Cuff Links

Cuff link: (n) a pair of linked ornamental buttons or buttonlike devices for fastening a shirt cuff.

We called her Sister Betty.

She wasn’t really our sister. It was kind of a quasi-religious reference with just a hint of hippie philosophy.

Sister Betty loved to find deals at thrift stores. She especially became interested in finding me clothes, since my girth made it difficult to buy anything other than men’s work pants and shirts. The grays, browns and indescribable greens of those clothes were not suitable for a teenage boy.

So one day Sister Betty came in with a dress shirt which actually fit me.

It had French cuffs.

I did not know what French cuffs were, but Betty immediately explained that they were folded over, and a fastener held them together—which was often very ornate and contained a jewel.

I was game. After all, I had a new shirt.

For some reason, Sister Betty, who was usually very lucky in the market, was unable to find me discounted cuff links. I think she probably should have pursued a little further, but when her first trip to the bargain plaza did not garner the desired results, she decided to try to make me a pair of cuff links for the new French shirt.

She came up with many ideas.

Simple pieces of leather to hold the French cuff together.

She thought about painting a paper clip.

When she finally got down to ribbon and yarn, I realized it was time for me to intercede. I was already a little intimidated about wearing a French shirt in my All-American small town, but having it garnished by ribbon, yarn or bows was completely implausible.

Finally, one of my friends suggested that maybe Sister Betty could take two marbles—those Purees—and fasten something on them, to use them for the cuff links.

She glued and messed, frowned and struggled for a whole day.

Then she appeared with two cuff links made out of marbles.

I slipped them on the shirt, fastened the cuff links and then crinkled my brow.

One marble was red and the other was blue.

Sister Betty saw my dissatisfied face and said, “Oh! Did you want the marbles to be the same color?”

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cue Ball

Cue ball: (n) the ball a player strikes with the cue, as distinguished from the other balls on the table.

I insisted it was not fair.

Every time I played pool with my friends—Eight Ball—I did a great job clearing the balls on the table.

That is, until I got down to the cue ball and the eight ball.

Then it was time to put the eight ball away, naming the pocket where I planned to place it, thus closing the game with a slam-dunk.

Here was my problem.

Every time I got to that stage, I either hit the eight ball and it would go into a pocket I did not name, or more often, the cue ball followed the eight ball into the pocket, thus making me a loser.

I argued.

After all, I completed 90% of the task of winning the game. How could I lose the 90% over a 10% mistake?

It was unrighteous.

It was a plot.

It was un-American.

My friends didn’t care. “The rules say…”

That’s how they began every discussion, declaring me a loser.

I got to the point that I hated the cue ball. I feared it. Once I began fearing it, I was afraid to strike it with my stick.

Of course, if you can’t strike the cue ball with your stick, you won’t have a very good break at the beginning of the game. So I stopped wanting to have the first break—which certainly robbed me of an advantage. So I sat around, hoping someone would miss a shot since I had passed on breaking the balls.

All at once, a game I had been very efficient at playing I now despised.

All because of the cue ball.

That damned cue ball that followed the eight ball into the pocket.

Or the eight ball which refused to go to where I declared its home to be.

At no time did it occur to me that I could practice and become better. Why would you want to practice something that was unfair?

So I pouted.

After a while, when I went with my friends to play pool, I just sat and watched.

Soon I wouldn’t go along if they were going to play pool.

They, on the other hand, could never guarantee that pool wouldn’t crop up in the evening’s activities. So I started staying home.

I soon became a recluse. Nobody wanted to be around me.

Since I wasn’t going to be around people, I stopped bathing, didn’t shave and only occasionally brushed my teeth. My breath was repugnant, even to my own mouth.

Pretty soon people were praying for me instead of visiting me.

I went into a mental hospital and was diagnosed with a personality disorder.

I had to stay in my room, though, because the recreational area had a pool table and it sent me into a fit of rage.

I tried to overdose on aspirin but failed miserably.

You see? This is what can happen when you are viciously attacked by a cue ball.

Epilogue

By the way, everything I shared after the word “un-American” was completely made up—seeking your sympathy.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 

Cue

Cue: (v) anything said or done, on or off stage, that is followed by a specific line or action

The cues are off.

Somebody has stolen the script of human behavior and has messed with the stage directions so that we, the actors, do not know when and how to respond.

It’s subtle.

There was a time when someone in pain would cue empathy.

There was certainly a season when belligerence would cue disfavor instead of a bizarre outburst of admiration.

Do you remember a time when sitting by a fire would cue some intimacy or even singing without us feeling phony?

I’m telling you—the cues are off.

We used to rely on romance to cue sex.

Now we appear to hope that a well-planned calendar of sex will initiate romance.

A discussion of women’s rights used to cue men to consider the misogyny that still existed in them. Now such a conversation just makes guys get quiet—pretending to give a shit.

The cues are off.

There are fewer and fewer prayers of thanksgiving because there are too many prayers for victims of tragedy.

There is less holding of doors for others.

It’s become inexplicably important for us to enter first.

Free-flowing conversation among friends has turned into a chess match as we carefully pick our words so as not to offend or come across unenlightened.

Where is the cue that welcomed humility instead of the stiffness of foolish pride?

The cues are off.

Therefore the play acted out every day doesn’t seem to make sense. It fails to develop a plotline which leads to a story which gives us hope that the conflict in our second act can be resolved by the denouement. (Sometimes we even fail to get the cue to look up the word “denouement,” but instead, decide that the writer is too fancy.)

What are the cues?

How do we know how to be human beings on the stage unless we’re prompted to provide our best performance?

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 

Cuddle

Cuddle: (v) to lie close and snug; nestle.

Among the great myths floating down to us mortals from Mount Olympus is the assertion that women “like to cuddle” just as much or more than actually having sex.

This particular fable is favored by men so they don’t have to worry about the female orgasm and can spend about two-and-a-half minutes with their arm around their girlfriend and then roll over and go to sleep.

Meanwhile, the young lady is supposed to be completely satisfied having her face stuck into the hairy armpit of a gentleman friend, who really only desires to stop panting so he can go to sleep.

Let me give you a clue:

A woman who has had an excited sexual experience and orgasmed also wants to roll over and recover from the experience.

A woman who did nothing but permit the pleasure of her mate may wish to settle for a squeeze, a hug and a hair stroke and call it a day, but any member of the human race who has sex and achieves orgasm is not that interested in confirming it or enhancing it by being a cuddle bug.

I know there are people who will disagree and there are women who insist that they “just love to cuddle.”

(Actually, some men voice this as well, but we won’t get into it.)

When human sexuality is done correctly and a little bit of surface sweat breaks out all over the body and the toes tingle at the highest point of arousal and breathing is heavy, the natural conclusion to celebrate the experience is to bless one another with a great night’s sleep.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 

Cud

Cud: (n) the portion of food that a ruminant returns from the first stomach to the mouth to chew a second time.

I am susceptible.

I don’t like to admit it.

Often, it’s why I refuse to watch medical shows or even programs of itinerant travelers who share experiences of strange lands, animals and diseases.

I buy in too easily.

Such a thing happened to me short years ago. In my ongoing pursuit to remove the mythology of my obesity and supposedly create the human-flesh-muddle that I’m meant to be, I listened to a young, slender woman (my first mistake) expound upon the importance of chewing your food at least twenty times before swallowing.

She explained that this not only made digestion easier, but also that chewing at for such an extended period of time caused us to eat less, and therefore promoted weight loss.

In that moment–in my flurry of passion and with her apt representation– she was able to convince me to try. She closed off her discourse by highlighting that animals like the cow chew their cud over and over again until it is just a mushy mess of drippy liquid, which they then gulp.

Surviving her vivid description, I sat down to my dinner that night and decided to pursue my own cud chewing.

I quickly realized that my normal number of chews for consumption was four or five.

I was still comfortable with eight chews.

At twelve I had to take my mind to a faraway place to keep insanity from ensuing.

When I finally reached twenty and tried to swallow, nothing happened. (All the little gushy, mushy pieces had already snuck down my throat to the stomach to the awaiting stomach).

Yet faithful pilgrim that I am, I continued this practice for an entire meal.

It was exhausting—so tiring it was that at the end of the feast, I found myself needing energy—starved.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 

Cucumber

Cucumber: (n) a long, green-skinned fruit with watery flesh, usually eaten raw in salads

There are times I feel that the only thing I have available to show off is my ignorance. It is rather annoying.

Because sometimes I don’t know I’m ignorant.

The world is filled with so much information that it is completely impossible to be up to date on everything, leaving one and all with a spotty perspective.

One day I was at a luncheon with four dear women, and the waiter asked the ladies if they wanted cucumber on their salads.

On cue, they all giggled vigorously.

I joined them, not knowing what I was laughing about. (I hate it when I do that, because then people assume I’m in on the joke, and for the next terrifying minutes I have to listen carefully for context clues in the conversation, to try and figure out what has brought about the hilarity.)

These women were very tricky. They actually began to carry on a conversation about cucumbers that was so mystical and laced with code that I was unable to ascertain any true insight.

They started to discuss the smell. This brought on more comic relief. (At least I had the sense to stop laughing and just listen.)

One girl said she enjoyed the texture, which made everybody burst into rolls of levity.

One of the young ladies asked if anybody else had a preference with the size. Did they like their cucumbers short and round, or long and lean? There was not much discussion or disagreement on this one. Short and round won the day.

It became really frustrating to me when the salads arrived and as they nipped and chewed at their cucumbers, they looked at one another and moaned.

I realized they must be playing with me, but there was no hint of deception from any of them. They seemed to be lost in their world of cucumbers, without me knowing how to get to their location.

Wanting to join in, and chomping on my salad, I remarked, “I like cucumbers, too.”

My comment won the laughter fest of the day—although I felt it was directed more in the realm of humiliation than appreciation.

 

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 

Cuckoo Clock

Cuckoo clock: (n) a wall or shelf clock, often carved and decorated, that announces the hours by a sound like the call of the cuckoo

For a very brief season, I had some money.

I did not earn it. The finance was acquired through an inheritance.

It was annoying.

Money is like a parakeet you invite into your house and no matter how hard you try to shut out the sound of the tweeting, it abides.

No matter how much I attempted to envision my money as having a station at the bank, I kept trying to bring it home for the holidays.

Yes.

I wanted to spend it.

I especially wanted to buy things I would not normally buy, but would show others that in buying them, I expressed my opulence.

In everyday English, I wanted my money to brag for me.

On some days, I sat in my small office and thought about items I could purchase that would make me seem prosperous, worldly and well-traveled.

On one such occasion, a cuckoo clock came to mind.

I had always been enamored with them. The idea of a mechanism telling time while also having a little bird pop out of a door on the hour, singing a song to let me know that sixty minutes had passed, enchanted me. How adorable.

I became obsessed.

I quickly found out that they were expensive. But hell—wasn’t that the point?

I learned that the best ones came from Germany, so I suddenly became very patriotic and decided to “buy American.”

I found the best American-made cuckoo clock that was available to be purchased by a mortal such as myself.

It arrived, I opened it up, it looked beautiful, I read the instructions, had others read them with me, so we could all come to a consensus on how to get our cuckoo clock to cuckoo.

After all this was done, we hung it on the wall.

It never worked right. Not even once.

Oh, it would cuckoo—but it would cuckoo like it was cuckoo.

You know what I mean?

It was a clock that had a whim. Apparently, it disregarded the importance of time, and the bird came out to do its show whenever the clock felt like it should.

It still looked beautiful, but if people visited for more than an hour, they became aware that I had purchased a clock with a wacko bird.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C