nor-mal. adjective. Conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.
So, are you? Normal, that is. Just about every kid has worried about being weird or different and not fitting in. The reality is that in some ways, every one of us is probably pretty normal, and in other ways, we're all pretty strange.
A fun new book by Mark Shulman and from National Geographic called "Are You 'Normal'?" devotes 176 pages to asking questions (some pretty silly) about your life. How you answer helps determine how "normal" you are. The book divides a kid's life into categories (including home, school, friends, body, food, fun) and then asks the reader to answer questions in each category. Then, Shulman tells you how other kids answered and you get a score that allows you to rank yourself on a "weird-o-meter."
Here's a sampling of questions:
>Q: Do you have a brother or sister?
Yes: 6 of 7 kids have a sibling.
No: 1 of 7 kids is an only child.
>Q: Have you ever faked being sick to get out of school?
Yes: 25 percent of kids are good enough actors to pull this off.
No: 75 percent of kids say they've never faked. (We can't say what percentage of them are fibbing!)
>Q: Where do you bite the chocolate bunny first? (We warned you that some were silly.)
Ears: More than half chomp from the top down.
Tails: 1 in 25 goes for the bum.
Any place: About a third of kids said they eat any part that's handy.
>Q: Do you like smooth or chunky peanut butter?
Smooth: Just more than half of kids go for smooth.
Chunky: About a quarter of kids like the nuts in their butter.
Neither: About 20 percent of kids won't eat either kind of peanut butter. (And that's no baloney.)
>Q: Do you have a TV in your bedroom?
Yes: 56 percent of kids watch the tube from their bed.
No: 44 percent have to watch in another room.
>Q: Do you ever bite your fingernails?
Yes: About 50 percent of kids say they occasionally chew. Can you guess what percentage said no?
>Q: Do you ever bite your toenails?
Yes: One in 10 kids is flexible enough to pull off this "feat."
No: 90 percent of kids either can't or won't do this!
So how "normal" or "weird" are you? The real point of the questions (and of the book) is to show that nobody is perfectly normal or perfectly weird. We're all unique, and that's part of what makes us special.
Still, if you're one of the 86 percent of kids who have siblings, we might suggest that you not ask your brother or sister to answer this question about you!