Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Contrarian Thinking"

Which can make you an interesting writer, but if it strays too far afield it could just sound, as legendary sitcom director and native New Yorker James Burrows used to say – “wee-id.”

So I’m watching football.  I know.  I’m a hypocrite.  I have written that, until the massive head injury problem is figured out, the game should be banished from the earth.  But it’s Sunday, and my baseball team just got blown out of the playoffs.  What do you want me to do?  Go outside?

In the game I am watching, a team well behind in the score is mounting a spirited comeback.  This reminds me of other games where a team is way down in the fourth quarter, and then suddenly a quarterback, known for such last-minute heroics – a Tom Brady, a Peyton Manning, an Aaron Rogers, in an earlier era, the legendary John Elway – single-handedly lifts his team out of the abyss to an unimaginable victory. 

What excitement!  What a turnaround!   A rise-from-the ashes resurrection! – The most inspiring story you can possibly tell.  It sold many copies of the Bible.

And yet the thought that stirs in my contrarianly conditioned consciousness is this:

The only reason that that “Miracle Ending” was necessary was because of how poorly the ultimately winning quarterback performed throughout the earlier and considerably larger portion of the game.  There would be no need for any climactic comeback if Brady/Manning/Rogers/Elway, as a result of their overall substandard play, had not placed themselves in the position to require one.

Now who knows, maybe subconsciously, these highly-regarded quarterbacks need to dig themselves that hole to incentivize them to overcome those seeming insurmountable odds and pull the victorious fat out of the fire.  But is that what earns them their impeccable reputations and their inductions into the National Football League Hall of Fame?


“He Stunk Up The Place.  But Then He Won.”

Why is that such an achievement?  And more importantly to this undertaking, why do I and, as far as I am aware of, nobody other than myself even think about that?

Hey, the guy played well for only a fraction of the game, and yet somehow he is immortalized as this great…

Okay, I’ll stop.

I can’t help it.  It just seems to be the way my mind works.  Again and again, I find myself pondering issues that breeze by unnoticed and uncommented upon by everybody else.

Some of this mindset, like the previous example, is triggered by what is, to my way of thinking, misplaced adulation.  I am nothing if not an indefatigable champion of fairness. 

More characteristically, however, I find myself thinking not about the minorities whose historically troubled journey justifiably garners our compassion, but the unfairly ignored minorities within those minorities. 

(WARNING:  This blog post is guilty of trafficking in stereotypes.  Though stereotyping is not the issue here.  The issue instead is the overlooked members of those stereotyped sub-genres for whom those stereotypes do not seem to apply.  That’s how sensitive I am.  I worry about those guys.)

And here we go.

I worry about gay people who have no interest in musicals.

I feel sensitive towards those African Americans found klutzing it up on the dance floor.

I am concerned about the Asian student who gets D’s.

My mind ponders the plight of Jews with a minimal aptitude for business.  (I can come up with one example who is conveniently close to home.)

Throw in also the camel trader who is unable to haggle.  (“Are you kidding me?  You just bargained me up!”)

I think about the inordinately tall person, expected to dominate, who continually bounces the basketball off of his foot.

I think about the Eskimo who feels inconsolably cold.

The Japanese diner going, “Raw fish?  I don’t think so.”

I wonder about the scientist who is not entirely sure about evolution.  (“It’s probably right.  But we weren’t really there.”)

I think about the French person who prefers McDonald’s.

And the Germans with messy desks.

I worry about the atheist who has doubts. 

I have a soft spot for the underachiever who is truthfully doing the very best they can.

I feel for the dentist who thinks, “I know I’m helping.  But they are not wrong to be screaming.”

I think about claustrophobic agoraphobics.

Crossing species lines…

I think about the dog who has little enthusiasm for butt sniffing.

Fish who cannot shake the sensation of always feeling wet.

I worry about the elephant who forgets.  Most notably when they are trying to make their way to the Elephants’ Graveyard, a problem exacerbated by their elephantine unwillingness to ask directions.

I think about the small but still concerning number of buzzards going, “I’m eating this, but ‘Ew!’ 

You getting the idea here?  Other people see only what’s there.  My mind goes to what’s not there.  This kind of thinking has been known to lead to breakthroughs and innovations. 

Though on (blessedly) less frequent occasions, it leads instead to the foregoing.

Ultimate entry:

I worry about me.


Boyd Froid said...

I worry about you, too.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Don't worry too much about atheists with doubts: they can reclassify as agnostics.