Clay: (n) a stiff, sticky fine-grained earth that can be molded

We don’t know anything.

Our science books, a hundred years from now, will be comedy club routines.

Our religions will cause people in the next generation to blush in embarrassment. We are perniciously ignorant because we insist that our
discoveries are so significant that it will be difficult to surpass them.

Yet we are plagued by hypocrisy because simultaneously I-phone 8 immediately needs I-phone 9.

So when you read the ancient text that “God formed man from the dust of the ground,” the poetic nature of the sentiment–and also the significance of understanding how limited our time on “Maple Street” will end up being–leaves out the fact that dust does not cling.

It does not form.

It blows, scatters and crumbles.

So although we may end up being dust somewhere along the line, the story should have informed us that the Creator obviously added his spit.

It was “Daddy spit.” (I know it’s not as famous as Mommy spit.) But it changed dust to clay, which could cling together and form flesh, blood and persons.

So even though I am made of the dust of the Earth, I am emotionally and spiritually held in place by the Saliva of the Most High God.

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Claw: (n) a horny nail on the foot of a beast

“Claw your way to the top.”

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?

Matter of fact, if you enter the intense dialogue of a business meeting or the fevered pitch of a pre-game sermon, you might just hear that
statement presented as the best way to achieve victory.

Animals have claws.

And when we continue to portray ourselves as animalistic, we lose all the anointing of having just a teaspoon of the Divine sprinkled into our souls.

We don ‘t have claws. We have hands.

And the advantage of having a hand is that it comes with fingers which have the sensitivity of merciful touch.

We don’t have to hurt people to affect them.

We don’t have to rip into their flesh to garner their attention.

We don’t have to clasp them and violently carry them away to do our will.

We have fingers with fingertips, and the ability to reach out, caress and communicate the tenderness that’s in our minds.

Be careful with those who like to keep us in the jungle instead of allowing us the honor of using our hands and fingers to till a garden.

We are human. We don’t need to claw our way to the top.

We can gently feel our way.


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Clavicle: (n) technical term for collarbone.

He weighed eighty-five pounds.

I, on the other hand, was a hundred and ninety. We were both eleven years old, and close friends.

He loved to wrestle. He especially enjoyed doing it with me because it made him feel strong, tough and courageous to take on his massive

Of course, I’m not gonna roll over and not wrestle (even though I guess rolling over is part of wrestling). So we would get into it.

One day, during a sleepover at his house, we were tumbling along, and he suddenly screamed out in pain. I thought he was just kidding, so I continued my vigil. But he kept squalling, and finally said, “Stop it!”

I pulled away as his mother appeared in the door, having heard the great commotion.

Well–they took him to the doctor. He had broken his clavicle. They explained to me that meant his collarbone.

It’s a design flaw.

The clavicle is a suspension bridge that goes across from one shoulder to the other, which should be thicker–maybe four lanes. But it’s pretty thin, and more like a gravel country road.

It actually breaks pretty easily. At least, that’s what my mother told me when trying to comfort my soul over hurting my friend.

His mother, on the other hand, refused to allow me to come over any more, for fear that I might snap her boy’s neck. I explained there was a difference between a neck and a collar bone. Her response was, “You’re not a doctor. What would you know?”

So whenever I hear of someone breaking his or her clavicle or collar bone, I have two thoughts deep in my heart:

  1. Ah, oh… No more fun with your friends.
  2. Can someone make that little thing stronger?

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Claustrophobia: (n) irrational fear of confined places

Who says it’s irrational??

Obviously, the definition was put together by people who pride themselves on the fact that they can tolerate small spaces.

I’ve always been claustrophobic. It was particularly embarrassing when I was a young man, playing junior high football, and at the end of
the game–a victory–everyone would jump on top of each other, creating a huge pile of sweaty, stinky, adolescents. I occasionally found myself at the bottom of that mountain.

It was embarrassing because even though I was a large fellow, when I looked up into the surroundings, it seemed like I was seventy-five feet deep, stuck in a hole–and couldn’t breathe.

I slashed out with my hands, throwing kids hither, thither and yon. My coach yelled at me for going into a violent fit. I took him to the side and tried to explain that I had a terror of small spaces, making me feel as if I was suffocating.

He looked at me and said, “Get over it. Life is in your face.”

As he walked away, I immediately began to plot how to keep life out of my face. After all, if you’re claustrophobic you need some room to inhale.

And in my opinion, having that room is not a bad idea anyway.



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Clause: (n) a stipulation

Recently, I had a new grandson born. Everyone was so excited. After all, it’s a new life.

The proclamation was, “Welcome to Earth, little Julius!”

But Julius, my dear little friend, you need to read the accompanying clause. The actuary tables tell us the average person lives about seventy-seven years. Let’s
break that down:

The first eighteen of those seventy years are spent living in a house under rules and regulations, taking orders from everyone over twenty-one years of age, dabbling with all sorts of shit you shouldn’t, and confused because the front part of your brain literally has not grown in.

The next twelve years leading up to the age of thirty, you find yourself on the hunt for education, occupation and romantic elevation. There is too much experimentation, frustration and degradation involved in that process. You will often be bewildered because your original elation over obtaining your freedom has been deflated by reality.

Then you reach your thirtieth birthday–a whirlwind of messy nastiness, some of which you’re already trying to pay off in installments.

Now it’s time to have some kids of your own. You decide on two, and end up with three because someone forgot something. These three children begin the life process, impudently resenting all authority figures over the age of twenty-one, primarily you and your mate. They possess more opinions than intelligence.

You feel love but also occasionally diminished–because what you planned to do with your life has been hijacked by others telling you that you’re already old, decrepit and dead, and it’s their turn.

This takes you to about age fifty. At this point, you are greeted by doctors. They tell you that everything you’ve done in the first five decades has created some unhealthy results in your body. Probes, operations and sometimes diseases kick in to remind you of your mortality.

You suddenly find yourself carrying a pill case. You try to make it unobtrusive or even decorative, but you are now hooked on meds for the rest of your life.

This takes you to seventy. Of course, in the meantime you’ve become a full-fledged grandpa or grandma–with more little children who have found even meaner, egregious ways to ignore you. They are instructed to hug you, kiss you and send you thank-you notes including unidentifiable pictures which they’ve drawn. You learn to acquiesce and call three lines scrawled on a piece of paper “great art.”

This leaves you seven years.

You can’t walk as well anymore. You have to stop to recall your password for your Facebook account. And when you look in the mirror there seems to be the face of a troll emerging from your countenance.

The purpose of this essay is to remind us all that life comes with a clause. It’s a simple one. It’s not even in fine print.

Welcome to Earth (where you better make sure you enjoy what you do, or else what you do will take away all your joy–and that’s for sure).


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Clatter: (n) a continuous rattling sound

It’s a Christmas thing, isn’t it?

Do we ever use the word “clatter” at any other time than in the recitation of the poem, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas?”

You know what I mean. When everybody’s gone to bed and Mom and Dad are awakened: “There arose such a clatter.”

As I look at the definition, I realize how disappointed Santa Claus must have been. The North Pole crew certainly practiced this landing thing on roofs, right? And the goal is to get in and out of the house without waking anyone.

So if the poet is correct and Santa and his reindeer raised “a clatter,” some heads must have rolled on December 26th back up there at the North Pole.

For after all, the job is simple–fly straight, land quietly, take off silently.

But if you’re gonna be landing on roofs raising a clatter, all the mystique about your process is soon going to be gone.

That’s about the only time we ever use this word, right?

If somebody walked in a room and said, “Hey! What’s all the clatter?” we’d probably reply, “Listen, Charles Dickens, leave us alone…”

Or if someone was staying at your house and came down for breakfast and spoke up and said, “I hope I didn’t keep anyone awake last night with all my clatter,” honestly, you might think he’s a serial killer.


So I think this word is singularly supported by a poem which proclaims an action which would never have taken place if Santa’s team had rehearsed just a little bit more.

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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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