Some Awesomeness, Social Norms, and the Lack Thereof

I graduated from high school in May. A whole summer and a trip through the mail (i.e. being lost) later, my graduation present from one of my very best friends finally reached me yesterday. I just felt the need to share this awesomeness with the internet, because…well, here:

Can you handle the awesome?

No, your eyes do not deceive you. That, my friends, is a pack of sushi-shaped erasers (to add to my iPod eraser, horse erasers, and Chinese food erasers) and a box of zombie-themed magnetic poetry. Don’t judge, these are exciting things.

Speaking of judging, I was given these gifts in the dining hall late last night. After we laughed about them and discussed how I was the answer to the question “Now, who would like these?” (what does that say about me?), I set them on the side of the table…and proceeded to get several weird/interested looks from passers-by. Because, let’s face it–zombie magnetic poetry? Not exactly a typical dinnertime centerpiece. This reminded me of this project I have to do for my sociology class, in which I must observe a societal norm, violate it (legally), and record people’s responses.

Was I technically doing that now? I guess so. I was displaying a rather odd object in an ordinary setting; it was sure to attract attention. We then proceeded to discuss other norms I could violate.

Norm #1: People talk in a normal voice.

Violation #1: Shout at everyone you meet.

Norm #2: People stand in line.

Violation #2: Cut in front of everyone.

Norm #3: Dress according to gender.

Violation #3: Cross-dress (might try to get someone to accompany me if this goes down).

Norm #4: People walk forwards in a relatively straight line.

Violation #4: Walk backwards down one of the busiest streets on campus.

Norm #5: People walk around couples holding hands.

Violation #5: Walk right between couples.

Now, I have many concerns about these. For one, people can get violent, and I’m not a large person–I don’t exactly want to get cussed out or shoved around. On the other hand, I would love to see people’s reactions to any of these violations. It kind of brightens some people’s days, you know, when they see someone behaving oddly. Of course, even those have norms. You could argue that it’s socially acceptable to be socially unacceptable by dressing up in one of those body suits and running around high-fiving people. Or maybe it’s socially acceptable to be socially unacceptable by yelling rude words at your friends. But it’s socially unacceptable to be socially unacceptable by interrupting PDA. It’s weird to think that there are even norms regarding violating norms, but I honestly think that they exist. There are some things that are just weird, and others that just aren’t done.

I will definitely be reporting on my societal norm violation, whenever I plan to accomplish that. And ideas would be much appreciated.

Hope you enjoyed this bit of awesomeness for the day~

~J

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