"Keep Portland weird", not just a bumper sticker, but a way of life. Ever since we lifted this phrase right off of a bumper sticker in Austin and changed one word it has been a way of life in Portlandia.
I look at weird differently now. When you see someone (usually a teenager, or an adult) go far out of their way to avoid looking foolish, in the end they come off as very uncool. An example, at a Christmas party last year, my aunt brought in a Santa, and wanted everybody to pose on his lap.... EVERYBODY. We can all agree that sitting on Santa's lap, as a teenager or an adult, is not the coolest thing and might make you look foolish. The only thing that would make you look more foolish and uncool, not being willing to sit on Santa's lap for fear of looking uncool.
My friend Curt tends to dress in the most foolish of clothing. He puts on outfits that you would have to look at and say to yourself "Oh my, I would be so embarrassed to wear that outfit!" Then you realize that Curt is wearing this absurd combination without a care in the world, and when it comes to outfits, he might be the coolest person in the room, and he's complimenting the look with Doc Brown hair. And no matter where you're at or who you're with if a good song comes on Curt is going to sing along with full feeling, emotion, and volume. And if you have the guts to forgo the disapproving glances of all the people that are afraid to look silly to people who's opinion you give nary a crap about anyway (and who probably have never had a joyful moment in their lives) and join in, singing at the top of your lungs as imperfect as you do, you might learn that it's the funest thing ever!
You soon realize that being cool is not about never looking foolish or silly, but about being willing to not give a rat's ass about what other people think about you when you do.
Enter the Adult Soapbox Derby. In an effort to keep Portland weird, a bunch of "grown ups" build amazing speed machines fueled by nothing more than a push, some gravity, and balls of steel. Yes, that's right, a good set of ball bearings reduce the rolling resistance and allow greater velocity. This is just simple engineering, I thought you knew.
Although I didn't read the rules, and I'm not sure how this is officially determined, it seems that if you want to be the winner, speed isn't everything. It's style that counts. Those willing to look foolish for the enjoyment of us all, end up being the coolest people we could ever dream to be.
Keep your city's weird. If you need help, just steal a motto off of a bumper sticker in Austin, Texas.