Not Lemonade – When life gives you lemons… make something else. Tell us about a time you used an object or resolved a tricky situation in an unorthodox way.

The implications of this prompt are so far-reaching it boggles my mind. You mean there is an orthodox method for doing … everything? Is this written somewhere? I mean … you know … is there a book? Or maybe even a checklist? Does this require church membership and/or attendance?

In all my years on earth, I never heard about this and it perturbs me. Something so important, knowing that all things can be resolved by following some structured, orthodox rules … well … where were these rules when I needed them?

It reminds me of all the times in my life when I have found myself in one of those messes life tends to dump on me from time to time. No work, no money, no hope and oh, yeah, I’m dying. And there I am, without a clue as to what I’m supposed to do about all of it. Finding myself thinking and rethinking ways to save my home, my brain, my life … then eventually, sometimes through sheer serendipity (there’s that word again), discovering a way out.


Never once did it occur to me I had done something unorthodox. Clever maybe. But unorthodox? As far as I could tell, what I mainly did was not give up.

I’ve done a lot of stuff other people thought was stupid, brave, or weird. They condemned me, admired me, envied me, and hated or loved me according to their natures. Never once did anyone imply there had been an alternative solution had I but followed the path of orthodoxy. Typically, most everyone was surprised I found a solution at all. I was usually as surprised as they were.

If you don’t believe in coincidence, my life won’t make sense to you. Not that it makes sense to me.

Here’s how it goes. There’s this guy. He knows a guy, who knows about a procedure. Which leads to a doctor, who has a lot of influence at a major hospital and finds my case interesting. So he invents a surgery, gets the hospital to do the whole thing for no money because naturally I have no medical insurance and am destitute. Donates not only his services but those of two other surgical teams … and I get fixed. I don’t die. I live so I can have yet another crisis. So far, so good.

I don’t know when I have used an unorthodox solution because I don’t know what an orthodox solution might be. If someone will send me the book, I promise I’ll get around to reading it, eventually. Maybe I’ll review it on Serendipity. Something this important shouldn’t be a secret!


Categories: Anecdote, Health, Humor, Medical

Tags: , , , , , , ,

21 replies

  1. I love how you turn on these silly prompts that are not really as brilliant as they seem to be at first glance. That is in itself such an unorthodox way of doing things! 😉


  2. I have studied the Torah and Talmud my entire life.

    Burn three pieces of charcoal in a metal container, and place three medium size garlic cloves on top of
    them. It is wise to become the observer as the Buddha suggests.


    • Okay. I get the Torah and the Talmud part. But I don’t understand the garlic and the charcoal. Is it the equivalent of the Native American ritual of burning of sage to cleanse the environment? Or perhaps … chase away vampires?


  3. Oh, I know! Where is that durned book?! Similarly, all of these different approaches I have taken for the management of my bipolar disorder, some would call unorthodox probably (who knows that THE BOOK would say), but like you, I’m just trying first of all to survive and second of all to have a decent life, as decent as possible anyway. Love this post, Marilyn!


    • We do the best we can. I have NO idea what “they” say we should do and I doubt I’d listen anyway. Keep on keeping on. Our goal is survival. And finding a way to have a reasonable quality of life. The rest is just jibber jabber!


      • That’s just it, a “reasonable” quality of life. I think I said, “decent” quality of life in my comment…it’s like, I’m not asking for the world, I just don’t want to be miserable and live in angst all the time. We are both working at it…like you say, keep on keeping on! 🙂


        • I never thought there was much choice about keeping on. Or anything like a standard answer that works for everyone. Mainly, we can’t give up. Even if it seems hopeless, we have to keep trying. The alternative is unacceptable.


  4. You’re amazing. This post is interesting on so many levels. As a word lover I realized I didn’t actually know what orthodox meant–it has never been part of my vocabulary, and I wasn’t sure how it tied in to my beliefs or way of doing things. Mainstream? Nah…So, ortho plus dox sounds to me like ‘straight talking beliefs or conjecture’. My dear, you’re orthodox!! Can you believe it? :o) All joking aside, you are a splendid thinker. And I am glad you found a doctor who was willing to go to such great lengths for you.


    • Funny how that worked out, isn’t it? It was like following breadcrumbs and hoping I didn’t wind up cooked in the witch’s oven. I think the guy who posts these prompts misuses words (certainly misspells them often enough!) or uses the wrong words. He didn’t mean unorthodox. He meant surprising, unusual, or maybe non-mainstream (though mainstream is a term that’s too general for my taste). But unorthodox is not what he really meant to say. A lifetime of technical writing and you get very nit-picky about word usage. In the technical world, there’s a huge difference between words that may, to a non-techie, mean the same thing. It’s just an old habit that is dying very hard 🙂


  5. Remember my story about my tight spot in South Boston and how I escaped? People trust me.


  6. Interesting read. The only orhodox thing I know about is religion and as I don’t have religion I never discovered what it was all about.


  7. “So he invents a surgery, gets the hospital to do the whole thing for no money…Donates not only his services but those of two other surgical teams…”

    That sounds pretty unorthodox to me!


    • It might be unorthodox if there was an orthodoxy. I had a problem for which there was no known solution I also had no money and no medical insurance AND I was dying. So through a chain of people trying to be helpful — sometimes people show their good side and this was one of those times — I found a doctor who didn’t think I should die for lack of medical insurance … and a great surgeon. The surgery he invented to save me has since saved many others from all over the world and made him rich. He told me saving my life was the best investment he ever made. He didn’t know if the surgery would work, but he knew doing nothing would kill me. So we both threw the dice and won. Whatever you want to call it, I’m really happy about it!


  8. Wonderfully scathing, Marilyn: superb post! I must say, I read the prompt and immediately wanted to dig a hole and bury myself, so daft did I find it! xxx


    • Well … how do you know if your are unorthodox if no one has ever told you what IS orthodox? It’s like when people are talking in generalities and say “They say you should … ” And you ask “Who are ‘they’?” and no one knows.



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