Cabin

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Cabin: (n) a small shelter or house, made of wood and situated in a remote area.

The human brain is not spacious.

Matter of fact, it’s pretty cramped.

When you add the clutter of prejudice, misconception, disappointment and selfishness, it can be extraordinarily confined.

That’s the way it was with my dad.

My dad never got a chance to find out if he was a good man or a bad man because he was surrounded by men just like him. Therefore he compared himself to them.

They were all frightened of change.

They were all nervous about not having enough money.

They were all intimidated by despondent and dissatisfied women.

And they were all looking for a retreat.

My dad went to Canada–sometimes twice a year–to hunt and fish, but mostly to try to find something in his brain that was his own.

My mother didn’t mean to be intrusive. She always felt she was being helpful. The problem is, helpful is rarely achieved if no one is asking for help.

My dad was not unhappy, he just wanted to be left alone. So he built himself a cabin out on a small piece of land that we owned outside town. It was rustic, it was small, and had very little in it–except my dad, when he wanted to be away from everybody.

My girlfriend and I occasionally slipped out to the location to “play doctor” which eventually led to “hospital.”

But every time I came into that room I could feel his loneliness. I know it sounds poetic, or even misplaced, but there was a quiet in the room which was disconcerting instead of reassuring.

The day he died, people gathered at our home to consume all the casseroles which had been brought in by well-meaning relatives. I slipped away and drove to that cabin, walked in and sat down on the cot that was in the middle of the room.

I don’t know what I expected. Perhaps I thought I would feel the spirit of my dearly departed father.

All I felt was the loneliness which was now even more lonely, because its only visitor had finally escaped.

 

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Cabbage

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Cabbage: (n) a cultivated plant eaten as a vegetable,

Cabbage, while cooking, smells like farts.

Since this is true, one should not be surprised that consuming such a concoction should continue the fart-smelling process all the way through your body. Matter of fact, your house will smell like farts for days after cooking and digesting cabbage.

Another insight: cabbage is one of those vegetables that only tastes good if it’s cooked to a certain level of tenderness–or if the head has a slight sweetness to it.

How are you supposed to find that out?

I suppose you could break off a little piece in the grocery store and chew on the raw leaf. I’m not going to do that.

And so, because it is difficult to prepare, quickly becomes mushy, and the more it’s overcooked the more bitter it tastes, it’s just best to wait until some professional cooks it for you.

Otherwise, you will have fart smell in your house, fart smell in your body, and wonder if it was worth it in the first place.

 

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Cabaret

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Cabaret: (n) a nightclub or restaurant where entertainment is performed.

Even though life is not a cabaret, it also is not a church service.

It’s not a funeral.

It’s not a long wait at the DMV.

It’s not sitting in a doctor’s office.

It is not watching a second television show because you have nothing else to do.

It is not reading a book and thinking it’s just as good as traveling.

It is not a night out with the boys or one out with the girls.

It is not a political party.

It is not intolerance.

It is not going to your job and being miserable.

It is not going to your job and offering a lackluster performance.

It is not favoring your culture over another.

It is not thinking that you’re better than other people.

It is not owning anything (but a winning smile).

It is not selfishness.

It is not well-advertised bigotry.

It is not…

Well, I could go on. Let me change my original thought:

Life is a cabaret.

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Cabal

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Cabal: (n) a secret political clique or faction.

It was strange.

I woke up, glanced down and it appeared that my leg had a red line going from my knee to my ankle.

Although I would not call myself a hypochondriac, if needed, I can imitate one. It spooked me.

Of course, I pulled up the Internet and found that there were several dastardly explanations. No pleasant determinations for such a mark on one’s flesh. I spent about two-and-a-half hours allowing my brain to go in and out of scenarios about this unknown “line in the flesh.”

I decided to keep it a secret. I didn’t share with anyone else. After all, if my time on Earth was nearing an end, it would be best for my loved ones to be surprised instead of having any elongated sorrow.

Then for some reason, the spirit within me made an internal suggestion to my mind.

“Did you try to wash it off?”

I was offended by my spirit. Such a childish proposal. But so as not to quell the “little fella’s” desire to be heard, I grabbed a wash cloth and simply ran it across my stripe, fully prepared for nothing to happen. It suddenly began to disappear.

It then occurred to me that the previous evening I had eaten a cherry popsicle and apparently it dripped onto my leg and had simply dried.

My problem was solved. Quickly.

So when I saw the word “cabal” today, it reminded me of that incident.

We all look for complicated, fussy, secretive and even difficult answers. That’s why we get political think tanks and theological discussions, and have seminars on this and seminars on that.

But before we go off and find a mahogany table, where we all gather and talk too deeply about shallow problems, grab a damp cloth. Do the obvious. See if the damn problem will just wash away.

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Cab

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Cab: (n)  short for taxicab.

Even though we contend that honesty is the best policy, sometimes the dividends are questionable.

Often I will admit my weakness or even ignorance in an attempt to create empathy with an audience–only to have someone come up to me afterwards, shaking their head and saying, “You really feel that way?”

So with that in mind, with some trepidation, I offer the confession that I have only been in a taxicab four times.

I don’t live in New York City.

I have never been without some sort of vehicle for my own personal use.

So the idea of climbing into the back of a car and telling a driver where to take me, as a meter continues to remind me of how much I’m going to have to pay for the opportunity, is a little unnerving.

I also have this flaw of wanting to converse with everyone I meet. During my taxi drives, this became problematic. All four of my drivers were apparently advocates of maintaining their language of birth instead of pursuing the local dialect. So they did talk to me, and I tried to catch a word here or there, but I am sure I nodded my head at the wrong places and remained silent during awkward intervals.

I also remember that I was always surprised at how much it cost. Matter of fact, when I watch a TV show based in New York City and see them taking all those cabs, I always wonder how they can afford it–unless they don’t have an apartment and sleep in a box somewhere near a subway grate.

So it is difficult for me to talk about cabs.

Does it help that I like the game show where the driver asks the passengers questions– Cash Cab?

Pretty lame, huh?

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Byzantine

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Byzantine: (adj) excessively complicated plan

My scribe–typist, comrade or only person who’s willing to work with me on posting my blogs–told me this morning that we had reached the last word in the B’s on our quest for Words from Dictionary.

Comically, that word happens to be “byzantine,” which is basically a convoluted plan to do something that seems to have bizarre ramifications. In other words, something like writing an essay on every word in the dictionary.

It seems to be a deal you make with God, so that when He comes to take you to heaven, you explain, “I can’t go. I’m only on the letter E.”

After all, even a small child of four years would probably not make it through the entire dictionary–to zoology–in his or her lifetime.

A byzantine plot, adventure, or quest is so outlandishly contrived that one would wonder over the sanity of the instigator.

Yeah. That would be me.

See you tomorrow at C.

(That was clever, wasn’t it? “See you at C.”)

 

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Byword

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Byword: (n) expression summarizing characteristics

What do people think when they hear my name? That’s damn important.

Even though we try to play down the significance of public opinion, since none of us live an isolated existence, people’s idea of us are pretty important.

Am I so mixed up that those who know me find it difficult to pinpoint a continuing virtue or a clinging vice?

Am I constantly reinventing myself to such an extent that no one is sure what I treasure?

Even though we extol the value of choice, it is actually a blessing. Many times we get no choice. All we have is the overwhelming evidence of how we selected to be known, punctuated by countless irrefutable examples.

What is my byword?

  • Is it selfish?
  • Dull?
  • Is it aging?
  • Kind?
  • Indifferent?
  • Is it oblivious?
  • Gentle?

Each one of these words has attended a master class of achievement.

Frankly, no one assumes we’re oblivious–we have to prove it through our complete mental absence.

No one assumes we’re kind unless we have extended kindness.

No one insists we’re old unless we’re constantly complaining about our pains.

So here’s my advice: pick a profile and profile it daily.

 

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