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Suzette Standring Headshot

A-Rod, Men and Other Mythical Beasts

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Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees is a mythical beast. At least he thinks so. The champion third baseman has a painting of himself as a centaur hanging in his bedroom, according to a tattletale ex-fling. Thanks to Twitter-mania, a curiosity among kids has been sparked in Greek mythology. (The American education system will move forward one way or another.)

Historically the half man, half horse creature was a symbol of barbarism but now the centaur represents unbridled passion or an untamed nature. That is such a guy spin on things. (Sometimes I think testosterone should be a controlled substance.)

Now that the Yankees have won the World Series, it would make sense for A-Rod to have himself portrayed as Pegasus, the winged horse, carrying all to victory. His dining room probably has a bare wall or two. Imagine the phone call, A-Rod to artist, "I'll pay you double if you can finish and deliver it by Thanksgiving."

But if the Yankees had lost, he'd be the goat (or more likely Kate Hudson, his "lucky charm" would be). Now who is the goat man in Greek mythology? Well, a half man, half goat creature is a satyr. Wait a minute, satyrs symbolize lust and are often depicted at the ready with a permanent...flute.

I can hear A-Rod now, "Snap! Call my painter!"

But he's not alone in such imaginings. The revelation of his self-as-centaur paintings will no doubt spawn copycats on a national level. Everyone loves a fresh idea and now in the minds of men they, too, can be portrayed as symbolically powerful.

If more men had A-Rod's money ($28 million a year for ten years) there'd be all manner of mythical portraits hanging on suburban walls. As it is the Average Joe will have to be content with Photoshop or clip art. Expect to see male family members as centaurs pulling Santa's sleigh on holiday cards this season. Jingle all the way, boys.

Now here are some ideas of fanciful portraits for men we all recognize:

For the bull-headed and hard charging man, the Minotaur sports the face of a take-no-prisoner negotiator - agents, lawyers, S.W.A.T officers or anyone who works for the phone company.

For the man of singular vision, Cyclops is just the creature. This could include politicians up for reelection, radio talk show hosts or anyone stumping for creationism in the school curriculum.

The man who beats a smoking habit is the Phoenix. Transfer his smiling visage onto the sacred firebird rising from the ash(tray).

For the now-you-see-me, now-you-don't man, he is the Loch Ness Monster, gliding through the waters of life, submerging just when you're sure you had him in your sights.

The list of mythical beasts is rich with possibilities, yet sadly few could ever aspire to live up to a self-portrait of the Gryphon.

That's a creature with the head of an eagle and the body of a lion. Legend says that a Gryphon was about truth and pure intentions.

Maybe A-Rod had one of those in another room. Can't you just see him, all sharply eagle-eyed in profile? But the Gryphon is gone. Maybe it's in his attic somewhere after that whole Madonna thing. The cheating was bad enough. But his feigned interest in the Kabbalah? Please. You'd have to be a unicorn to be that naïve.

Contact Suzette Martinez Standring: suzmar@comcast.net She is the award winning author of The Art of Column Writing: Insider Secrets from Art Buchwald, Dave Barry, Arianna Huffington, Pete Hamill and Other Great Columnists. Visit www.readsuzette.com

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