5 Reasons Why Being the Odd One Out is a Good Thing

The way some people talk, you would think that being different from those around you was an inherently bad thing – particularly if the difference is externalized in the way you appear. Speaking from personal experience, this is at best a massive oversimplification, and at worst a covert attempt to enforce muffin-ness.


1) The Odd One Out is not easily mistaken for someone else. Ever been introduced under another’s name? Awkward for everyone. The only time I myself have ever been mistaken for someone else was the year I spent in uniform – school, not military. And speaking of the military, there are medals for conspicuous gallantry, so why not one for being gallantly conspicuous? This guy deserves one, for a start.

2) Conformists have to re-outfit themselves as often as the ‘in’ thing changes. The Odd One Out thus saves a packet on overpriced poor quality items and is still free to change their look whenever they please.

3) Ever played the game “I’ve Never”? It’s a party game – each player is issued with a limited number of tokens. Then each takes turns saying something they’ve never done. Anyone who has done that loses a token. “I’ve never owned a smartphone.” “I’ve never used a hair dryer.” “I’ve never owned a car.” Whatever it is that makes you the Odd One Out is now solid gold. Go forth and conquer.

4) Relative immunity from peer pressure. Peer pressure is basically just pressure to conform. The threat held over you is that you will be the Odd One Out if you don’t. You already are the Odd One Out, so what’s to lose by refusing to submit?
I am aware that ostracism can be a painful thing, but trust me, it isn’t friendship if you have to buy it at the cost of being yourself.

5) You’re outside the game. In Victorian times, the social code was so static it was published in books, which told you the correct thing to do in any given situation. But today, the codes and rules are not only unwritten but mostly unspoken – and unlike the Laws of the Medes and the Persians, they constantly change.

Frankly, I wouldn’t even play a game under those conditions (Mao is what they play in Purgatory), let alone live my life that way. Be yourself, be considerate, and if anyone mocks or scorns you, give thanks that you don’t have to dance to their contorted little tune – because you are the Odd One Out.

Agree? Disagree? None of the above? Your thoughts welcomed!

Look Closer

One of the things I collect images of for my scrapbook is buildings I like the look of – doesn’t matter if it’s a one-room cottage or a vast palace complex, if I like it, I stick it in there. (I also like browsing real estate magazines for the perfect house, secure in the knowledge that it doesn’t exist and I will therefore never have to worry about how to pay for it.)

There was one picture, however, which I thought long and hard about before including in my scrapbook. It was from a magazine – the travel section. A handsome two-story brick building glows in the warm light of an autumn day. A large tree opposite the building balances it and reflects the autumn colouring. A large wrought-iron gateway stands in the foreground. It looks spacious and idyllic.

Look closer.

The fence seems a bit out of place here. Tall grey fence-posts, bent in at the top, wrapped in barbed wire. There are letters in the wrought-iron archway. They spell ARBEIT MACHT FREI – work makes you free.

This is the entrance to Auschwitz. Over a million people walked in those gates who never walked out again.

But I put this picture in my scrapbook, all the same. I keep it there to remind me that looks can be deceiving, that the foulest evil can present the fairest face, and that the most handsome of buildings can nonetheless stand at the mouth of hell.

It reminds me not to place too much stock in what the home of my dreams might look like. For in truth, what we desire above all else for our home is something no cut-and-pasted clipping can display: to live in peace, loving and loved.