Always the odd man out

Ryan Lawyer, Diversions Editor

Throughout my life, I have found myself in the wrong place at the wrong time… a lot. Living with mostly women, I see, hear, and smell some strange things that men are just not meant to be a part of.

But my fiasco doesn’t end there.

Throughout my high school career, I’ve met a bunch of people and assimilated into that big, happy round table that we Red Knights share. However, there is one thing that will never change for me: I didn’t grow up here. People will lapse into a nostalgic glow when talking about the former governor, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and I just can’t compete. My classmates will rattle off a list of political wrestlemania jokes that go straight over my head.

When I offer up Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois governor who tried to sell President Obama’s vacated Senate seat, I get crickets. And nobody here has even heard of his predecessor, Governor George Ryan, who currently wears pinstripes in the federal pokey, where he eagerly awaits Blagojevish’s arrival.

Sometimes, you just have the feeling that you don’t belong. Like during salsa dancing at Famous Dave’s on Tuesday nights, for instance. I walk in with my date and realize I’m the only non-Latino guy other than the Asian bartender (equally out of place) and the Incredible Hulk bouncer at the door. As I hit the floor to get my groove on, all eyes are upon me like I’m John Travolta in Saturday Night Live—minus the applause. Actually, substitute snickering for applause. Women: I have to tell you, I might be laughing and smiling on the outside, but I’m crying on the inside. My hips don’t lie––I just can’t shake it like Shakira. I guess I didn’t get that gene.

Yoga class is equally awkward, especially when you hang around with a bunch of flexible dancers. Even the simplest of tasks, like downward-facing dog, are difficult for guys like me who have all the flexibility of the Tin Man. As I smack my face on the ground for the third time, I glance over to my left and notice that Bob Barker’s twin is performing downward dog like a pro. The guy is like 80 years old, and he’s got his palms flat on the ground and hind quarters raised high enough to salute the moon.

Better yet, try standing in line at any drug store. Without fail, the old lady behind you will be asking a question about laxatives and Gas-X in a loud voice, while the woman in front of you will be wrestling two jumbo boxes of “maxipads with wings” out of her cart. You might think that you’d fit right in with that stack of Odor Eaters tucked under your arm and a spray can of Cruex for jock itch in your basket. But two wrongs don’t make a right––and three make it just plain uncomfortable.

Let’s face it, these types of situations pop out of nowhere in nearly everyone’s life. I’m through with embarrassment. Through hard-won experience, I’ve learned it’s best to just tough it out. The next time I accidentally walk into the girls’ bathroom, I vow to walk straight up to the urinal and carry on. No urinal? No problem. The sink will do nicely.