Day 221: Breaking The Norms

I was always told to not sit too close to the TV. We all were. It’s a normal thing to be told. But I never really listened, as NES and Genesis controller cords were short. My parents would get even more mad if I pulled the console away from the TV so it could reach the couch. So I can’t play video games on the couch and I can’t sit too close to the TV. Parents. Just never satisfied.

With the advent of wireless controllers, I started sitting farther away from the TV. In turn, I somehow got worse at video games. Years of sitting to close to the TV had deteriorated my vision. I think. I might just have shitty eyesight. We all do. This is America. Despite my horrible gaming skills, I still persist in my MLB The Show addiction. I spend a disgusting amount of time playing it. I even bought a gaming monitor to improve my response time and prevent my wife from ripping my head off. It was a win-win investment, but in playing the game, I was still lose-lose.

This morning, I was feeling frisky and decided to go in an online match. This unfortunately lined up with Rachel eating her breakfast. The coffee table that the monitor resides would have to be lifted, planted the monitor right square in my face. While it felt odd at first, it only took a few seconds to adjust. That was when it dawned on me: it’s the same thing as using a computer monitor. In fact, it is a computer monitor.

I discovered a great paradox. My generation and generations before me were conditioned to never sit too close to the TV. Yet we were encouraged to have computer monitors in our face and still are. It makes little sense, especially considering that modern monitors are the same size as our old family televisions.

After pitching a perfect frame, I went up to bat against this chump’s created pitcher. He threw mid-90s heat with a little bit of English. And for the first time, I could actually see the ball. It was a revelation. I couldn’t miss. Before recording my second out, I had already steamrolled him for 10 runs. He gave up shortly after. My next opponent had Corey Kluber on the mound, a pitcher that I’m historically terrible against. I lit The Klubot up for 8 runs in a 11-4 shellacking. Suddenly, I wasn’t too terrible at The Show. All it took was to put the monitor 15 inches from my face. You know, the same distance I use when I’m writing or doing other things with precision.

And yet, I look like a total maniac when I do that. But why? At work, I used to read books in my downtime. When someone walked into the office and saw me reading a book, they thought I had lost my mind. But how is it any different that having my face buried in the phone? Driving home the same point, I used to wear a pumpkin costume to school. While I was trying a little too hard to play the part of oddball stoner guy, the fashion choice felt justified. It was warm, cozy and made me feel good about my obese body. There was nothing in the dress code that said I couldn’t do it. But people were still befuddled that I dressed that way. My question to them was, “Why aren’t you wearing a pumpkin costume?” But that’s a story for a different time. Maybe Day 269. I’ll start a draft.

“What other norms can I get away with breaking?”, I thought to myself. But alas, I had to get ready for work. I started brushing my teeth and then glanced over at the couch. I could sit on the couch. There’s no problem with sitting on the couch. So I did. It’s only 15 feet from the bathroom sink. I was going to be standing at the sink for 2 minutes anyway. I might as well use that time cozy on the couch, catching a snippet of Below Deck: Sailing Yacht. That’s a much better brushing experience if you ask me. Dentist chairs are comfortable, so why are we expected to be uncomfortable when brushing our teeth? Rachel didn’t see it this way. She thought I was losing my mind.

And I probably am. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that. The world has lost its mind, wouldn’t it make sense to lose ours as well? Breaking norms has made me a better video baseball player, a more comfortable dresser and more content tooth brusher. Just imagine what breaking stupid little norms could do for you. So next time you have to stop yourself from doing something out of potential embarrassment, stop yourself from stopping yourself. It’s 2021. We deserve to live our best lives.

– TeeCoZee