Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

How to Be a Normal Person

Monday, April 8, 2019

How to Be a Normal Person (2015) TJ Klune

This is a silly and utterly ridiculous story.

It also had me laughing ridiculously on multiple occasions.

The Internet was vast and had men with disproportionately large testicles.

Gustavo Tiberius isn’t normal.

He was not a firework. Or, if he was, he was those black snake ones that you light and they do nothing but ash a long line. That was an acceptable firework to be. Nobody liked them and they did absolutely nothing.

What’s your inseam measurement?”

“Why, I don’t believe that’s any of your business,” Gus said stiffly. Plus, he’d never really measured, so he had no idea. Was that something that everyone was supposed to know? He reminded himself to look it up in the encyclopedia when he got home, but remembered he was only on the letter G, and he couldn’t skip ahead. He was destined to wonder for months.

This was less of a problem before his father died, but now he is strange and weird and alone–even if some people in town have forced their friendship upon him.

He took the We Three Queens’ video card, charged them two bucks (even though it should have been four; he told them it was because they were regulars, and that was mostly true. It also was because he loved them deeply and didn’t know quite else how to say it.

“Thanks for coming to Lottie’s Lattes!” she shouted after him. “Where we like you a lottie!”

“For fuck’s sake,” he muttered as the bell rang overhead.

First, to be clear, this is a funny story, but the story does not make fun of Gus. Yes, he doesn’t think or see things the way regular people do, and that leads him to say ridiculous things at times, but the humor tends to be at things he thinks and says, not that cringe-worthy embarrassment humor that was so popular in 80s movies and that I despised.

“Hey, man. Raining cats and dogs.”

Gus (being Gus) said, “The first recorded use of that phrase was in the 1651 collection of poems Olor Iscanus by Henry Vaughn,” all the while thinking shut up, shut up, shut up!

Then, the hipster comes to town.

“Hey, followers. Second day in and I met Gustavo Tiberius and his ferret. Check it out. They both have pretty eyes. Blushing smiley face. L-O-L. Hashtag awesome. Hashtag presidential ferrets. Hashtag mountain town adventures. Hashtag—”

Gus’ life is turned upside down and he decides that perhaps he needs to learn how to be normal. Because he decides he likes Casey, even if he’s never dealt with a asexual hipster before.

“What? No. Just. Shut up. I don’t even know you.”

“Oh,” Casey said. “You will.”

“Don’t you threaten me!”

But it’s more than just Gus and Casey. It’s also Lottie (Casey’s aunt) and even better, the We Three Queens, who are an utter delight. They are and elderly Vespa riding gang of three. And they are marvelous.

“I liked it,” Bernice breathed, standing only inches away from Casey now. “I liked it so much. You have to autograph something for me. Like my dreams.”

“Hello. I am calling for advice.”

“Shhh,” she snapped, sounding slightly muffled. “I’ll put it on speaker, just be quiet. Did you hear what he said? He needs advice. He’s totally going to do it! Casey will be so— ahem. Hello, Gus. Nothing is going on here at all. It is just me and no one else. What sort of advice are you looking for?”

“This shit is hysterical,” Bernice said, flipping through more notecards. “Gus, in case you don’t know, you’re my third-favorite person in this room. And my first-favorite man.”

Gus also turns to the Internet for advice on how to be normal. This is even more ridiculous than you’d respect.

That One Friend

We all have them. You know what I’m talking about. That One Friend. Yes, That One Friend who you love dearly and enjoy very much, but who can be a bit on the wild side. Their personality isn’t for everyone. What you might consider bubbly, others might potentially consider undesirable. Before you decide which of your friends is That One Friend, make sure you look inside yourself to make sure that you’re not That One Friend.

Yeah. I’m totally That One Friend.

Did I mention it also made me a little weepy? That’s because it’s been several years, and Gus is still mourning his father. His grief is just so blunt it’s heartbreaking.

This story is not for everyone. Gus is odd, and Casey is an asexual stoner hipster, but it kept making me laugh, and really, what more could one ask for?

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 6.5/10

Categories: Ace, LGBT, Mental Health Rep, Own Voices, Romance

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