The I Am Different
nodule is a little recognized structure at the back of your brain,
right at that bulge before your head starts turning into your neck.
It belongs to the taxonomic category: Cooperation Incentive, a powerful
class of occasionally toxic brain agents designed to help you deal
with the necessariness of Other People.
The nodule is
shaped like a green onion. Which is why we sometimes call it the
Amazing Green Onion of Differentness. Except that unfortunately
it isn't green, it's brain colored. Oh well.
long stalks of differentness reach down from the back of your head
like a ponytail until they come to rest in close proximity to your
spine. This is so that they can beam alarming messages through your
Central Nervous system to the rest of your body.
The onion part
is at the top and when dormant it is no larger than the little oniony
part of a green onion. When activated however, it can swell up
to the size of a purple Spanish Onion!, throbbing and pulsating
and putting tremendous pressure on the rest of your brain. Ouch!
function of the Green Onion of Differentness is to beam messages
to the rest of your brain telling you that you are different from
Other People. It is particularly fond of obsessing on your physical
appearance, beaming messages that you are too tall, too short, too
fat, too skinny, too ugly, too bald, your nose is too big, your
teeth have big spaces between them or not enough space, or your
skin is bad, or your posture is crooked, or you're too ethnic-looking
or not ethnic enough or your legs are too long because your waist
is too short, or, or ,or.... The Green Onion can go on and on. It
is very creative in what it will decide makes you Physically
Unacceptable and Not Like Other People and therefore doomed
to a hellish isolation in which Other People devote their entire
lives to talking about your big butt behind your back.
Digressionary Fun Onion Fact: Some people have a hellacious
physiological glitch called Body Dysphoric Disorder in which
their Green Onion goes completely out of control, swells up to one
thousand times its normal size and tries to kill them! It tells
them several million times a day that there is something Horribly
Wrong with their Nose Hairs and it makes them stand in front
of a mirror in agony, trying to get rid of Nose Hairs that no one
else can even see. The people who suffer from this disorder do not
find it amusing. You wouldn't either if yours went out of control
and beamed messages of doom to you several million times a day.
People have killed themselves because their Green Onion of Body
Differentness wouldn't shut up.
scoff at things like the Green Onion of Differentness, saying it
doesn't exist, or it's all in your mind, or it's a fanciful farfetched
ridiculous idea. It's not in your mind, it's in your brain, hardwired
in for a reason, and it is never a wise idea to scoff at things
that can kill people. Special Note to the Wise: Do not scoff
at the Onion of Differentness! Treat its lethal power with the
respect it deserves.)
your physical appearance doesn't inspire your Green Onion, then
something else will. Perhaps it is your background, your poverty,
the fact that you were adopted, the fact that you were the only
white kid in a black neighborhood, or the only black kid in a Spanish
neighborhood, or the only smart kid in a stupid neighborhood, or
the only stupid kid in a high-achieving neighborhood. Your miserable
childhood, your parents' divorce, the wealth that set you apart
from everyone and left you with no true friends. If there is
nothing in your background that inspires your Green Onion, then
there is sure to be something about You. Your awkward klutziness,
your dreaminess, your lack of interest in sports, your shyness,
your phobias, your embarrassing family. Your loud mouth, the manners
you never learned, the fact you have never been truly loved, your
asthma, your stuttering, your speech impediment, your lack of a
college degree, lack of a boyfriend or girlfriend, your gayness,
your Jewishness, the fact you have never been married, or that you
got married too young.
If there's nothing
inspiring to your Green Onion in the externals of You, then there
is sure to be something inside of You. Your terrible thoughts,
your terrible feelings, the things you can't and don't say, the
inexplicable depression and sadness, the hidden giddy glee that
is so powerful it must be weird, the way you like to be alone, the
way you are so scared to be alone that no one else could feel that
way. The way you think everyone is against you, or you wonder if
they even notice you're alive at all. The things you think that
no one ever says, the things you wonder about that no one ever mentions,
the things you feel about that don't seem to matter to anyone else,
your secret knowledge and your terrible ignorance of the things
everyone else seems to know automatically.
No matter what
it is about You that inspires your Green Onion to beam messages
to the rest of your brain there is only one hard cold stark bottom-line
conclusion you can draw from its existence: YOU ARE DIFFERENT FROM
the only people who don't receive periodic messages from their brain
telling them that there is this huge gap between their differentness
and all Other People - are people with defective Green Onions. And
the only thing that can be said about such people (and they are
very rare) is that They Are Different From Everyone Else.
In other words, the only people that don't feel different are the
ones that truly are. Just another secret fun amazing fact about
the Green Onion. Courtesy of prettyfedup.com.
You could torture and taunt the truly different about their inner
differentness and defective Onion so that they will feel isolated
and insecure and bad about themselves - which would be so much fun,
except that their Onion is defective and it wouldn't work! Bummer!
The truly insufferably arrogant are just going to stay that way
and there is no point in trying to make them feel bad. Infuriating,
but good to know next time you are considering investing your efforts
in trying to humiliate the arrogant son-of-a-bitch who is ruining
your life. Won't work. Rent a DVD or conquer the world instead.
you want to know how your Green Onion of Differentness works, what
it's there for, how to make the swelling go down and so on. And
so we now bring you the Amazing Green Onion primer, including
more secret fun amazing facts!
there for and how it works:
of the Green Onion of Differentness is to make you feel isolated
so that you will want to feel connected. The purpose of the
Green Onion is to make you feel like you don't fit in so that you
will desperately want to fit in. The purpose of the Green Onion
is to make you crave the cooperation of Other People, their admiration,
acceptance, attention, love, benevolence, charity, kindness, you
name it. It is there to make you seek out Other People as if they
were exactly what your Green Onion thinks they are, the single most
necessary element of the universe. The Green Onion tries to make
you feel bad so your life will get better. It doesn't always work,
The Green Onion, but it is one of those ironic facts of life that
even though it is frequently miserable in its effects, it is just
trying to help you survive.
In fact, it's
one of the most powerful survival tools in your brain's survival
kit and it has quite a kick. The Green Onion of Differentness spurs
people toward becoming artists, and writers, rock stars and movie
stars and media moguls. It spurs people toward Achievement and Fame
and Money and Smartness, as well as Niceness, and Getting Alongness,
Generosity, World Domination, Alienation, Conformity, Rebellion,
Status-Seeking, Cooperation, Hatred, Activism, Compassion, Helpfulness,
Caring, Friendship, Marriage, Alienation, and the Columbine School
Shootings. It leads to Mother Teresa and Hitler. It's pretty
fucking versatile and it attempts to rule anything it comes in contact
How you cope
with your own personal Green Onion of Differentness has a big effect
on your personality, on the You-ness of You. It's like a fucking
steel factory or something, it forges your character. It distorts
you from an unformed globular mass of human beingness into something
potentially useful and perhaps quite unlike what you originally
had in mind. It's a motherfucker of a taskmaster and a lot of the
most important things you learn about surviving in the world, you
learn under its pretty unforgiving tutelage. It's worth getting
to know, because if you are going to have a raging inferno of a
steel factory inside you, it might be nice to know what the fuck
the goddamn thing's doing in there so you can avoid a potentially
crippling Steel Factory Accident. They do happen. Powerful
things can be dangerous.
On the other
hand, if you learn the Safety Precautions, you can often peacefully
co-exist with it, even if it does have the annoying task of forging
your character even when in fact, you don't really even want to
have your character forged, and would often just as soon make do
without a character altogether.
All right, enough
of the apocalyptic Green Onion build-up, let's take a look at how
it actually functions by going through its process step by step.
Step One: Since
the purpose of the Green Onion of Differentness is to help you secure
cooperation from Other People, naturally it kicks into gear exactly
when you are not receiving cooperation from Other People. Your
body detects an Other People Cooperation Deficit, sends a
message to your Green Onion to swell and throb so you start feeling
Different and isolated. In other words, you will feel most isolated
from Other People exactly when you need them most. This makes
sense, after all you feel the hungriest when you haven't had anything
to eat, that's what hunger's there for, to encourage you to eat.
But it's damned unpleasant, this Green Onion Cooperation Deficit
response mechanism, because it makes you feel like the one thing
you need most, acceptance from Other People is now impossible to
achieve because you feel so goddamn different.
Let's take an
example. You are in second grade. (Being an important survival
mechanism, the Green Onion often kicks in during childhood.) You
just moved to a new school. You are small, skinny, rather pale,
and you have asthma. Your parents are weird. They love you, but
they do not act like other parents. They act like the only people
who count in the world are the people in your family and they do
things however they want, which is weirdly.
The other kids
in your new school are not small, pale, and sickly. They are tan,
loud, aggressive, and confident. They push people on the playground.
You are one of the people they push. You do not understand their
background or how they do things or why. You don't know why they
push you. Yo do know why they don't pick you for their teams - because
you suck and they don't like you. You don't exactly why they don't
like you, but you do know that you don't know how to be like them.
are tall and intimidating. They don't pay any attention to you except
occasionally to sort of snappishly suggest that you get more loud,
confident, tan, and aggressive and less small, sickly, and pale.
Your parents do not understand. They think you are wonderful just
the way you are. Clearly you are not. When you try to explain
this to them, they immediately suggest that you do something completely
unlike yourself, such as invite a loud, obnoxious scary schoolmate
over or 'learn to stand up for yourself' and so on. Obviously, if
they really thought you were so wonderful they wouldn't suggest
you do such dangerous things. They do not do what you want, which
is explain Other People. They are loving idiots and you bear the
sad burden of being more knowledgeable than them and having to protect
them from the harshness of your Real World. You stop telling them
things. You are utterly alone. You Green Onion throbs and throbs
and throbs and you feel so different and so isolated. You Are
Not Like Other Kids.
Back when you
were in first grade things weren't like this. You went to a neighborhood
school where you knew everybody and you had friends. You played.
The teachers were nice. You were learning to read. Your parents
were fun. You had good times. You did not feel different. You did
not crave and obsess about Other People, because you had plenty
of them. They were spilling over, there were so many of them, more
than enough. You were blissfully unaware of the existence of the
dreaded Green Onion.
when you got into 2nd grade was that the cooperation of Other People
was snatched out from under you like a rug. You faced Sudden Deprivation.
A vital nutrient disappeared from your environment. You were fucked.
This leads us to an important Principle of Differentness:
is Not Your Fault. It is caused by Other People. The throbbing
pain of a swollen Onion is caused by what Other People do, namely,
not fucking cooperating with you - fuckers! It will feel like your
fault. It is not. It will feel like it is your fault because it
is Your Problem. And your body knows this and knows it has
to spur You to take action to solve the problem. The Green Onion
is a problem-solving module. Your Problem. Their Fault. Their Fault.
It can be helpful
to remember this if you start entering Isolation Green Onion
Hell as an adult - because you are hideously fat, or hideously
depressed, or having hideous personal problems, or are hideously
mateless, or hideously unsuccessful, or hideously fired from your
job, or hideously disgraced, or hideously whatever. The problem
is not that you are hideous. The problem is that you are facing
Severe Cooperation Withdrawal or Chronic Cooperation Deficit,
or a similar Cooperation Shortage. You are battling the massive
tide of Other People and it's goddamn fucking exhausting. Particularly
when your Onion is throbbing like a migraine and you are severely
considering offing yourself to get it to shut up. Your task here
is not to fix your hideousness - a frustrating and futile endeavor
because your hideousness is not causing the problem. Your task
is to secure the cooperation of Other People. A daunting task
indeed, but one that offers some hope of convincing your Green Onion
to shrink back down to normal size and shut the fuck up!
So how does
your Green Onion go about the task of securing the Cooperation of
Other People? Well, let's take the second grade example. There you
are in second grade, in Green Onion Hell, and your Green Onion gets
busy. Under its influence, you try a lot of different things. You
try not to be so sickly or to hide it at least. You try to act like
the other kids. You fail. You try to make friends. You fail at that.
You try to be funny. You try to be quiet so people won't pick on
you. You try to be smart. You try to learn your place in the pecking
order. You try going off by yourself and reading all the time. You
try causing trouble to get attention. You trying being more sickly
so you can stay home from school. You try developing a special talent.
You try explaining your problem. You try hiding it. You try developing
nerves of steel. You try being excruciatingly self-conscious. You
try being more determined and trying harder than everyone else and
becoming super-competitive in your chosen fields. You try picking
on other kids so someone will be worse off than you. You try being
polite and helpful and friendly. You try to get adults to like you
since kids won't. You try learning to be ingratiating and self-deprecating
so people won't hit you. You try making friends with people who
don't go to your school. You try being miserable. You try crying.
You try fighting back. You try standing up for yourself. You try
thinking about running away from home. You try every fucking thing
you can think of, even the ones that won't work.
At the end of
all your trying, you will have completed Green Onion Boot Camp
and Green Onion Special Training School. Green Onion boot camp
is far rougher than anything the Navy Seals could dish up. And at
the end, you will have an arsenal of things that do work, and a
special Warning Placard listing things that don't work. For you,
being funny worked. Actually getting in fistfights didn't. Or for
you, being smart worked, being friendly didn't. For you, going off
by yourself and detoxifying yourself from the Horrible Toxic
Other People Non-Cooperation Chemicals worked and trying to
be popular didn't. Or for you, being popular worked and being smart
never did. For you, being mean to everyone worked, being sweet and
vulnerable never did. For you, getting more sickly worked, trying
to compete never did. For you, learning to play the guitar worked,
finishing school didn't. For you being independent and cool worked,
being ingratiating and needy didn't. For you, being ingratiating
and needy worked, striking out on your own didn't. Defiance worked,
or craven fear, or asking for reassurance, or special bonding with
one close friend, or not being close with anybody but friendly with
everybody or, or, or....
Somehow or another,
you found the Other People survival tools that worked for you and
learned which ones not only didn't, they burned hotter than a flaming
hot poker. Your bitter Other People Disappointments, those
spectacular moments of Non-Cooperation are burned in. You may have
achieved only partial success in your attempts to secure Cooperation
From Other People. You may have learned that Other People are Cooperative
Enough if you are uptight and driven for success, but they give
you a fucking hard time if you slack off and actually fucking enjoy
your life. And that may be a steep price to pay. You may still feel
Different because you can't relax, because you're so uptight and
you may still desperately wish you could Be Like Other People and
Have Fun. Your Green Onion may have settled down once you learned
to Strive for Perfection, No Matter How Ridiculous, but just let
you experience some hard-ass Non-cooperation from Other People and
it will kick up again, flare into action, swell, and throb.