There is a fine line between being “unique” and being “…that guy.”
You all know what I mean. There’s that guy (or gal) on campus or at work who doesn’t seem to be in sync with reality. We often label people like this: “80s Girl,” that seems to think it’s still 1985; “Mullet Guy;” “The Dude with the Cape;” “Smells Like Burnt Tacos Lady;” “Ms. Know-It-All;” “The Habitual Organizer;” and so on and so forth. These people are not all totally strange and bizarre; some of them just have that one little quirk that has come to define them.
For example, when I was a freshman in college, I brought my unicycle to campus with me. Unicylcing, quite frankly, is not normal. It is a very rare skill. I thought it would be a lot of fun and that people would think it was super cool. Well, I certainly got the attention I expected, no doubt about it. Pretty girls actually talked to me! The upperclassmen actually took time to stop and watch! People invited me to things! Haters judged my motives (which I actually take great pleasure in)! I thought I was the stuff
But there was a price. You see, I soon noticed that people knew about me, but they didn’t actually know me! I became “The Unicycle Guy.” This was cool for a little bit, until I realized that I was not an individual. I had become something less than a person to the masses – I was, indeed, a circus act. People always stopped me and said, “Oh you’re “The Unicycle Guy!” That’s so cool! Show me a trick.” I felt like one of those organ-grinder monkeys that people gathered to watch and gawk at. My friends would ask people if they knew Kreig, and after a negative response, they would explain, “The Unicycle Guy.” Oh yes! Now they knew who I was! Unicycling had come to define me, and quite frankly, I didn’t like that. Like I said before, I had become something less than an individual. I was entertainment, like the funny guy playing with a fake lightsaber on Youtube (now known as “The Star Wars Kid”), or the Numa Numa guy (also Youtube).
The question followed, then: am I “unique,” or am I “…that guy?” But then I realized, is there really a difference? As far as how we use the term “unique,” no. After all, isn’t that the word we use when we want to politely explain that someone is weird? So I made a decision that I have yet to regret. I laid down my unicycle. I walked away from the label of “Unicycle Guy.” Something very critical became apparent to me that day. Having a name, being a person, is more important than being unique.
Because you know what? We’re all unique anyway. We all have strange hobbies, preferences, and quirks that make us unique. You are the only you there is. No one can possible be you, no matter how hard they try. So stop going for “unique!” Be content with who God made you. You’re unique enough as it is, and no one truly wants to be “…that guy.” It’s better to be an individual, to make an impact on people as a person, than to make an impact on people as the organ grinder monkey.