The definition of a dropout

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Monday 20 May 2013

What do you think of when I talk about a dropout?

The first thing that comes to my mind is laziness. Someone who doesn’t work, or doesn’t want to work, or can’t work, or has worked out a way not to work. We call these people dropouts, loafers, layabouts, slackers, slouches or good for nothings.

Another type of drop-out is someone who has left the normal way of living to pursue a different type of living or an agenda of their own, sometimes with more gusto than those left in the normal way of living. We call these dropouts radicals, activists, or revolutionaries

Other types of dropouts can be people who are failures or quitters, or degenerates or shirkers. It seems as a society we have a lot of words, mostly negative, for people who don’t conform to community standards. Perhaps it has to be that way, because a society that permits or allows too many dropouts would soon be faced with problems of production, security, education, governance and others? Or would we?

But are dropouts always the down-and-outs of our society? As opposed to the “up-and-outs”, that is, those people who are seemingly successful but desperately unhappy. Well I will now tell you my definition of a dropout.

I saw it the other day and it was not at all negative, in fact, I thought it was quite brilliant. It was a man in his 50s, dressed in a business suit, walking through the city at about 9am in the morning. Nothing unusual about that.

He was strolling along peacefully, totally engrossed in his activity of choice. Nothing unusual about that either as these days many people watch their phones while walking, listen mindlessly to music, or can seem totally absorbed by their own thoughts as they blankly stare and walk along with a pale grey aura surrounding their commute to the grindstone.

But this man was a drop out. This man was a radical. This man has stepped out of the norm, and didn’t care who saw him, didn’t care what people thought of him, and perhaps just didn’t care or didn’t have a care.

So what was he doing?

He was eating a large double scoop strawberry ice cream on a waffle cone. At 9am. On a work day. In a business suit.

I don’t know what occupation he had, where he had come from, or where he was going but was he a good for nothing? Possibly. An ice-cream activist? Perhaps. A commuting degenerate? I don’t know, but I kept thinking, ice cream for breakfast – brilliant.


Jessica said...

I once ate an ice-cream cone while I walked home from work and I really felt like I was living, seizing the moment, eating dessert at a weird time and the wrong context. This guy sounds inspiring. You should have applauded.

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