People in general are strange. We are all different, thus we all have different ideas of what “normal” is. Strange is simply “differing from the normal.” I’m trying to make a point and at the same time help you to understand why we are all strange to each other (for the most part).

People in general are strange. We are all different, thus we all have different ideas of what “normal” is. Strange is simply “differing from the normal.” I’m trying to make a point and at the same time help you to understand why we are all strange to each other (for the most part).

Some of the strange things people do or habits they have are obvious; some are not.

Walt Disney, the creator of the most famous mouse the world has ever known, was actually afraid of mice. Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, was afraid of the dark. These are two examples of strange, which are also interesting.

There are more.

Baseball great, Babe Ruth, wore a cabbage leaf under his hat and changed it every two innings. The Babe thought it kept him cool. Albert Einstein could not be verbally understood until after the age of nine and Mark Twain never finished elementary school.

There are interesting facts and people all around us; we just have to pay attention.

In order to watch people in the right spirit, you must first admit that you are just as strange to them as they are to you. This is said to one’s self to justify the thoughts you are thinking. What am I trying to say? I am trying to say that in addition to finding humor in others, I’m not poking fun at them as much as I am “appreciating them.”

The other morning at work, I rushed in and told a couple of co-workers, “The Panther has on blue jeans.” They did not believe me and rushed to the windows to take a look. They gasped.

One of my co-workers said, “Go outside and look up; the heavens are about to part.”

One fellow left the room to go outside and look up at the sky.

For years, we have studied the fellow at work we have code-named, “The Panther.” I can’t say that we have code-names for everyone at work, but I can say the Panther is worthy of one.

I’ve never heard the Panther speak, though I have spoken to him on many occasions. Passing in the hall, I will say, “Good Morning” or “Hello, how are you?”

He never says a word.

Honestly, I don’t find him not speaking that strange. He works on the first floor, which means to me that he probably has a PhD in a really specific field that requires him to think all of the time and only speak on rare occasions.

I understand.

Over the years, my co-workers and I have studied each other and paid particular attention to the Panther. It makes work more fun and keeps our analytical skills sharp.

Why do we call him “The Panther?” I’m really not sure. I think it had something to do with Chevrolet.

Does that not make sense to you?

You see back in the 1960’s, Chevrolet was hot on the trail, competing with Ford. Chevrolet had to have a competitor for the Ford Mustang. It was a top secret car/project, that Chevrolet code-named “Panther.”

As many of you know, the Chevrolet Panther actually was unveiled as the “Camaro” in 1966. It’s a cool story; our Panther is interesting; it’s an appropriate name for such an interesting person.

As noted, I do not find the Panther’s lack of communication that big of a deal. We do research and work on a lot of interesting things. He’s probably just thinking.

However, there are few things that I find interesting about the Panther.

The Panther has to park in the same parking spot every day. There are lots of folks who are like this, but I honestly don’t think the Panther would get out of his car if he didn’t get to park in his chosen spot. His unmarked, but chosen parking spot is in the middle of a large parking lot. It’s not on the end, it’s in the middle.

We all understand this and don’t park there.

Whether the parking lot is full or completely empty, the Panther takes the same route to the door. It involves many 90 degree turns and never crossing a white line. The Panther will never walk straight to his car. Babe Ruth had the thing with the cabbage in his hat; the Panther won’t cross a white line.

It’s strange, but I still kind of understand.

Before I say this next part, please don’t think that I am being unkind. As noted, if anyone were to watch me on a regular basis, they would rightfully think that I have very strange habits and rituals. I have to have a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cake at a certain time of day and I have to take the same route to the snack cabinet to go get the wonderful oatmeal pie. I also have blackboards and whiteboards all over the walls of my office and I enjoy standing on tables when I write on them.

The Panther has to wash his hands in the bathrooms on all three floors when he washes his hands. He really does. It is his regiment and his business; he goes from floor to floor. We just find it interesting. The way I see it, it helps him think and do his research.

The other thing that you can be sure of, or you used to be sure of, was that the Panther always wore the same thing every day to work – black pants and a white shirt. It is/was his uniform.

One afternoon, I was one of the last ones to leave the building. It was shaded and very dark right outside the door as I exited the building. As I came out the door, the Panther was standing there with his hands on his hips (black pants and a white shirt) looking straight at me.

I was startled. I thought he might pounce on me or ask to check the cleanliness of my hands. I didn’t say a word, neither did the Panther. I walked across the parking lot to my car, checking over my shoulder often, only to see him still standing there with his hands on his hips.

The Panther probably had just gotten a good idea on a problem he was working on and was thinking about going back inside and writing it down. He decided not to go back inside. From the safety of my car, I watched him walk to his car in perfect right angles making sure not to cross any white lines.

He does it so beautifully; it’s almost like a dance.

Now you understand why a Panther (our Panther) in blue jeans would cause such a ruckus.

Alfred Hitchcock, the famous English director and producer didn’t have a belly button.

That’s a bit strange – but interesting.

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