There is a floor in my building that the elevator frequently stops on. It’s the fourth floor. The fourth floor isn’t unlike any other floor on my building; it blends right in. But the tenants on that floor, the people who always are leaving it or going to it, are typically retarded. They travel in fairly large groups as there are usually at least 4 of them and they flood the small cabin of the elevator odoriferously testing both its maximum occupancy and the tolerance of personal space of those waiting to go to lunch or go home or head up to their office.
I really like the retarded people. They always seem to be in good spirits, they tell each other “I love you” a lot, they’re enthusiastic about pretty much everything (except maybe personal hygene and doing laundry – but I know I don’t shower everyday and there have certainly been some morning-afters where I know my pores are seeping with whatever the by-product of my body cleansing itself of a straopheric BAC is). But today as I took a trip down the elevator and lamented as it passed the 4th floor without hesitation I wondered what retarded people think of each other.
Last night on Cold Case (which was the first, and most likely last time I have watched it) there was a story of a high school cheerleader fending off the demons of peer pressure. This came to mind as the glowing numerator above me blinked off from 4 and on to 3 and for some reason I thought “I really like those retarded people. I wonder if they like each other?” And then I started wondering if maybe there are clicks just like all of us experienced in high school.
Could there be a retarded nerd, or a retarded bad-ass? I have actually seen 2 or 3 of them smoking cigarettes – maybe they’re the bad-ass retarded people? Maybe there are retarded cheerleaders and retarded jocks, retarded band nerds and retarded hot vocal jazz chicks? Do they make fun of each other? If so, how? Is it okay to make fun of people with the same degree of mental retardation as you and uncool to pick on the “retarded retarded” people no matter how cool of a retarded person you are?
Then I really started to fixate on the idea of “cool retarded” people. What makes them cool? Do they have the best shoes? Or maybe their motor skills are slightly better. It could possibly be they pick up the most chicks – like maybe one of the cool retarded people’s claim to fame is “Yeah, I totally made out with an average person the other night.”
Or maybe they have cool catch phrases like “Are you down with my syndrome?!” and “that’s average!”
None of this is probably the case. Why? Because I’m the retarded one. My social upbringing was such that I learned somewhere to not like people because of the way they looked. Or to judge someone because of the clothes they wear, the back-pack they have, or how attractive they are. If someone is good at sports I’m supposed to think they’re awesome but if they’re good at math, I’m supposed to call them a dork. If someone’s better than me at something I should make fun of them so they can feel inferior in some way.
I’m guessing those people on the fourth floor wouldn’t ever call you a name and I bet you any money they don’t care how good you are at sports. If you’re good at math I bet they think that’s pretty cool. There are most likely a lot of things that the average person does that they think is really neat and if you said hello and smiled at them they’d return it in kind and not walk away thinking “man that guy was a real douche” or “ohmyGod! Did you see that girl’s jeans? SHA! AS IF!” Nope. They walk away thinking “What a cool guy, he said hello to me and smiled!” or “Man that lady smelled nice!”
And while perhaps they’re not able to make the most complex of thoughts I’m going to make it my goal to be a little bit more retarded from now on, and I hope you’ll join me in getting down with the syndrome.