Classroom: (n) a room, typically in a school

I wish they would have told us the truth.

I suppose they were afraid if we knew the truth, we might get discouraged. Maybe we’d give up.

For some reason, our teachers and school administrators thought it was best to dangle the possibility of growing up to be adults someday
instead of letting us know that “who we are now” is pretty much who we would end up being.

We might have spent more time trying to do better instead of sitting in the back of the classroom hiding, hoping no one would call on us, refusing to emerge from our turtle shell to become lions and tigers, yet knowing that such a position would be impossible unless there were evolutionary stages in between.

Yes, somewhere along the line, in that classroom, we needed to transition from single-cell organisms into a more complex species.

They didn’t tell us.

Maybe they were hoping that high school, church, tests, our first sexual encounters or even college would stir us to new awakenings.

But since we carried the same personality and fears into each opportunity, we came out almost every time with identical conclusions.

So the fourteen-year-old kid who’s insecure becomes the eighty-four-year-old woman who still wonders if she’s pretty.

It is a bucket of shit.

I know that sounds gross, but it is the only description I can give for thinking that you can “leave well enough alone,” and well enough will give you anything…but being alone.

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Classless: (adj) having no class

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then kindness may only dwell in the mind of God.

We seem to have an excuse for every occasion when we resort to crude behavior. At least I do. (Forgive me for speaking for you.)

Being rude is usually a by-product of a reaction which comes quickly. We just don’t train ourselves enough before going out in public.

Oh, yes–we must practice our humanity. It is needful for us to envision scenarios when we are offended, shut out of the moment, so we can have some idea what is going to pour forth from our personality.

We should be saying “I’m sorry” a whole lot less because we have taken into consideration the possibility of affrontation.

For after all, some of our fellow-travelers do not feel powerful unless we are weakened.

They don’t sense their value unless everyone around them has been put in the bargain bin.

And they don’t wish to be nice because they view it as a definable weakness.

If you don’t practice class, you will be classless. If you hang around with folks who insist that you don’t need to say, “Thank you” or “I appreciate that,” it’s only because they plan on starving you from that warmth coming from them.

My family often thinks I am silly, because in the process of any given evening, I may say, “thank you” a hundred and twenty times. As you consider how excessive that may be, I am musing over how I could do it more.

When I do something good, I make sure I enjoy it thoroughly, because stumbling around waiting for others to express their admiration is a formula for deep depression.

We are a classless society simply because we are waiting for someone else to start it up, and no one has taken the time to put the fuel in their engine to accelerate toward tenderness.

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Classical: (adj) standard, classic.

I have worked for 22 years with an oboist.

She’s a little bit Mozart; I’m a little bit rock and roll.

When we teamed up, I think she was concerned that our musical tastes might be ill-suited for one another. She had played in symphony
orchestras, and I had bopped around with gospel, blues and pop.

What she did not know was that as a boy of eleven years of age, I got hooked on a record series called “The 25 Greatest Melodies of All Time” and “The 50 Most Influential Classical Music Pieces.” So along with listening to rock and roll and some gospel music, I played my recordings of Strauss, Wagner, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Rachmaninoff.

It was perfectly produced–the records didn’t have so much of each composition to bore me, just the highlights. What you might call the Cliff notes of the masters.

I loved the music. To this day, I think my partner is a little surprised when I insert a bit of understanding (or sometimes misunderstanding) of the music of that era. Matter of fact, she and I joined together to write some symphonies–our tribute to the styling, with the addition of our original juice.

It’s too bad we have to call something “classical.” It scares off the best market–young humans. After all, why would they want to listen to any music their parents might enjoy?

But what they don’t understand is that these composers who wrote this dynamic material were just a bunch of radical, rebellious, rag-tag and reckless adolescents.


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Class: (adj) showing stylish excellence.

I have selected the class of my identification.

It isn’t being white. I’m too blotchy for that.

It isn’t being young. I’ve eaten too much birthday cake.

It isn’t being old. My brain and spirit refuse to make that concession.

I’m not in a class with the intelligentsia. Matter of fact, I feel silly writing the word “intelligentsia.”

I’m not in the class of the ignorant. I try to avoid ignoring things.

I simply want to possess “who I am” as simply as possible and show class. What is class?

I suppose people would give many examples of class, but my definition is: the ability to expose arrogance without hurting anyone.

Life is filled with arrogant people who think they are a class above everyone else. Being able to welcome them back into the family of humanity without infuriating them or making them defensive is called classy.

Arrogance kills the human spirit because it forbids humility. Humility is the only thing that makes us tolerable to one another.

Join me in hoping for more class in our world.

And the best way to guarantee an answer to that wish is to sport a little bit more of the stuff yourself.



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Clash: (n) a violent confrontation

Does it really need to be violent?

Have we reached a point in our society where we think if arguments and struggles remain non-violent, then they’re perfectly acceptable?
Because a clash can take a toll without ever breaking a bone or cutting the flesh.

A clash is when we go into a time of interaction with our fellow-humans, believing we are right instead of being open to the possibility of being a little wrong.

In that situation, it doesn’t matter what the subject matter is or the circumstances. People clash because they think they know there’s a fight coming–so when there’s a hint of a skirmish, they’re ready to explode.

This is why people of the black race who come out to protest the Ku Klux Klan have already envisioned a fist fight between the two parties long before any such confrontation crops up.

A husband and wife who return home in the evening grouchy, having had a bad day at work, will pick at one another until they create a clash.

A clash always occurs when ego, meanness, self-righteousness and circumstances collide at the same moment. If any one of these is removed, the clash can be avoided.

Is anyone willing to do that?

Am I prepared to consider a life where I bring ideas–minus opinions–to gain deeper understanding?

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Clarinet: (n) a woodwind instrument with a single-reed mouthpiece

There were twenty-one members in my junior high school band. Eight of them played the clarinet. It not only seemed imbalanced, but
sounded even worse.

It didn’t take me long to learn to hate the clarinet.

It’s one of those instruments that has to be played perfectly, and even when it is, one’s listening toleration is abbreviated.

The famous clarinetist Benny Goodman may be the only person who will ever be remembered fondly for putting the “black licorice stick” in his mouth. Every other person who licked the reed and then tried to blow through the horn has produced varying degrees of misery for the surrounding humans.

I know there may be those who disagree with me. They may even cite a case when their clarinet solo in high school brought their mother to tears. (But are we sure they were tears of joy? People often cry when they’re in pain…)

I think it’s safe to say that even if you find my assessment to be too judgmental, I probably will not find you anytime soon attending a concert advertised, “A Clarinet Chorale.”


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Clarify: (v) to make things less confused

In our attempts to discover right and wrong, good timing and bad timing, and safe or unsound, we have become excellent liars.

Not willing to take a chance on sharing what we feel–out of a deep fear that we might be incorrect–we have developed a series of “wedge
statements” which seem to fit into any given clumsy moment, offering absolutely no insight or means of clarifying.

Things like:

“We have that under advisement”

“That’s something we were just talking about the other day”

“We have a committee checking into that”

“We are collecting data”

“Of course we want to do what’s right for the American people”

“This is no time to make rash decisions”

All of these squeaky-clean, insipid excuses may avoid committment, but have more and more of our citizens ending up committed (mainly to mental hospitals).

Somewhere along the line, you have to clarify your position, even if you happen to be completely out-of-whack.

After all, holding a cough in does not get rid of the foul mucus. Likewise, holding in an opinion does not dispel ignorance. It just allows it to grow like mushrooms in a dark cave.

“Let me clarify my position” is not an attempt to prove your point. It lets those around you have an awareness and sensitivity of the emotional air you are presently breathing–so they will know how to offer you oxygen.


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