Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's a wonder-full life

The hot water was pouring down all over my body as I stood in the shower in deep contemplation about that day’s shampoo.

Should I use a splash of Val’s good stuff? Or should I go with the industrial stuff I use near daily? Or given that I’d be getting my monthly hair cut in about an hour, should I just scrub it with a bar of soap?

So what’d I do?

I grabbed the good stuff and poured out a healthy palm full. I felt honor bound to give the hairs that had served me so well a kind of last meal before I dutifully took them off to their scissored demise.

I wonder how much further along what for lack of a better word I call my “career” would be if I devoted such strategic thinking to my livelihood. I’d doubtless be overscheduled with award dinners and gala parties held on my behalf.

Of course, that would mean I’d be missing multiple reruns of things like M*A*S*H, Seinfeld and Green Acres and I have to wonder if it’d be worth it.

I wonder about a lot of things.

For instance, years ago, I began to wonder about my lazy good-for-nothing left hand. It never did a damn thing.

Sure, I’m right handed, but that didn’t mean the left hand couldn’t, well, lend a hand once in while. I wouldn’t trust it to toss a dart if a pregnant woman was standing within eight feet of the cork, but it could pick up a beer mug once in a while.

Ever since, I’ve made a concerted effort to drink lefthanded, to brush my teeth left handed and operate the computer mouse with the southerly paw. Think about it. It all makes perfect sense.

If you’re brushing your teeth with your right hand exclusively, you’re probably neglecting some of the back teeth on your left side. And if you’re grinding away with the computer mouse with only your right hand, think about what you’re doing to your overall posture -- that upraised right arm jittering all over the place while your left side remains dormant.

I’m convinced that many of the aches and infirmities that afflict the elderly aren’t from some long ago acute injury but rather from the accumulation of daily habits we never bother to change.

So given all my free time devoted to wondering silently about these health issues, I began to proselytize aloud about this sort of wisdom.

It’s a fun pastime to see the expressions on people’s faces when you suggest to them that, really, for their own good and the good of their teeth they should switch hands.

Most people will simply try to ignore you. Some will stare at you like slack-jawed sheep. But once in a while, you can actually make an impression.

That happened with one of my regular bartenders -- and, yes, feel free to wonder what one person needs with more than one bartender. Sure he thought I was crazy to devote even a minute to thinking about it, but putting that aside he saw a kernel of wisdom in the idea.

He was the first guy I thought about a couple of months ago after I’d left an appointment to get a new suit tailored. The tailor was doing his mundane measurements when he abruptly stopped.

“Well, I’ll be darned,” he said. “That’s something you don’t see too often.”

Something wrong?

“Not at all. But your arms are exactly the same length. I measured twice to be sure. Most people have right arms that are much longer if they’re right handed, and longer left arms if they’re left handed. Yours are exactly the same length.”

I dashed straight to the bar to tell Keith, who couldn’t have been more effusive in his gushing support.

“Hey, man, it’s paying off! That’s great! Guess what, everybody -- Rodell’s arms are both the same length!”

At least I think he was being supportive. It could have been mocking ridicule. I often confuse the two.

But is it paying off? Am I making a difference? Will it matter years from now when everyone else is walking around lopsided that I am pointing straight up? Am I doing something that will be beneficial to my health or am I just wasting my time thinking about so many possibly trivial matters?

I wonder.

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