privately tested multiple tests over a week. The consensus was 165. Also, when he entered kindergarten, he was reading books meant for teens (not later, because I was keeping him from the hard stuff. Worked for about two years, then I accepted he was going to know Rome without a filter) writing publishable, drawing like a cartoonist and knew his multiplication tables.
              Remedial. His teachers needed remedial.

                1. yeah. That was issue with younger son. “We don’t know how to calculate this.” By the end of the day they were throwing stuff at him just to see. “No one ever completed that pattern recognition test…”

                  1. HAH! was it the one with the little plastic cubes that were half red and half white?

                    1. yeah i did a pattern recognition test like that in my teens and after doing 2/3 of them the tester just flipped to the last one and said ” try this” and then had a look of mild shock when i did it,. and said he’d never seen it done before

                    2. The red and white cubes were cool! I didn’t even like blocks much, but those were cool.

                      And remember, kids, that when they ask you to draw stuff like a tree, you have to make it detailed and full of living creatures, even if your drawing skills are crap and you are not feeling inspired. Because if you just draw a conceptual lollipop-style tree, like in Peanuts, you are underdeveloped.

          1. Pretty common; happened to me as well, anyway.

            Any “different” kids automatically got shuffled to the “slow” classes in elementary school. I think they were just eliminating any kids who might cause the slightest extra effort for the teachers.

            I actually learned some useful things on the tard track. Mainly that many of the other kids weren’t stupid, they just didn’t see any point to memorizing loads of random crap to parrot back on tests. If something caught their interest they suddenly weren’t “slow” at all… but the entire school system was based on “memorize and regurgitate”, which simply didn’t work with that kind of mind.

            In junior high the “slow classes” became the “sports track”, and you had classes segregated with the jocks on one side cutting up and shooting spitballs, and the slow kids who got punished for it, since the jocks were beyond any regular classroom discipline.

            I got put back in the retard/spawrts track in high school since I chose to take ROTC, which hosed scheduling for normal classes. ROTC had the same timeslots as feetball, and since the entire school was organized around the ball players… gave me lots of time to read, though.

            1. Put me in the slow class because I had a speech defect. However, they were saner than most. When I got a 100 on a test where no one else got over a 50, they moved me.

              1. Yes. They tried that with my youngest sister. Just because she didn’t talk much. Why should she, she had her older sisters to talk for her.

                Then 10 years later tried to do the same to our cousin because she was physically handicapped. She’s the one that the education main streaming was all about. Ask my Aunt, get her started and she’ll rant for hours what the law wasn’t intended for.

        2. I Saw my scores in HS. took a look at them in the counselors office when she was called out. 120-138 IQ range

        3. Shared a meme on Facebook today about Imposter Syndrome and feeling like one has only a shallow understanding about a broad range of topics, and is thus thought “smart” while knowing that it is only a shallow understanding.

          The thing is, if one reads broadly and has even a little bit of a good memory, one can speak about various topics, and it doesn’t necessarily say anything about your ability to process information. Except it kind of does, because someone incapable of information processing simply wouldn’t engage in the activity.

          Hanging out with geeks and Odds can bring on a bit of Imposter Syndrome for anyone, until we get out into the broader world and realize that no, we were at home the entire time with the people who were intellectually curious, even if the particular topics under discussion at a given time weren’t ones we cared about.

          1. First Rule of Expertise: All it takes to be the expert in the room on a given topic is to know more about it than anyone else there.

            Corollary: Said knowledge, 90% of the time, can consist of having read a book on the topic.

            1. One of the both very truth and very angering things from The Four Hour Work Week was Tim Feris’s method to become an expert:

              1. Join two or three related trade organizations
              2. Read the three top selling books on your topic
              3. Give one free one-to-three-hour seminar at the closest well-known university
              4. Give two free seminars at branches of well-known big companies such as IBM
              5. Offer to write one or two articles for trade magazines
              6. Join ProfNet which is a service that journalists use to find experts to quote for articles

            2. First Rule Of Wisdom:
              Understand that your knowledge, on ANY topic, is limited and probably contains corrupted data. While you might know FAR MORE about the topic than Person A it is entirely possible that Person A will know something about the topic which is both True and not known by you. As Socrates said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

              Second Rule Of Wisdom:
              Don’t be Socrates. NOBODY likes Socrates.

      2. Although I will channel HWSNBN a bit, it is if you add “for people who think in ways they can communicate with the average”. I have learned the hard way when you break two standard deviations you aren’ thinking like the average person. You’re not smarter; you’re different in a very real way.

        1. Yes. It’s not quantitative, it’s qualitative. They think we’re crazy. We think they’re strange…
          Not happy place to be. But it is place we are.

    3. Not a big IQ proponent (far too narrow),

      IQ is essentially designed and calibrated for its ability to predict how well a person will do in school, particularly college. As a measure of actual functional intelligence it is largely secondary.

      Actual academic achievement is an interaction of two factors: brains and discipline. The highly intelligent often lack discipline because the processes needed to “show their work” are a bore. Jumping through hoops is not an Odd pastime.

      1. “IQ is essentially designed and calibrated for its ability to predict how well a person will do in school, particularly college.”

        My understanding is that it wasn’t designed or calibrated at all; it just fell out of a factor analysis of measurements of cognitive functions as “the common factor” that influenced all the measurements at the same time, to some degree. That’s why activities that are strongly influenced by the common factor are correlated to each other, and measuring reaction time in certain situations can be usefully predictive of performance on a vocabulary test (or vice versa), for, say, a majority of 18-year-olds.

        1. Pretty much how IQ in modern terms, for more generally G, is determined. What is funny is all the people who want to claim this psychological test or that one is better than IQ ignore that:

          1. IQ is the longest and most thoroughly studied.
          2. The methodology used to generate all psychometric measures come from IQ work. It is the standard for developing such measures. While you might reject current conscientiousness measures for a variety of reasons, but embrace other if you reject IQ for methodology you must reject all psychometric measurement.

          1. I know I’ve seen Jordan Peterson make that argument, too. Thing is, I had personally considered psychological research as weaker than work in the hard natural sciences (and the recent replication crisis suggests that opinion wasn’t entirely unjustified), and so had dismissed IQ as a bit dubious. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I found a text that systematically went through and explained the mathematical justification and summarized the methodology of the actual experiments in order to precisely characterize “g”, and reviewed the work that tried to find weaknesses in the model, that I concluded that psychologists might have a point this time. Turns out, every doubt and question I had about IQ has been explicitly investigated by someone hostile to the idea of IQ, plus a few I hadn’t considered. The results (at least up to the publication date of the text) were really solid.

            1. I had personally considered psychological research as weaker than work in the hard natural sciences

              While in general I think that is true as you found ‘g’ is a place where you can see what is possible in the soft sciences.

      2. Actually, it is strongly predictive of life success (well, G is…IQ is a kinda measure of G). Of the major psychological measures, only conscientiousness is as predictive and of the big six (The Big 5 Personality traits and G) it is the hardest and least reliable to measure.

    4. Based on SAT scores, I’m running 145. Although after 30, I want to see what you DID with the intellectual horsepower.

      1. That’s about where I am. But “What I do or did with it” is hard to quantify. What does that even mean? Read a lot, wrote a bit, served in the military, helped people figure out their lives a little bit better?

        Even someone having a “one in a million” IQ (which I certainly do NOT, nor even close), that would mean there’s 7000 of you, more or less. Not all of whom are in a position to do anything with it, either.

      2. Is there a conversion chart? I never did an IQ test, but I did do SATs back in the day

      3. I’m firing in the 155 range and yeah, I’m not impressed with myself.

        In fact, one reason I refuse to consider MENSA is if all you have to show for yourself is your IQ you’re probably a pretty boring person. That was before I met many members. Most I have met confirmed that opinion.

        Want a room full of wasted potential? Go to a MENSA meeting.

        If I need no other proof, Asimov was a member and made sure you knew it. I don’t think RAH ever joined. ‘nough said.

        1. To be fair, from comments Asimov made over the years, his local MENSA group was *vastly* different than the… ah… social inepts who populated the one near me…

          I mean, I *know* I’m blind to all the signaling and nonverbal communication (pheromones? who the hell knows?) that most other people seem to use so fluently they’re not even aware of it. That one meeting at least showed me there were people who were worse at that “social” thing than I was.

          1. Asimov couldn’t wait to write about how smart he was. In fact, he took the opportunity to do so at the expense of his own son in his third volume of memoirs. He also is the man who clearly was upset RAH was the first Grandmaster of the SFWA (we now know Dr. Pournelle invented the award for RAH).

            If you did the convention scene in the 80s in the Northeast and wanted to meet Asimov you were told:

            1. Find what party he will be at.
            2. Find the biggest breasts there.
            3. Stand next to them.

            Seriously, that is how you did it.

            I find it the icon of liberalism in early sci-fi is exactly what the libtards of today claim everyone in fandom is like.


    5. “They are also highly intelligent. The average IQ of those we studied was 115 to 120.”

      The group had an average IQ in 115-120. That’s more than a standard deviation above what you’d get if you just pick people at random and tested them, and implies half of them were in the top 10-15% of the population. Perhaps that’s enough that the characteristic would be highly noticable, and worthy of remark. The high end of the cohort certainly would be.

  20. On Neanderthalization, I suspect that, depending on which genes have been preserved down through the generations, that it would only take about 5 generations of odd selection to start reliably showing distinctive physical and mental traits. Whether that would include brow and occipital ridges and enhanced musculature will have to remain an unknown until the experiment is actually attempted.

    1. Grumble grumble. Boys have brow and occipital ridges (probably dainty for Neanderthals) and get ultra musculature from both sides. Minimal exercise and they look like eight lifters. Eh.

      1. I prefer to lift 12 to 16 myself. Could never get into drinking beer from those half height cans.

      2. Since one of the last Neanderthal population centers was at Gibraltar, no big surprise. Same thing in Ireland and Scotland, parts of Germany, and pretty much all the Amorites.

    2. Sounds like we’d better get started then, there is a long road ahead.

      So, uh, anyone know where that warehouse of Odd-liking girls is?

        1. No no no no no! I can’t possibly do that until I’m at least somewhat stable on my feet and could hypothetically support a family!

          backs away in a panic while turning a bright shade of chicken

          I will take that as an invitation to comment / make a fool of my self more often though :D.

          1. I will take that as an invitation to comment / make a fool of my self more often though :D.

            It is unlikely you can make a fool of yourself with anything like the frequency I manage.

          2. The aardvark offers bonbons.

            Also, wishes to draw your attention to the way the big, scaly dragon has a collar with the name Fluffy because you don’t argue with the dragon about the name. Also, he does good BBQ.

            And it’s safe to swim in the minion pool despite the sea serpent. She’s dating Fluffy.

      1. Third floor. Door with the flowers in blue and purple on it.

        Problem is that the girls tend to wander. . . at least to Fluffy’s BBQ.

  21. As I like to tell psychiatrists and psychologists, “Whose measure are we using for ‘normal,’ anyhow? I am quite normal for me!”

    Odd, and age is just a number. My wife and I are 17 years apart in addition to both being Odd – we’ll have been married 20 years on 01MAY. Most of our associated friends and family didn’t give us six months – THAT was 22 years ago. There was some friction with my wife being two years younger than my mother, but my getting killed – again – seemed to have settled that. Yeah – /really/ Odd!)

    Take heart, there IS someone out there for everyone! No matter how Odd you are (asocial, Aspie, ADD, hyperintelligent, cyclothymic – which is the mildest sort of bipolar – manic type, PTSD, major depressive disorder, and a bunch of other conditions I don’t feel like remembering right now. How she puts up with me, I don’t know. How I put up with her is simple; she’s nowhere near as much work as I am – I am under NO illusions about myself!)

    Even if I did have to look all over the world to find her (and she was in California – go figure. I could have saved myself a ton of looking – including going to Antarctica, twice! Ah, well, I did enjoy Antarctica, even getting Wintered Over the second trip…)

    Odd? No, I think I fully qualify as Weird!

    1. There was the morning I woke up and considered that, as I wasn’t always all that excited to be stuck with with my company, why should I expect otherwise of The Spouse? 

  22. “If you’re Odd, you often partner late or compromise about it, or not at all.”

    Yeah. 😦 It doesn’t help if you live in one of the more infamous dating deserts. There are places where the number of quality men far outnumbers the number of quality women…and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD, is notorious for being one of them. A wonderful place for a married man to raise a family, but a wretched place for a single man to get a date.

    1. It’s strange that the mission field would also be a huge dating desert, as the number of female single missionaries tends to far outnumber the single men, but it is.
      For one, you’re in a fishbowl because you live in such a small community, which tends to instill a mutual caution.
      Then, if it doesn’t work, you still got to see that person day in and day out.
      And there’s the fact that male desperation tends to give off an almost visible aura which ladies tend to find repellent.
      We do tend to get one successful couple every 2-3 years, but no more than that.

      1. Thinking about it more, and we see something similar with our missionary kids at our high school here on the field- they don’t date each other for the most part either- but those who do usually get married a few years after grad.

    2. Try being in the USAF for 20 years. Starting at Kadena AFB, Minot ND, Edwards AFB CA (Mohave Desert), Avians Italy, Wurthsmith AFB MI. 100 miles north of Detroit hunting fishing area. Woomera Australia 300 hundred miles into their desert. Finally Barksdale AFB LA but by then I was 33. And was still working shift work!!

      1. Kadena wasn’t bad if you could speak Japanese well, and inhabited places that the young enlisted men didn’t normally go (i.e. not bars.) Same situation in South Korea, only speaking Korean in that case. (Did I speak it well? No. But I did speak it better than 90% of the other GIs.)

        1. Kadena no money. Saving up to get my first car. Worked shifts swings and mids.

      2. I spent about five years in the Edwards/Palmdale area. I think Pax is worse for dating prospects. With Edwards, you can go to Palmdale and Lancaster…or further south into the exurbs of Los Angeles. Which are the high-end ones. With Pax River, the least distant suburbs of DC are the low-end ones. Professionals will not find much there.

        Woomera…OK, that’s the middle of nowhere. Sounds like Yuma, or China Lake.

  23. Oh, I want this story to have a happy ending for me.

    But, at my current rate of play, I know the only reason why I’m not a serial killer or homicidal maniac or dead is superb parental role models and a sheer stubbornness that makes me probably first against the wall when The Revolution comes.

    “Oh, he gaslit me by telling me I was wrong!” Honey child, try being in the fifth grade and having the five most popular kids in your classroom set you up to either be embarrassed for years or arrested for a felony because they thought it would be funny.

    “You’re smart, kind, and a decent human being. Why is someone like you still single?” Because I can count the number of girlfriends that have lasted longer than six months on one hand and not cheat by using binary. The usual reason was “I’m not happy,” which seems to translate into “you won’t do everything I want, instantly, for no other return than maybe about a quarter as much time of affection.” The longest one? I probably dodged a very nasty case of herpes from her by about three weeks.

    “Why did you date her?” Because for the few brief moments between the endorphin rush and the realization that I was her personal wallet, I was happy.

    “Why did you work that event, that convention?” Because, for a brief moment, I thought I could do something that mattered. And, I got pushed out because I was an Odd among Odds. And, I got to the point where I wouldn’t be abused and treated like a cheap mushroom.

    And, why did I do all that? Because that momentary rush of hope was better than the deep black despair or roaring red rage that seem to be my only emotional states otherwise. Falling back into those states when things fail feels worse, but I don’t like those places.

    (Therapy helps. So do the medications.)

    It’s lonely as hell to be an Odd-and I’m happy as hell for anyone that can find joy in this world as one.

    Am I asking for too much to have some of my own?

    1. Hanged if I know, man. Been wondering the same myself–though my experience hasn’t been nearly as…traumatic…as yours.

      Guess all a man can do is not quit.

      1. I’m a bit rough, a bit strange, and a bit odd…but, I’ve never missed a bill, never ditched a day of work, and helped people when and as much as I could.

    2. No, it’s not asking too much. Seriously, do I need to put up a want add page? For members only?
      Also, if you haven’t read Dr. Peterson’s 12 rules, do so. We’re all full of snakes. It’s how we deal with it.

        1. Why is that? If I were to be asked by a non-Christian “Whose books should I give my teenage son, that he might grow and do well?” Drake would be in the top five.
          (I might also do so for a teenage daughter.)

          1. There is something about David Drake’s characters that I’ve summed up like this-

            “With very few exceptions, the protagonists of a Drake novel know that they’re probably to certainly damned and going to Hell. Express ticket, no stops in Purgatory. Yet, they will keep trying to find a way to get into Heaven sincerely, even if it’s by blowing the Pearly Gates open. And, making a sincere effort to try and keep others from going to Hell. And organizing a prison breakout from Hell. And organizing a massive rescue effort from Hell to Earth and back again.

            “In general, most of them would try to make sure that Hell had only the right people there. Which might include them, but because they made those choices. It’s the other people that didn’t have a choice, that couldn’t make any other choice, were not able to make any other choice, they want to help.”

          2. The very first one that comes to mind would be two of Keith Laumer’s novellas, usually packaged together as “The Day Before Forever & Thunderhead.”

            I didn’t have any useful role models when I was growing up, so I assembled my own, piecemeal, from the things I read. That was a key piece.

      1. We’re all full of snakes.

        Tasty, tasty snakes. Corned cobra on rye. Rattlesnake reuben. Cottonmouth club. Python pita.

            1. Huh. The rattlesnake I had some years ago was more like fish, sort of flaky. I wonder if the difference was how it was prepared?

            1. And by extension, Dinosaur should taste Iike chicken, thus preserving universal polar spinwise and antispinwise causality.

          1. Sliced very very thin, lightly grilled, served with kraut and a good nutty swiss-type (recommended: Jarlsberg or possibly Emmentaler but not Beat Schlatter) on rye.

            For the Cobra club it is recommended that one use Boa bacon.

      2. The ratio of single Mormon men to single Mormon women is not in my favor. That said, I’ve deeply considered the issue and I rank both happily single and unhappily single as better than unhappily married.

        The nieces and nephews assuage most of the maternal longings. They are good kids and I’m blessed to be their aunt.

    3. Speaking as one who’s Odd, and just about to hit the down slope of his 40’s, and has been single for all of it, it really could be worse.
      One of the few things I like about Bookface is looking at the current lives of gals I dated or had serious crushes on, and praising God we never got married.
      For instance, my twoo laav of my HS years is now a vegan kook. Another has… issues. And so on. Lots of my friends have long tales of woe following marriages that just didn’t take (or worse).
      I may be unmarried, but at least I don’t have to send checks to someone who hates me… well, other than the Federal government.

      1. Sometimes you’ve got to give thanks.

        She was the one that I’d wanted for all times
        And each night I’d spend prayin’ that God would make her mine
        And if he’d only grant me this wish I wished back then
        I’d never ask for anything again

        Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
        Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
        That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
        Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

        She wasn’t quite the angel that I remembered in my dreams
        And I could tell that time had changed me
        In her eyes too it seemed

        1. Somewhere once I heard it said that God really does answer all prayers. But sometimes the answer is “No.”

          Then again, when you’re an Odd among Odds (is that Odd squared?) and every attempt you make to change your circumstances for the better ends in catastrophic failure, eventually you learn to not even bother asking anymore.

    4. “…set you up to either be embarrassed for years or arrested for a felony because they thought it would be funny.”

      I remember reading about that case.

      That’s one of those behaviors I’d like to see Congress pass a law saying the punishment is enslavement for life…to the poor schmuck whose life you tried to ruin.

      1. I’ve seen at least one of the “popular” people from that time relatively recently.

        While I wish no ill will to most men and women, learning what happened to him makes me smile slightly… 🙂

  24. I’ve gotten to the point that to be honest, I just love being single.
    Not that I would be opposed to dating or marriage, but she’d better be one heck of a gal.

    1. It’s not that I love being single. I’m just living my life, doing the things, and not inclined to change my routines or plans without a good reason. And going to “the bars” and MAYBE meeting someone is not a good reason, especially after a day of dealing with people.

      That is what cons are for, a little bit. Meeting people, who may know people. Expanding my social circle with people I know to be interesting.

      Okay, and as I approach the end of my Naval career (3.5 years left!), maybe getting back to the States on a fairly permanent basis, and being able to look around a bit more.

      1. Lack of selection does tend to discourage making a selection. So does moving every 18 months (see: why many commercial pilots don’t marry early)

  25. My current joke is that I take after my namesake and will marry when I’m over 2,000 years old.

    1. By then you’ll be real set in your ways. . . .

      Spending much of your adult life single, I have concluded, is a good way to stay single because it involves tearing your life up.

  26. “This ties in with cozy mysteries — don’t ask — where I’ve been reading a lot of them. And running into things like characters saying “We’d get married someday, but I’m still young” from characters who are about 30. And those are largely “normal” (average) characters.”

    From “The Sign of the Four”, Dr. Watson reflecting on Mary Morstan: “If she were seventeen at the time of her father’s disappearance she must be seven-and-twenty now — a sweet age, when youth has lost its self-consciousness and become a little sobered by experience.” Sounds like 27 is plenty young, here. Maybe non-cozy mysteries also have this characteristic?

  27. My recollection from an Intro to Psychology course some thirty forty years ago is that the IQ tests were developed in the early 20th Century for the purpose of college admissions, in an effort to predict academic performance, and that it was adjusted according to review of how well it predicted such performance.

    It is always possible I misunderstood the original explanation, mis-remembered it, or the professor who fed it to me was loaded with that which often hits fans.

    It is also possible there were multiple causes for its development or that the origin story has been retconned for a new, more enlightened era. The fact remains that it is a far less accurate measure of that which it attempts to evaluate than most people believe it to be. For example, more than two standard deviations either way you’ve an excellent chance of it being utterly useless. It presents an illusion of accuracy and users ought always be aware of its limitations.

    1. It is a multiple cause thing (Wiki has a decent enough article).

      Binet was after identifying retarded children, but at a lower age (under 10).

      The US military first started using it as early as WWI.

      I would say it sounds like your class in the 70s was about 20 years behind. There has been a ton of work, including unbelievable efforts to root out cultural influences.

      1. Yet… cultural influences are a major part of whether a person can/will actually *do* anything with superior intelligence.

  28. I’m a little late to the thread, but have I got a girl for you! My daughter is 28, she’s already an author (she was featured on one of the book promos several months ago), is geeky and nice, as well as having a decent paying job. She’s having a terrible time finding odds like herself in the Raleigh NC area. Any of you who have a guy in the 24 to 38 year range who enjoy SF, anime, comics, etc. Please shoot me an e-mail, and I’ll be happy to send you a copy of her dating profile. My email is djrothman at hotmail dot com. If you want to get a feel the stuff she does, visit rozfire.com.

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