Have you ever noticed how commonalities can bind people?  How when you run into someone, even in the South China Seas (as once happened to me), a little commonality creates a bond and friendship.

I recently joined a new fraternity – based on knee operations.  At least once a week, since I got a knee replacement, I listen to someone’s story: about their knee, their mother’s knee or someone else’s knee.  It is amazing how many people have these commonalities.  Kind of a fraterknee-ty.

Commonalities bind us and provide a joint (pun intended) experience.  Whether it is a joint origin, like we all came from the same high school, or the same town or our antecedents came from the same country or spoke the same language or look similar.

Commonalities allow conversation openers.  And a sense of unity that creates a comfort level. It is our way in an integrated, multicultural, mobile society of creating tribes.

You always seem to pull for your tribe over the other tribe without even thinking too much about it.  How exactly you define your tribe is another story.  And it clearly seems to be up to you.

There was a recent story about a woman others claimed to be “white” who wished to associate with Afro-Americans in the United States.  Who is to stop her?  She got drummed out of her job because if it.

But really, why can’t she identify with the tribe of her choosing.  Thousands of former African slaves in the United States passed for “white” if their complexion was pale enough.  Others passed for native, Cherokee or Melungeon, Portuguese or whatever.  They did so to gain social status and acceptance that a bigoted society would not otherwise allow.  Crossing the floor to join another tribe.

Now I have limped across the floor to join a new tribe I didn’t know existed.

It is funny how some things define groups.  While others go unnoticed.  Where is the Left Handed League?  Or the Ambidextrous Association?

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