Column

Column: (n) a pillar or a page division; essay

The columns of our philosophy holding up our suppositions are divided into columns and rendered off for reading–in a column.

Now there’s a twisted path of reason. Should keep you busy for a while.

When I began writing on the Internet I was very uncomfortable with the term “blog.”

I am of the school of thought that if everyone thinks they can do something then no one can do it, because it is never done well.

Everybody has a blog.

For awhile I referred to my etchings in the great “Cloud” as columns–hearkening back to an era when newspapers actually delivered daily information.

No one liked “column.”

So I tried the word “essay.” Then I sounded like I lived in the nineteenth century, having tea with Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. (Emily Dickinson a no-show…)

It didn’t really make any difference. Once I penned something and placed it on the ethernet, it became a blog.

It’s just difficult to believe that blogs are going to sustain the great American experiment and hold up our faith so that insanity doesn’t crash in on us.

But since no one would ever listen to a case made for the value of pillars and justifications of margins, I think we are in the wild, wild West of authoring articles, sentiments and misspelled paragraphs from our six-guns of inadequacy.

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Colossal

Colossal: (adj) extremely large

When do things become so colossal that small starts looking big?

Think about it.

If you keep growing expectation and projects to outdo previous endeavors, not only are you making the marketplace insensitive to the joy of simplicity, but you’re also taking immense amounts of money and energy to trump others, when in the long run, the population is unimpressed.

One of the perfect examples of this is that Hollywood may make a movie for a hundred million dollars and sell a million tickets at the box office, while Sandy in Mt. Gilead, Ohio, will grab her phone and shoot her cat playing with a ball of string and have two million views.

Somewhere along the line, we have to get back to the notion that human beings need quality experiences, not quantity that’s pawned off as significant.

There was an old song from long ago that had a lyric which proclaimed, “Little is much.”

I find that if I can simplify the beauty of life down to the germ of an idea and present its purity, it has a much better chance of being well-received than some over-blown, colossal effort which hides the intimacy behind singing, dancing, explosions and Transformers.

 

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Coloration

Coloration: (adj) a specified pervading character or tone of something.

Maybe Paul Simon was right in his song, “Kodachrome.” Everything looks worse in black and white.

That certainly was in the mind of those individuals who started adding color to movies.

I remember the first time I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” with color enhancement. I don’t know if I was in an obsessive mood or if the hues were not true, but
during the final scenes, I kept wondering why Jimmy Stewart (Mr. George Bailey) was wearing a lavender shirt.

I tried to keep my mind off of it, but there was a portion of me that just believed that a mauve color on that character was odd.

In like manner, when I watch television and they talk to me about “color commentary”–adding coloration to the news–it always surprises me that their choices are orange, crimson and fuchsia.

There was a certain warmth to black and white movies–the sniff of sincerity. Maybe it was the simplicity of believing we were getting the truth handed to us in black and white.

Sometimes color is just color–and not enlightening.

And often coloration is a fear of taking something that might seem drab and energizing it with joy.

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Color

Color: (n) pigmentation of the skin, especially as an indication of someone’s race.

To find a real black person you have to go deep into Africa.

The only white people are albinos.

To get yellow skin usually requires liver disease.

And red skin is any one of a number of young girls in Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break.

Yet for some reason we decide to take these colors and differentiate not only race–not only customs–but certainly intelligence, morality, violence and quality.

What actually is the difference in color between an American Negro and an American Hispanic, or an American housewife of Beverly Hills after leaving the tanning booth?

It can’t be about color. There just isn’t that much variation.

And of course, once you get right below the epidermis, we all pink up.

So what in the hell is this all about?

At one time we were so frightened there wouldn’t be enough squirrels, rabbits and wild turkeys in the woods, so we tried to thin the herd of our human competition by making them lesser, therefore teaching them they couldn’t eat the actual meat of the buffalo, but could have all the internal organs they wanted.

Are we still stuck in that survival mode?

Are we so terrified that we’re going to be exposed as lackers or slackers that we try to characterize one group of people as already occupying that space–and then colorize them?

 

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Colonist

Colonist: (n) a settler in or inhabitant of a colony

I like to believe I’m tough. In other words, able to handle challenges.

Recently, when I found myself stowed away during a hurricane, I was surprised at what a dependent, selfish and fussy child I could become just through inconvenience.

It was hot, confined and the food was a post-Apocalyptic menu. I nearly cried.

So when I think about the colonists who settled the United States, I am baffled. The ignorance, self-righteousness, arrogance and short-sightedness they brought with them in settling the New World is mind-boggling.

Didn’t they realize they were starting all over again and there would be huge changes? That big black-rimmed hats and dark, heavy woolen clothes might not be
ideal for the climate.

They also brought over a religion suited for parlor talk, now being tested in the dungeons of challenge.

And then I think to myself, they were really pretty brave.

How would I have been any different?

Would I have landed on the shore, walked around for a couple of weeks and concluded that I was going to have to pursue a completely different lifestyle, or else I would die from exposure–or even a common cold. Yes, the colonists had few remedies for sickness, and the ones they had were notorious for making you sicker.

Actually, it is quite remarkable and magnificent that they were able to muster enough flexibility and common sense to push on through.

It’s not easy being a colonist.

I occasionally discover that I am marooned in a new situation, very grateful that I’m not alone–that I at least have one or two buddies with me to help me survive all the frightening surprises.

Yes, all of us are really colonists–pitching our tents here on Earth for less than a century. We will be replaced quite soon–and truthfully, it won’t be that hard.

 

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Colonel

Colonel: (n) an army officer of high rank

Many, many years ago, my younger brother decided to join the Army.

It was a split-second option that popped into his mind based on the fact that he discovered that he was out of money, his transmission was
going out and his prospects with females seemed dreary.

Of course, in his mind the logical thing was to join the military and bivouac himself with thousands of other confused young studly types.

I tried to talk him out of it. He insisted I was against the country and had no patriotism.

Now, I knew my little brother real well. For example, he was not only afraid of spiders, but once peed himself when the word was mentioned–no actual hairy-legged threat nearby.

So in my mind’s eye, the possibility of him becoming a killer infantryman or a marauding marine was not only implausible, but a threat to our nation.

He mocked me. He rejected my counsel. Off he went.

In forty-eight hours–nay, forty-six hours later–I received a phone call from Oklahoma. A desperate wisp of a voice gasping through the receiver, “Get me out of here!”

“Here,” of course, was basic training. And the reason they call it basic training is that you are going to train, and basically, that’s the end of the discussion.

The worst part was that he threatened suicide.

Now, I’ve always heard through the clumps of wisdom that come from the grapevine that you should take it seriously when someone threatens to do himself in.

So I got on the phone. I called the base.

I was connected with a colonel. I shall leave his actual name out of this essay due to respect for his service to the country, and also the fact that he was being harassed by an older brother who had no idea of protocol.

I shall therefore refer to him as “Colonel What the Hell Are You Talking About?” or “Colonel Please Don’t Call Me Again,” or my favorite–“Colonel We Are Going to Come and Arrest You.”

Apparently, by some rule of his job or position, it turned out that he had to take my calls. He was not permitted to dodge them. Therefore, we got to know each other real well. (He has a dachshund named “Scottie.” His wife likes tulips but doesn’t think the word fits them.)

After he interviewed my younger brother, who had huddled himself in one of the bathroom stalls in the barracks, he agreed with me that this young man had no business being in the Man’s Army whatsoever. Matter of fact, we agreed that he had no business being in the Women’s Army.

But the Colonel insisted that his “hands were tied.” I must have heard this phrase a thousand times.

I did not know when to stop. It seemed to me that the only time to cease and desist was when my little brother was back at home, trying to figure out how to borrow money for repair on his beat-up car.

For after all, he was a young, confused fellow whose main concern should have been his frequency of masturbation.

Suddenly something changed.

I don’t know what happened. I don’t believe it was anything I said, but “Colonel I’m Sick of This and Ready to Move On” started to work with me instead of against me.

Two weeks later, my brother was standing back at home, wearing his army greens, sitting around a table of fried chicken, trying to tell his “war stories.”

I took in a deep breath, smiled inwardly, looked over at him and thought to myself, “Thank God you’re home, you miserable little twerp.”

 

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Colon

Colon: (n) large intestine or large bowel

Talk about “it’s a dirty job but somebody’s gotta do it.”

How’d you like to be a colon?

“What’s your job, Mr. Colon?”

“My entire function is to take the shit to the hole.”

I’ve had two colonoscopies in my life. That’s where they go into your intestine with a camera to make sure that it’s ooey-gooey and doing its job. They want to confirm that you don’t have cancer or polyps, which are possible precursors of the disease.

The first time I had a colonoscopy I went into the hospital feeling really bad. A beautiful young woman from China was my doctor. She was so sweet–but I knew
she thought I had cancer. It’s not that I believed I was free of the affliction, but I saw no particularly good reason to etch my tombstone until I had more information.

So they prepared me for the whole process.

The day before the event they brought in a gallon of fluid and told me to drink all of it in as short amount of time as possible. The drink loosens the bowels and empties everything inside–or at least, everything that is willing to be dislodged.

I was faithful. I pooped until my poop looked like water. (And that is a little weird.)

Well, long story short, she went in with her camera and found out there was no cancer and gave me a clean bill of health.

What I remember most about that experience is the legitimate joy on her face when she came to tell me I was alright. It was so intimate, tender and childlike that I teared up and cried.

Was I crying over her gentleness, or was it releasing tension I didn’t know I had about the possible diagnosis?

I don’t know. But it was beautiful.

So every time I go to the bathroom–well, nearly every time–I think about my colon and how patient it is to do its job.

And I also think about someone who was a complete stranger to me–a doctor–who possessed such empathy that she took a moment of grace and the memory of it will last for my whole lifetime.

 

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