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THE IDLE AMERICAN
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 • Posted November 10, 2010

A World of Twists and Turns…

Rarely has a single word—"turn"—morphed into so many uses. Satellite navigation systems screaming "turn, turn, turn" account for some increased usage.

It’s kinda like words such as "wiggling" and "writhing" that came into repeated play when Elvis Presley’s concerts were reviewed, usually in more detail than his vocal offerings.

My 98-year-old Uncle Mort was in no way impressed by the king, and made this observation of Elvis’ first movie: "When our hound dogs wiggle around like he does, we give ‘em worm medicine."…

* * * * *

In our youth, we "took turns" in spelling bees, and many disputed playground games were righted by teachers who always came down on the side of "turn-taking." When sick folks’ conditions deteriorate, they take "turns for the worse," conveying the remote possibility of an eventual u-turn that shouldn’t be wagered on.

The late Joseph Schott, an FBI agent in Fort Worth for 23 years, was mystified by a memo concerning his boss’s planned highway route from Dallas Love Field to Austin. The year was 1959, and J. Edgar Hoover wanted to visit then House Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, an aspiring presidential candidate.

The directive ordered "no left turns" during the entire trip.

Schott learned later that in California a few months earlier, Hoover’s chauffeur-driven limo was rear-ended during a left-turn attempt. Thus the decree for future trips, and the intriguing title for Schott’s hilarious book, No Left Turns….

* * * * *

Strange turns, by both players and baseballs, were plentiful when a couple of over-achieving teams, the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants, made it to the World Series.

Granted, the Rangers’ bats turned to jelly during what retired Dallas sportswriter Blackie Sherrod called "The World Serious" during a big chunk of the 20th century.

Ah, "what-if’s" abound, but a few different turns in a couple of games might have made huge differences. Rangers’ second baseman Ian Kinsler may still be shaking his head about two big "what-if’s." One of his long drives to deep center hit the top of the fence, and with a slightly different turn, might have bounded over. Instead, it bounced back into the park, reducing a four-bagger to two. Another time, he beat out a grounder, but inexplicably turned left toward second instead of choosing safe harbor to the right. He was easily tagged out….

* * * * *

Mort said Kinsler’s base-running blunder reminded him of Moses’ descent from Mount Sinai.

"When he got down off the mountain, it’s too bad that he made a wrong turn," Mort contended. I thought of challenging him, but thankfully remembered that his mind is a lock without a key.

"Yep, whether by chance or not, old Moses took a wrong turn," he continued. "If he’d turned left instead of right, they’d have the commandments and we’d have the oil."…

* * * * *

Oh, well. It was great fun to follow this merry band of Rangers who added to the season’s delight with their "claws and antlers" gestures, all-for-one, one-for-all attitude and unbounded energy.

Little wonder that they’ve warmed fans’ hearts, with songs, poems and stories already making the rounds about this memorable season. Books and movies will follow.

And what about the signs waved by ingenious fans at the games? The clever messages were exceeded only by the garish dress of dozens on Halloween night….

* * * * *

Kudos go to the Texas baseballers who seemed never to take themselves too seriously.

And hats off to the Giants, the self-proclaimed "cast of misfits." They were "fit enough" during baseball’s final week to warrant the label of world champions.

Cast of misfits? Umm, reckon who’ll be the first to sign up for the domain name "com.com"? It’s bound to happen….

* * * * *

Though detailed newspaper coverage of the World Series was enjoyable, I cringed when front pages of Metroplex dailies were dominated by World Series stories. And they used big headlines I thought to be reserved for the Second Coming.

There are many wonderful memories, some of which will surely center on TV shots of disgruntled New Yorkers filing out of Yankee Stadium in the eighth inning on two consecutive nights. As one local preacher put it, "We beat the heaven into the Yankees."

Like it or not, the Dallas Cowboys now face a few weeks of spotlight scrutiny. Sadly, they’re already done to a "turn," written off, and "twisting in the wind."…

* * * * *

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Website: www.speakerdoc.com.

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