Conform Or Be Cast Out!

Doesn’t matter if you’re low-carb, paleo, or somewhere in between.

You’re weird! You’re a geek! Don’t you understand that unlike all other animals, humans dropped out of the sky a few thousand years ago and operate on principles totally foreign to wild animals; such as unlike the folks who work in the feeding units of your local zoos — where they somehow understand fully that they have to derive feeding regimes that model the animals in nature that are under their care ?

We’re above that fray, right? …And doing even so much better than your average zoo animal. Look around you. Observe how well it’s working…

…I was a geek. In high school, my passion was chess. I even won tournaments and placed third in a state-level competition. I had a library of more than 20 chess books as a 10th grader. Geek! Be cast out! To this day, I can pretty much take anybody in short order who hasn’t played really seriously (but a pro could take me easily as well). It’s really about relative experience. Or, relative "geekiness."

Do you see the disconnect? For the first part — about our paleo life ways — something’s "wrong." We’re subject to a Matrix of conformity or, at very best, a mythology of "proper behavior" that nearly everyone is just drawn to. For the second part, some of us are naturally repelled by at least aspects of the world as it is, and in ignorance or partial fear, seek other ways to rebel. I always wanted to be somewhat distinctive, different, and I was always willing to bear the consequences of my choices. There was more than chess. I won a California state championship in table tennis in an association of private schools numbering in the dozens. Table tennis. It’s even a funny name, and for what it’s worth, I always called it ping pong. What a weirdo I was, but I never faltered in confidence. (I’d have an eff bomb here, if I hadn’t sworn them off in posts.) I’ve always done fine and well, so my essential message is that you really want to be pleased with yourself, as I always was and am — without ever much of a moment’s doubt or reservation beyond minimal demands. How effing easy is it to be like everyone else? And trying to be just like everyone else wastes your life, and not caring about it to the extent you don’t strive to be unique…just treads water. In fact, you may have to search for ways to be different, unique…weird.

Who knows? Maybe I was lucky. But I’d advise anyone to just toss it to the wall and see what sticks. In hindsight, I wish I had been even more weird, more geek, more in-face, and less caring about what anyone thought about it. But I also wish I had taken a few more minutes, here and there, to commune with the few genuine friends I did have.

I was  always weird. From the very first day I began to really understand what world was set before me by powers who came before me, I hated it. I loathed them who did that, for whatever reasons they had, and if I could go back in time — like way back — I’d be pleased to slit throats and eat livers. Oh…to just live in a rational and just world…

The essential message is this: don’t conform; and the simpleton morons who would cast you out: they’re inferior on all levels except one: lying and deception. Your focus might always be on undercutting that. I’m lazy, so brutal honesty has been working for me going on two decades. Parasites generally run like cockroaches in its light. You’ll often look like an ass, but only those with undue and inexplicable fear care, and they don’t matter.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Patrik on January 24, 2010 at 23:14


    You just gotta check this out:

    Treat epileptic kid with hyper-lipid/ketogenic diet. See massive improvements…..and then take him off hyper-lipid/ketogenic diet and put back on SAD!!!!!!!!!!

    As commenter CD points out:

    ““Max’s brain is thought to have recovered enough that he is being gradually transitioned to normal meals.”

    Time to load poor Max up with sugar, corn, and wheat again!”


    • Guy on January 25, 2010 at 04:51

      Saw that. So sad that their main worry is about his cholesterol getting too high on the high fat diet. Now what is the brain made of again?

  2. Patrik on January 24, 2010 at 22:12

    As always, great post Richard. Many of us can relate. It is not a coincidence that many of our fellow travelers tend to be libertarians etc etc

    BTW My friends always ask me, “Are you still on that weird diet of yours?”

    Yes, totally weird. Meat and veggies, while avoiding grain. Completely weird. Insane even….

    PS Love the Rush reference!

  3. Grok on January 24, 2010 at 22:17

    I think many of us fit the mold you describe.

    I remember being made fun of in school for being a motocrosser. I loved anything extreme and I hated conventional sports. I wore FOX and all those moto & snowboard brands. Girls thought I was a geek.

    Funny thing is, now if you put me back in high school as an extreme sports junky wearing FOX, I’d have to beat the girls off with a stick. Ha-ha

  4. Jim Purdy on January 25, 2010 at 00:11

    “the folks who work in the feeding units of your local zoos — where they somehow understand fully that they have to derive feeding regimes that model the animals under their care in nature”

    So maybe we should put the zoo biologists in charge of our health care?

    The 50 Best Health Blogs

  5. Trish on January 25, 2010 at 03:44

    Ah, one of the best Rush songs ever. One line that always resonated with me was “nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone.” I wasn’t super-geeky in high school but I was different enough that high school was purgatory. Now that I’m older I enjoy being different and found that the best way to be subversive is to outwardly look like you fit in.

  6. Frank Rigney on January 25, 2010 at 04:19

    I think we’re brothers from another mother

  7. Alex on January 25, 2010 at 04:23

    You cannot possibly imagine how much I needed to hear this message at precisely this moment. I’m just trying not to cry! Thank you.

  8. Organic Gabe on January 25, 2010 at 05:55

    The herd mentality is so easy to follow but also prone to manipulation …

    One has to apply his/her own logic and judge things through a lens of analytical thinking.

  9. Ms. Sat Fat on January 25, 2010 at 06:00

    Boy, I know it. Sometimes it’s conforming to culture and tradition instead of current mass media that kills me. I grew up in a traditional Mexican family until my mom joined Weight Watchers, then it became Us against Them. I’m just starting to make friends with old relatives who thought we were crazy all those years. And what I’m finding is that immediately right behind the “You’re crazy!” comments, is a little bit of fear and a whole lotta admiration. Most people wish they could be individuals. They really do. After that initial outburst from my friends, they are actually helping me keep on dietary track. I’ve only been low carb for two weeks, but my real friends – after some shock and eye rolling and poking in the figurative ribs – are asking questions and no longer calling me nuts. Love is love, baby!

  10. CavePainter on January 25, 2010 at 08:02

    Excellent post! I’ve also been a misfit and proud of it. I’ve never had the desire to fit-in. My wife calls me “eccentric”, which I suppose is a polite way of saying that I’m a freak. I’ve always been a Rush fan too, they were misfits in their own way.

  11. Anthony Z on January 25, 2010 at 08:07

    What a fantastic post! You articulate what many of us are feeling each day…that something is wrong in the Matrix.

    Glad I came across you blog, Richard. You always seem to have your finger right on the pulse of the paleo-primal zeitgeist.

  12. Gary Katch on January 25, 2010 at 08:07


    High school table tennis, chess, and now paleo diet? OMG, it’s like I have a twin!

  13. Melissa on January 25, 2010 at 09:16

    I know several libertarians that work in government and many more who work for non-profits (including myself). It’s a small minority though. Parks & Recreation, the NBC show, has a funny portrayal of a libertarian working in government.

    I think because I look pretty good, people think I am strange, but they don’t bother me. Most vegans I know don’t look so hot, so I think they would feel uncomfortable chastising me.

  14. Carla on January 25, 2010 at 10:03

    I have always been sort of an outcast expecially with most black people. I used to try to fit in but I gave up. Now its like yeah I’m different I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I finally went to a kidney disease support group at the urging of my doctor and this stupid dietician and the first thing she said was I assume you are all on low sodium diets, everyone nodded except me I shook my head. She gave me the stink eye, but I didn’t care. I felt exonerated when one of the attendees asked what is sodium? An idiot leading the idotic, whatever, I made up an excuse and got out of there quick.

    I think so many people are willing to give up so much to the so-called experts and it is ruining their health and their lives. Unfortunatley, I cannot find that line between telling it like it is and not being seen as a bitch. I admire your ability to say what you feel and let the chips fall where they may. Mark’s Daily Apple is my favorite blog but you are a very close second I love your brutal honesty and the way you make fun of the idiot/experts.

  15. Lane Batot on January 25, 2010 at 10:30

    Wasn’t it Whoopi Goldberg that said “Normal is just a setting on the washing machine.” ? I AM a zookeeper by profession(and most all zookeepers are kinda nuts to choose to do what we do), and yes, GREAT EFFORT(in good zoos) is made to try and feed animals as naturally as possible. The opposite of what is done to most domestic stock raised for agriculture, that are fed as cheaply as possible with all manner of artificial additives to produce as much superfluous flesh as possible for profit, with the same grains that figure highly in the average human’s diet in modern times—hmmmm—ARE aliens really in control, and rendering us for lard? Makes you wonder when most “normal” people eat like domestic stock instead of zoo animals(or wild, free, animals)…..

  16. LX on January 25, 2010 at 12:16

    Normalcy is overrated.

  17. TrailGrrl on January 25, 2010 at 16:41

    Ah, the first Rush album that I bought for myself. Still got it on vinyl. Not as flashy as the one with Geddy Lee’s naked butt, but you can’t have that on every cover. Check out the Rush concert on that cable channel that has a lot of concerts (Paladium or something like that). Sometimes they have crap, but sometimes you get a gem. Like Heart’s Dreamboat Annie Live concert from 2007 or the Rush concert. Needed wide-angle shots to get in all of Neal Peart’s drums.

    I’ve gotten to the point when people comment on my weight loss and want to know what I’m doing, I just tell them “I eat a lot of meat.” Which no one seems to know quite how to respond to. Then they will say oh yeah I know I should get back on South Beach, I feel so much better… F*** South Beach. Just eat real food, most of it meat (notice I didn’t drop a real F bomb, just so you can stick to your resolution). I also say that I don’t eat low-fat anything, and that I try to stay away from processed food. Since I’m a chick, it’s mostly chicks who ask about what I’m doing. Are you doing a lot of cardio? No, I’m not doing anything. As in NADA. Zip. Zilch. I watch what I eat but still drink dark beers and eat tortilla chips and salsa and dark chocolate and buffalo wings. But mostly, I EAT A LOT OF MEAT.

    I don’t even get into the fact that I hardly ever eat breakfast, and when I do I eat fried eggs over easy and bacon. That would just burst too many braincells for most people. A life without nonfat sugar-free yogurt cups is just unimaginable for them.


  18. BMcD on January 25, 2010 at 19:50

    A brilliant post as usual, but what struck me the most was that you’re not gonna use the F-Bomb anymore. And that makes me a little sad. You are far and away my favorite blogger.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 25, 2010 at 20:33

      Well, I will use eff and shit. And comments are free game. Least that’s my policy right now. It’s my blog. I can change my mind.

      The decision was driven only by a fear that the blog could turn into a fan-of-fuck. Y’nknow, if what I write can help grandmas out there and a post isn’t forwarded b’cause. then that’d be a shame. I do want to entertain, but more, I want to reach out to as wide a population as possible.

    • BMcD on January 26, 2010 at 19:45

      No doubt it’s a smart move for all the reasons you stated. I’m certain your personality, wit and ferocity will never be dulled however you choose to communicate.

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