Cringe

Cringe: (v) to cower in fear

My last name is spelled C-R-I-N-G.

Throughout my entire life, people have mispronounced it as C-R-I-N-G-E.

Though I try to be understanding, I do not comprehend why they don’t see that the pronunciation is merely “ring” with a C in front—Cring.

Or why not look at the name and do that beautiful, humble piece of humanity:

“Could you help me with the pronunciation of your name, so I don’t mutilate it?”

But many, many, many folk go ahead and pronounce it “Cringe,” and then are surprised when I correct them, exhibiting a mixture of, “Why don’t you get a better last name?” and “What’s the big deal?”

Well, you see, the big deal is that I do not want to be named after a word which connotes that I cower in fear. I have purposely avoided fear in my life and have certainly never adopted a profile of cowering.

This experience taught me one piece of wisdom.

Audacity rarely has virtue.

It is much too sure of itself.

It is self-reliant and often brash.

The amount of humility it takes to be certain about someone’s name is equivalent to the amount of progress you’re going to make as a human being in our tribe.

If you’re not sure, just ask.

Don’t take a stab at it.

Because like most stabs, it can really hurt.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Crimp

Crimp: (v) to check, restrain, or inhibit; hinder

Crimper.

Crimping.

Crimped.

The average person spends an awful lot of their waking hours trying to recover from feeling crimped.

Here’s how it works:

Arriving at the parking lot for work, you’re about to pull into the space when someone pulls in right before you. This is the crimper. He is crimping you. But you do not understand that he is doing this because yesterday the same thing happened to him and he ended up crimped.

Now, he stored up that frowning crimped position, and when the opportunity arrived on this day, he decided to turn into the crimper, so that he would not be the victim of crimping and end up crimped again.

As you can well imagine, this can start out small but end up with world powers possessing nuclear weapons which can destroy the Earth many times over.

Yes, even world leaders can turn into crimpers who are crimping one another, and one of them who is crimped has had his or her fill of it and does some button pushing. So this weary, frustrated victim decides to turn himself into a crimper and leave our beautiful Earth crumped.

This is not only plausible—it is unfortunately likely. What must we do to escape such a great demolition? Here’s an idea:

On your way to work, stop and make your peace with the possibilities.

Evaluate them. Example:

“If I actually find a great parking place, it would be miraculous. If I found a good parking place, it still would be outstanding. If I find a parking place and someone steals it from me, my best way of getting even is to pretend I didn’t even notice. But rather than becoming a victim of crimping, I will take the time to drive around the parking lot twice. First, to make sure I don’t feel crimped and secondly, just maybe a parking spot will come open even closer than the one I wanted. And the guy or gal who stole mine will have to walk by me on his or her way into the building.”

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Criminal

Criminal: (n) a person guilty or convicted of a crime

If my recollection holds any accuracy of memory, I believe it happened right after my twenty-eighth birthday. I was in a room with a bunch of friends—and some strangers—and a question was posed.

“What was your first job?”

Well, I let three or four people go before me so that I could understand if I was on point, what the question really meant and the best way to answer it.

After the fourth teller finished his story about being a bag boy at a grocery store, I raised my hand and explained, “The summer between my junior and senior year, I joined some sort of national work program for teenagers sponsored by the government, which offered opportunities for local jobs at minimum wage. After volunteering, I discovered that the possibility afforded to me was working at the cemetery, cutting the grass and taking care of the gravestones.

“I was torn between being grossed out and wondering whether anything could be any more boring. But the only other thing available was with a farmer, bailing hay. I did not like hay. I didn’t like heat. I didn’t favor sweating and knew the farmer would be there the whole time, and I’d have to really work hard. I thought that the keeper of the graves might actually trust me to do the job without peeking over my shoulder.”

“I was right. Matter of fact, after about four or five days, I discovered he never showed up to confirm my work. So I started coming to the graveyard, signing in, and then leaving. I was able to continue this practice for about two weeks, collecting my check—until I finally got caught.”

At this point I stopped speaking, thinking I was going to get some laughter and maybe even a round of applause for my tale. But instead, a young woman sitting across the room gasped and said:

“Geez…that was criminal.”

Looking into all the faces around me, I waited for someone to speak up and offer at least some support for my ingenuity.

No one did.

I was angry.

Although I did not stomp out of the room, I made my exit from the party as quickly as possible without drawing attention to my frustration.

I fumed. How dare anyone accuse me of being a criminal? I knew what a criminal was. It’s someone who commits crimes, right? An individual who breaks the law and is tracked down by the police and thrown in jail, to stay there until they learn their lesson or complete their sentence.

Then a horrible thing happened.

My conscience showed up.

For some reason, my conscience was in a mood to talk, in a most accusing way.

Mr. Conscience reminded me that three years ago, I had skipped out on rent that was due.

He also brought up the fact that I copped some money from a drawer when I was at a friend’s house.

There were four or five examples that my goddamned nosy conscience decided to dredge up. Each one could be individually explained away—and had been, by my glib nature.

But collectively, they showcased an individual who felt he was superior to everybody else—certainly high and lifted above the rules—and therefore could do what he wanted.

The conclusion was simple. I was a criminal because I committed a crime by breaking the law, which was really a rule set by those who have the uncomfortable job of trying to make things run smoothly by seeking common ground among diverse people.

I was thoroughly ashamed.

Since that day I have not lived a faultless life, but I’ve never been a criminal again. Because even though I don’t always agree, I always know that agreeable is necessary.

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Crimea

Crimea: (n) a peninsula in SE Ukraine

War.

Old men hear speeches and wave flags.

Young men grab guns and prepare to kill.

Old women have pictures of their sons in dress uniforms.

Young women attend funerals.

There’s nothing noble about war.

Perhaps merely removing the nobility of war—the romantic notion of heroism and bravery—might cause us to settle down and reconsider conflict.

I remember the first time I read Tennyson’s poem, “Charge of the Light Brigade.” It was a brilliant artistic expression of the courage of young soldiers on horseback during the Crimean War, who were asked to attack a battery of cannon with just their swords.

Tennyson meant well.

But he ended up glamorizing what was neither brave nor essential.

It was a foolish decision by a commander who was tired of nothing happening and decided to use human lives to experiment. Because of that it’s very difficult to hear the word “Crimea” without thinking of the Crimean War—which certainly brings to mind the unnecessary sacrifice of soldiers who were bound by duty.

I wonder what would happen if we forced people to commit to love, kindness and tenderness the way we drill murder, mayhem and anger into our infantry. Is it possible that we would no longer need teenage boys charging hills and dying so that old men can prove that they’re powerful?

I don’t know.

Crimea makes me think of war.

And the Crimean War makes me think of the “Charge of the Light Brigade.”

And that ridiculous decision makes me sad over unnecessary loss.

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Crime Does Not Pay

funny wisdom on words that begin with a CCrime does not pay: A maxim originating as a slogan of the F.B.I. and given wide currency by the cartoon character Dick Tracy.

Have you had the conversation?

I’m speaking of the sit-down you have with yourself, where you ask the all-important question:

Do I want to chase dreams or learn how to enjoy the visions provided?

It is huge.

There are many fine fellow-travelers who lose their way because they answer this question carelessly. They are convinced that more awaits them, that they deserve a better chance, or that the portion presented is insulting to their talent. After all, no one becomes a criminal because they’re overjoyed with their life.

Crime doesn’t even come to play unless you convince yourself that it’s time to take something you haven’t earned. This could be money, position, or even romance with another who is already entwined.

Crime, like every other piece of idiocy, is a bewildering mix of initiative and greed.

Of course, a case can be made that if we continue to accept our lot, we will never be able to ascertain what we might achieve if we were more aggressive.

On the other hand, we certainly know that the root of all fallacy, sin and misconduct is aggression.

The conversation needs to occur.

We have to find peace with our surroundings as we blow bubbles of possibility, hope and curiosity into the surrounding air.


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Crime Against Humanity

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crime against humanity: (n) a crime, such as genocide, directed against a large group

I am going to suggest six crimes against humanity which possibly should be considered as legitimate statutes. I am not suggesting there be prison sentences for them—but perhaps reminders to one another on how these six things perpetuate great pain on the human race.

  1. Every human being is better than an animal. To suggest, even jokingly, that somehow the animal kingdom has equivalency, is a crime. (We are worth many sparrows.)
  1. Insisting that every human has a destiny which they should try to locate, is cruel, when we all know that free will is the law of the Universe, and we make our own future.
  2. Flattering people because you don’t know what else to say is a crime against humanity because eventually the factual representation of their abilities will play out.
  3. Any assumption that gender, color, culture, religion, sexual orientation or political affiliation has anything to do with the virtue of a person is the definition of bigotry. This would be a crime.
  4. Anything that we cannot say to someone’s face should never be said behind their back.
  5. And finally, being sure of yourself is the surest way to make sure that no one else can be sure about you.

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Crier and Cried

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crier or cried: (v) one who cries or past tense of cry

It is at the core of the gender wars.

Historically, if not mythically, the contention is that women cry and men endure.

This crying is interpreted as weakness.

So a man may be willing to admit that he has cried—but would resent the hell out of being identified as a crier. On the other hand, females make no bones about the fact that they cried and are not nearly as put out with being referred to as a crier.

It creates the unrighteous and inequitable standard that those who shed tears may be sensitive, but that carrying such a profile is dangerous in a world where toughness is extoled as power. However, here is a fact that’s important to know:

Great men throughout history not only cried but were known to be criers.

From Jesus Christ to Abraham Lincoln you have examples of human males who were susceptible to tears because their hearts could be broken at the sight of pain, and the anger that might flush their feelings and cause mourning.

Let us not forget, at the end of every football game, one team departs cheering, and the other cries—or certainly has members who are criers.

I have cried.

I am willing to admit that I’m a crier.

I am a voice crying in the present wilderness.

My proclamations, though often filled with humor and wit, are saturated with tears of misgiving and sadness.

If you haven’t cried, you haven’t felt.

And if you aren’t a crier, you rob yourself of being known as a person with a depth of feeling.


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