Recently in the out of your element thread, I noted that I sometimes find myself 'out of my element' because people believe (or are told) something about me that makes them think I should somehow be a member of an outgroup. Recently, I was hanging out with my brother's friends. I've met them before, and while I probably wouldn't be found hanging out with them if they weren't my brother's friends, we are still cool and had good times previously. They are talking about everyone's favorite kind of music. One of his friends, whom I have known for a long time - though only casually - asked me: "DrFrylock, do you like music? Like, do you ever listen to it?" Not, "DrFrylock, what kind of music do you like?" but "DrFrylock, do you like music?" The implications are delightfully absurd. "Are you such a huge nerd that the entire concept of music is too anti-intellectual for you?" Humans are practically genetically built to like music. It's up there with eating or breathing or sleeping. Wow. I don't know what I did to give off this vibe. I mean, I didn't even get the benefit of the doubt of maybe being an ultra-music-nerd like Steve Buscemi in Ghost World. I'm certainly not him, or a music expert of any sort, but I have a respectable music collection and play a couple of instruments well enough to entertain people at parties. As a friend of mine says, "you know why people have stereotypes? Because they're useful." So I don't really blame people for thinking shit like this. I mostly think it's funny. It's not like I have to fight the presumption that I'm racially inferior or anything; I have it pretty easy. But other people have harder misconceptions to overcome. FOCUS: What do people think about you when they first meet you that isn't true? What about you surprises other people when they find it out? ALT FOCUS: Did you ever get a wildly wrong impression about someone? Did the tatted-up leather-wearing circus freak you met at that party turn out to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet? Did the super bookworm you met at the library turn out to be an ex-Navy SEAL?