Gab Bonesso on normalcy | Opinion | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Gab Bonesso on normalcy

“I want to talk on the phone and not to myself. I just want to know what it’s like to be normal for one day.”

click to enlarge Gab Bonesso - PHOTO COURTESY OF NEAL ROSENBLAT
Photo courtesy of Neal Rosenblat
Gab Bonesso

A reoccurring theme in my therapy sessions of late has been normalcy. I should note that I’m the patient in these sessions, not the therapist. I’m also the one fixated with the idea of being normal, which my therapist argues doesn’t exist. I understand what she’s saying; after all, I was raised an existentialist.

However, if I’m being a literalist, normal most certainly exists. 

Merriam-Webster offers a definition: “Conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern. Ex: Normal working hours, he had a normal childhood, the effect of normal aging.” These are all examples that I defy. 

As a full-time children’s performer and late-night comic, my working hours are far from normal. I definitely didn’t have a normal childhood (wait for future columns or come see me perform standup comedy). Plus, my parents and my one brother all died prematurely, which sure sounds like the opposite of normal aging. 

Another definition from Merriam-Webster reads: “Free from mental illness.” 

Umm, no offense to my therapist, but she and I are both fully aware that I’m a manic depressive. That’s why my insurance covers our visits. How can she argue with me when I pine to be normal? I just want to know what it’s like to subscribe to the New York Times and not MAD Magazine. I want to know what it’s like to sleep in a queen-size bed and not a blanket-fort. I want to talk on the phone and not to myself. I just want to know what it’s like to be normal for one day. 

I wish it could be like one of those movies from the 1990s with Judge Reinhold, but instead of switching ages, I could switch from abnormal to normal. How cool would that be? I’d be dressed in LuLuLemon, pushing a stroller, listening to NPR on my Beats by Dre while hydrating with coconut water on my way to a Pure Barre class. Instead, I’m dressed in a shark onesie wearing a red Kool-Aid mustache, arguing on Twitter why Michelangelo is by far the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. 

Also, I still think it’s possible for me and Fred Savage to get married and live in a treehouse.

These are some examples that I give my therapist when she pulls a Miguel and asks, “What’s normal anyway?” It’s not me, girl. It’s not me.

Gab Bonesso is a featured contributor. Find her performance schedule at

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