Wednesday, June 18, 2008

12. Boring People

As I was thinking after Post 9: Boring, I remembered this discussion I had with a friend back in college about boring people and thought I'd post about it. I wrote it as a letter when I'd mentioned it to my cousin and she seemed to want to hear more about it. Hopefully you understand it... names aren't actually changed because I'm lazy and am not in contact with any of these people anymore anyway. :(
Written October 18, 2004:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I would like to take the time to inform you about a study planned on Boring People. It began while emailing with Adam during the fall of 2000.

I told Adam he was weird because he took one of his midterms just for fun and he asked why I thought he was weird (silly question). I replied that taking tests involved thinking (I was going through a thinking rebellion at the time), but assured him that my favorite people are all weird (as I was later quoted as saying to another friend, “If you’re not weird, something’s wrong with you!”).

He gave the decent reason that taking the test would help him know what the students in the computer science lab were facing being as he worked there. I responded that having a good reason didn’t make him less weird. He said, “I wouldn't want to be any less weird... I like being weird... it's fun, weirdness is a sign of uniqueness :)” To which I replied that anyone who is not weird may not be unique and is quite possibly boring. Adam said my response implied that I couldn’t stand boring people, which is where we began the discussion of boring people.

Jil- “And what good would boring people do us? I read somewhere recently that people who are bored a lot are possibly boring people. I sure hope not, because I get bored a lot!”

Adam- “We might be able to come up with some use for boring people...I mean they can't be useless can they? Whether or not you're possibly a boring person would depend on how you personally define "a lot", after all that word is kind of vague.”

I agreed that there must be something we could use them for and replied to his questioning of my use of the word “a lot”. “I guess maybe "a lot" is a little more than is really true for me, but not enough for boring people. And actually, it's not that I am truly bored most of the time. It is that I have so many things that I want/need to do, that I don't know what to do, so I do nothing!”

Adam decided that we could use boring people to do menial labor tasks but I replied that they might get even more boring. We discussed giving them exciting jobs and seeing if they would learn to be interesting/weird/unique, therefore in theory redeeming them from their boredom. I rebelled against the idea of theories, them being caused by thinking, but suggested we find some boring people to test the so-called theory on anyhow.

Adam- “Thinking isn't bad.... in order to be weird a certain amount of thought is required.”

The discussion on where to find boring people came next. Adam suggested the religion department, emphasizing the fact that there truly were boring people there. My suggestion was a dictionary/encyclopedia type store.
During the process of this a friend scared me by sending an instant message. I suggested that surprising boring people with instant messages when they weren’t expecting any might snap them out of their boringness. We both realized however that we did not know any people to chat with that were that boring. This caused the dilemma that neither of us could remember much of anybody boring at all (except said people in the religion department), but deciding that it was probably their loss and not ours.

As we thought over the people in the religion department, I made the comment “What would we do without them to bore us!” To this Adam replied, “We might actually start to bore ourselves… heaven forbid!” I had been thinking we might then have more fun, so this caused some heavy thought.

Jil- “I guess we wouldn't want to make the boring people too unboring! We better consider all the aspects before undertaking such an experiment. Hmm, I wonder if the boringness might be passed on to us if we attempt to get rid of it in other people!”

Adam- “An interesting thought! But how would we test this particular theory? First we would need people that would admit to being boring. How many people openly admit to being boring people?”

Jil- “I suppose we would have to watch people that might be boring and see if they really are. Of course, that is not a foolproof plan. I may have to think a while to come up with an answer to that.”

Adam- “Try not to think too long or too hard.”

Jil- “I wasn't planning on it. Thinking long and hard is quite possibly the first step to being boring. Hmm, maybe we could find someone who willing to help us test this. They wouldn't have to be boring to start out with! Of course, the results might not be the same as person boring from birth, but you take what you can get. See, you get an interesting person to do a lot of long, hard thinking until they turn boring. Then, wait awhile until they no longer lapse back into an interesting person every so often. After that, you can try making them not boring again!”

Adam- “If this is the case though and we have to make each interesting person boring, then research would take an awful long time. Do we have any theories which would provide for faster results?”

I could not figure out an answer to that question. “If we can find some already truly boring people then it wouldn't take so long. Maybe we should get a job researching this thoroughly. Then we could give excuses for taking as long as we want (or need) and we would be making money off of it.”

Adam however did not see a future in researching as something horribly exciting. “Sure,” he said,” You get lots of money, but you have to apply for all the grants, etc, and that's a lot of paperwork.” He also suggested that we change the subject because talking about boring things can get, well, a little boring after a while.

I agreed that the paperwork would not be an exciting aspect and that it was time to change subjects, but added that we would hire someone else to do the paperwork.

At a later date I informed Adam that if we were to ever experiment, we had a volunteer. I had been chatting with some other friends, but at one point commented that one of the guys, Collin, was not quite as creative as the rest of the people in the group. Collin replied that he was creative and I said, “That is good, or else you might be a good person to use in our experiment.” Brandon, another guy in the chat, then said that Collin was the perfect specimen. Collin agreed, although he had no idea what we were talking about.

At a later date I emailed Collin and asked if he still wanted to participate. I told him what the experiment would be about and he replied, “Well, that seems harmless enough. I'll participate if you want.” So, as I told Adam, “If we, or anyone else, ever decide to pursue the answer to these theories, Collin is the first person we should call.” Adam replied that it was always nice to have people volunteer for things they knew nothing about. After thinking about it for a few minutes and recalling the conversation between me and Brandon that had led up to saying Collin wasn’t as creative, I said that if I were Collin, I wouldn't want to be involved in any research I am conducting. To this Adam replied, “Yes, but you're not conducting any research... yet.... so for now he is safe.”

We also at one point discussed that Collin’s girlfriend may not believe he is boring and may object to him participating. Even thinking about it a bit more, I decided he wasn’t boring and therefore we would probably have to start with making him boring, or at least more boring. I also suggested maybe his girlfriend would agree to be in the experiment too. We also discussed the fact that people have different levels of weirdness depending upon whom they were talking to. Such as, Brandon and the others and I may not have been quite as strange in the conversation if Collin’s girlfriend had been involved, therefore Collin would not have been less creative, which means he may never have volunteered for the experiment had she been there.

As of this point in time I have maintained contact with neither Adam nor Collin, however it may not be impossible to find them. I believe Adam is not interested in such research, so I shall need to find another research assistant if I am to study Boringness. If I was to find Collin, most likely he is married and his wife would object to him being a specimen, so I am also in need of test subjects. In thinking back, David, also involved in the conversation with Brandon and Collin, may have been a better choice. He was, after all, from Boring, Oregon.

If there is anyway you could help it would be much appreciated.


  1. "Thinking long and hard is quite possibly the first step to being boring."

    - that's cold.

    I'd like to think I'm not boring, but who knows.

  2. Ah, but it's only the first step! And, as Adam said “Thinking isn't bad.... in order to be weird a certain amount of thought is required.” (in other words, if you don't think at all, you'd be rather boring also.)
    So, you may never become boring if you don't reach that second step (whatever it is, I don't think we came up with a second step).
    At this point in our conversations you have not appeared to be boring, but I suspect one has to talk in-person to know for sure.

  3. I'm pretty sure I could be boring through writing also, though perhaps it is easier to disguise.

  4. ture, ture.
    The thing about writing is that you can think about what to say longer and possibly come up with something more interesting to say than if you had to reply immediately like is kind of expected in live conversations.

  5. I think it's funny... I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I wasn't in contact with any of these people... well, since then the two of them that I was closer friends with have added facebook... so, though I still don't talk to them, I am now in contact!
    (The other two already had facebook, but at this point they haven't added me and I haven't decided if I care about adding them.)