Published January 14, 2024

An Examination of Normal 

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan

A Slice of Life 

Well, that’s different. So different that it is normal. Huh? 

When purchasing a cup of coffee a few days ago at a local convenience store, choosing what brew I would try, I found myself staring at normal as a selection. I was expecting to see Carribean sunrise, morning breakfast blend, or maybe extra-dark French roast. But normal? What in the world is that? 

I paused for a moment, my finger hovering over the “normal” button, wondering if I dared give normal a try. I did, cautiously. The coffee streamed into the Styrofoam cup just the same as anything other than “normal” would. Tasted normal too, I guess. But I started thinking that something just was not right about normal. 

That’s right. It seemed normal to me that a choice of normal coffee was abnormal. I mean, what is normal really? Does it even exist? Is it normal to wonder that? I wonder. 

Anyway, there it was, normal coffee in a normal cup. It seemed odd to see the “normal” label in this day of Starbucks and Caribou and countless other specialized coffee choices. Normal is weird. How can that be? 

Normal anything used to be, well – normal. Now, I think, the new normal is abnormal, which is becoming the normal. In one generation we’ve gone from coffee, perhaps with cream or sugar, which was normal, to an endless variety of brands, blends, and flavorings in a simple cup of coffee within a single generation. Presto! The new normal. And that’s just coffee. 

It used to be normal to leave doors unlocked. That’s gone from normal to abnormal. Can’t do that anymore. The new normal is cameras and security systems. All I wanted was a simple cup of salted caramel coffee from Jamaica with pink artificial sweetener and I was face to face with the reality of normal. Cripes! 

I couldn’t get “normal” off my mind. That gave me more energy than the normal coffee. Start thinking about how many things you once considered normal that are now abnormal, and you will find the list never ends. 

Progress? Evolution? Changing times? I guess so. Normal becomes abnormal until abnormal becomes normal. But for how long? 

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