The Weird, the Strange, and the Ugly…

Monday, 11 Oct 2010 04:49 PM

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We all associate the word “weird” with anything or anyone unusual or extraordinary. Interestingly, this word actually originates from the old English noun “wyrd,” which means “fate.” The word took on new dimensions, in mythological texts of the eighth century, as a synonym for “the Fates” — three goddesses who spun, measured, and cut the thread of life. Renowned playwright William Shakespeare took inspiration from this interpretation, and described the three witches in Macbeth as the “weird sisters.”
 
Today “weird” is used often in common parlance. We term many things, many situations, and many people as weird. Our mailbox is often flooded with weird people pictures that amuse us. Yet, some people and phenomena deserve special mention in this context.
 
Have you ever encountered weird people? How about 64-year-old Hai Ngoc, the man who hasn’t slept for the last 30 years? Or Sir Alfred Mehran, the Iranian refugee who has been a resident of Terminal One’s departure lounge at Charles de Gaulle Airport since 1988? Then there’s American Christopher Sands, who’s had nonstop hiccups for more than two years! You might feel rather inadequate once you meet Yu Zhenhauan, reportedly the world’s hairiest man with approximately 96% of his body covered with hair! You might also get curious to meet He Pingping, the world’s shortest man who is able to walk. The world’s youngest parents were 8 and 9 years old, and lived in China in 1910. There is a plethora of similarly weird people, who represent varied interesting traits. 
 
Weird characteristics are not just physical or situational. There are umpteen weird names as well. According to the British Institute of Names, “XO” is the shortest name in the world, while “Bithurasdinhournimlousgon (Bith for short) Kleslinfarjilpourginjdesher” is the world’s longest name.  
 
The list is endless, for this world is a strange place, filled with peculiarities and weirdness. It’s this environment that has made entities like “Guinness Book of World Records and “Ripley’s Believe it or Notstrangely interesting. We live in a world where psychopaths, haunted houses, the deranged, medical marvels, offbeat geniuses, and mad scientists coexist. Strange people and eccentricity surround us, and we all have our own unique perceptions of what is weird or strange, ugly or magical, and paranormal or ordinary. These perceptions color our understanding of “weird.”  
 
So here’s to this weird, crazy world — may all its strangeness continue to make it an amusing place for us to live in!

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