Playing is something I do quite well, if I do say so myself. I enjoyed it ever since I was a kid and don’t see how I could truly enjoy my life if I didn’t incorporate some sort of play in my daily living.
Even as a trial attorney in the courtroom, I’d play. Well, let me rephrase that. I’d “play” what I thought a good defense lawyer would appear to be to an audience.
It came easy. I saw many a movie involving lawyers. Jimmy Stewart in “Anatomy of a Murder” was my favorite. He was nothing more than an “old country lawyer” who knew how to cross examine a witness and more importantly, devise a theory for the defense. He solicited his client’s views on what made him kill a man who had just raped his wife, and the jury agreed that a form of temporary insanity was acceptable.
I was a true ham. An actor that practiced his speech or “closing argument” in front of a bedroom mirror for hours before presenting it to 12 jurors the next day. I knew when a sad point would come up and I was able to have my voice crack at that very moment.
Yes, I “played” at what I believed an attorney would be like and how he could be received by a jury that was asked to believe my version of facts rather than the persecutors.
(There I go again. Playing. I should have typed prosecutor, but spelled the other word.)
Playing was harder in war, I seem to recall. My role models were John Wayne and Audie Murphy. I think most young boys played war. I used a fallen branch as a rifle and gloried in being shot and rolling over while going through the death throes. I loved the “Sands of Iwo Jima” where the hero, John Wayne, gets killed and others fight on to glorify him.
I took on a more rugged role as a first lieutenant. I could not hang out with the grunts in my platoon. That would be “fraternizing” with enlisted men. So I kept to myself and played the role of a tough guy from my old neighborhood never backing away from a fight and always ready to come to the aid of a buddy.
Playing served me well in life. It kept me alive with my dignity intact and my purpose finally understood. Play the good guy, Michael J, and a lot of good will come out of your performance. You’ll also find a lot of love mixed in with a lot fun!