January 16, 2014
People are strange when you’re a stranger; faces look ugly when you’re alone.
Women seem wicked when you’re unwanted; streets are uneven when you’re down.
When you’re strange, faces come out of the rain. When you’re strange No one remembers your name. When you’re strange. When you’re strange. When you’re strange. (People Are Strange lyrics by The Doors from their second album Strange Days released in 1967).
From the time we are old enough to have comprehension of the spoken word (though the lesson is oft preached long beforehand) we are taught that a stranger equals danger. Anyone you do not know has the potential to do you harm. Given the opportunity they will snatch you up and take you away. To where? Well a dark scary place where bad things happen to little children, of course. There’s never any detail and for kids that makes it all the scarier. Letting their imaginations do the work and hopefully burn the idea of “STRANGER DANGER” into their little developing cerebellums.
To be honest and fair this is not always a solid assumption. Not all strangers are dangerous, some are actually kind and good. So is not knowing someone reason enough to pass judgment on them? To place the “unknown” instantly into the EVIL category? Aren’t there other lessons taught at this tender age that counter this? Judge not, lest you be judged yourself. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Yet a person we don’t know is immediately labeled as bad? What sort of long term life lesson are we taught (are we teaching) with this one-sided mentality? To avoid anything you don’t know or understand because it has the potential to possibly do you harm? In the grand scheme of things it would seem this manner of thought would eventually lead to our society’s downfall. But could we take that chance? In reality we can’t. To teach little kids to be open-minded about STRANGER = possible DANGER would have treacherous repercussions.
At this point a point must be pointed out and a questionable question questioned. Strangers are strange to us and thus potential a threat but they are people too. They have parents, families....maybe even children of their own. So if we tell our kids to watch out for strangers, who do strangers tell their kids to watch out for? Are there stranger strangers? Would the strangers, that are strange to strangers, be even stranger to us? And what about those stranger stranger’s kids? Who are they taught to be wary of? The even stranger strangers? We could pursue this and watch as it gets even stranger but we won’t. There cannot be an infinite cycle simply because there is a finite amount of people and thus potential strangers. Ergo we can derive that out there, somewhere in the darkest dark bowels of society, hidden away from most but feared by all there exists...the strangest stranger. If this person, this epitome of strangeness could be located and destroyed would there be a domino effect back up the line? Would strange activity cease? Would stranger danger be replaced by familiar friendly? Probably not. Another stranger would just move up in the ranks and achieve a new level of strangeness.
You know what’s really strange (aside from this article, obviously)? After all this strangeness it’s the realization that everyone including yourself is a stranger. Hopefully you’re not a stranger to yourself. You should know you pretty well. But to someone out there you have been or will be, at one point or another, a stranger. You have struck fear into a heart as an unknowing representative of the great unknown. You were the cause for someone to feel STRANGER DANGER!
Now before you go on the offensive. Before you start defending yourself (which just makes you seem guilty) against not an accusation but a fact. Remember this: a stranger is simply someone you don’t know. You avoid them because their intentions are likewise unknown and the risk of changing that status is high. Thus you are a stranger to someone somewhere. However, if you are one of the good guys or gals feel free to consider yourself not so much a stranger but more of a friend that hasn’t happened yet.
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Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!