Thursday, May 19, 2011

Regrets, I've had a few...

"...the record shows,
I took the blows,
and did it my way."
               -Old Blue Eyes

That's the climactic refrain from "My Way," one of my favorite tunes by Frank Sinatra.

As my fingers silently tap the keys in this quiet room, my memory queues up the song. I feel Sinatra's raw emotion as he belts it out and brings it home.

Why do I so love this crooner's tale, this story of taking a difficult path, stumbling often, yet harboring no regrets as the end of the road approaches?

Because I'm attracted to the unorthodox.

I think a lot of us are.

Dirk Nowitzki is a seven-foot-tall forward for the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks. An overwhelming majority of seven-foot professional basketball players are centers, never straying too far from the basket on either end of the court. The center position involves blocking shots, rebounding and pulling the trigger only on high percentage, point blank shots.

But not Nowitzki. While ascending the amateur basketball ranks in his native Germany, an enterprising coach detected skills in the youngster which usually were demonstrated only by the shorter players. The mentor honed the teenager's talents as a three-point shooter and ball handler. He effectively tranformed Nowitzki into a highly unorthodox hoopster, one who became virtually unguardable by other big men.

He's now a lead pipe lock for the NBA Hall of Fame.

The sports world thrives on the unorthodox, since unpredictability equals advantage, but to what degree is the unconventional celebrated in other areas of our culture?

Let's investigate, shall we?

Arnold Schwarzenegger recently revealed that he's been engaging in a little unorthodox behavior, impregnating both his wife and housekeeper at the same time. We'll see how going against the grain works out for Arnie in the long run. Facing America with this revelation is one thing, but when it involves the wrath of Oprah and the Kennedys, God help him.

I suppose he could claim he was only filming the sequel to Pumping Iron, entitled Pumping the Ironer.

Teenagers often practice unorthodoxy. Whether they realize it or not, I salute them for presenting parents with so many ridiculous requests at once that the least ridiculous seems reasonable. For example:

Me: What are your plans for tomorrow?

Teenage daughter: Well, I'm either going to plan a summer trip to Mexico with my friends, get something pierced or ask you for thirty dollars for a mani/pedi.

At that point, I don't even realize that my wallet is now in an open position on my thigh.

Many others march to a drum which plays its cadence in 7/4 time. Some people actually floss prior to eating ribs, so they feel intense satisfaction after finally wedging that meat chunk from between their molars while watching Antiques Roadshow.  

Others, such as Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Charlie Sheen, although highly unusual, should not be misinterpreted as unorthodox.

They're unsane.

My final example is Newt Gingrich, who possesses an unorthodox perception of his public image. While he looks in the mirror and sees the face of an intellectual patriot statesman worthy of admission to SEAL Team 6, the rest of American gazes upon an adulterous hypocrite who sounds singlehandedly responsible for the Earth's critical shortage of helium.

So join the ranks, even if it's just for a day. Try something unorthodox.

Sleep on a different side of your bed. Eat with your opposite hand. Hop in the shower and wash your bottom before cleaning your face and shampooing your head.

Then reward yourself. Pour a big, frosty glass of chocolate milk and drink it from the opposite side.

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