acting normal is
crazy enough be average
we think that is good
I grew up in West Michigan.
I grew up in West Michigan because most of my ancestors immigrated from the Netherlands to West Michigan in the 1870’s.
One branch of the family came over from England in 1842 which is where my Civil War Soldier Great Great Grandfather came from but the rest were wearing wooden shoes and saying Hoe is het met je? while farming in Ottawa County.
Climb up my family tree and you meet Hofman’s, Hendrickson’s, Van Noord’s, De Young’s, Pell’s and other such folks.
That isn’t a typo for Hofman.
See, my Grandfather thought Hofman looked a little lopsided so added an extra ‘f’ to the name.
If you check that Ellis Island registry, you have to search for Hofman.
According to family lore, on Grandpa’s first day of school, the teacher called the role and when he came to Roloef Hofman (son of Kope … or was it Koop Hofman), the teacher said from now on I am going to call you Robert.
Robert liked that so much, changing the last name must have made sense as well.
Grandpa like his new first name so much, he also chose a middle name, an American idea as this is not a Dutch custom.
And he became Robert Karl.
Karl with a k.
To round it all off, he named his son, Robert.
My Grandma’s name was Pauline.
Pauline De Young.
Their son got her name in the middle.
Robert Paul Hoffman to be exact.
My Dad liked Robert Paul so much he named his son, Paul Robert.
But he liked his father’s name so much he named his third son, Robert Karl Hoffman.
My older brother Bobby.
To this, American’s added the fashionable title of Junior or Jr. to my brother’s name and he went down in history as Robert Hoffman, Jr.
Though to be correct, as we liked to point out, he should have been known as Robert K. Hoffman II.
Readers of this blog will remember that my name, Michael, was taken out of the box and tried out on my brother Tim for 2 or 3 days before my Dad decided that the new baby was NOT a Mike and filled out the birth certificate with the name Tim.
I was born 4 years later and got the slightly used name of Michael.
My Dad and Mom have to get a bit of grace on this as they did have to choose names for 8 boys along with 3 girls.
11 sets of names might present a challenge to some folks.
I might have seen it as a opportunity (if you know my kids names).
But my folks came through with some good, average names.
And it all started with being Dutch.
I recently came across the New York Times article, The Country That Wants to ‘Be Average’ vs. Jeff Bezos and His $500 Million Yacht By David Segal (July 29, 2022).
The article tells the story how a multi billionaire had a multi million dollar boat built in a shipyard separated from the sea by an old bridge in Rotterdam.
To get the boat out, the billionaire asked the city if he could have the old bridge taken down.
Not to worry, the old bridge would be put back, just the way it was, and the billionaire would pay for it all so no harm no foul.
But the Dutch said nope, nothing doing.
Mr. Segal writes:
“The Dutch like to say, ‘Acting normal is crazy enough,’” said Ellen Verkoelen, a City Council member and Rotterdam leader of the 50Plus Party, which works on behalf of pensioners. “And we think that rich people are not acting normal. Here in Holland, we don’t believe that everybody can be rich the way people do in America, where the sky is the limit. We think ‘Be average.’ That’s good enough.”
Acting normal is crazy enough.
Boy, Howdy ain’t that the truth.
That’s good enough.