Chewing Gum

Chewing gum: (n) flavored gum for chewing

Early on in my life, I decided there were two types of people I did not want to become: argumentative and complaining. I find that anyone who pursues these two qualities always ends up turning off anyone they know and feeling very alone.

So I am not going to be argumentative, nor do I share this story with a complaining spirit.

One night I fell asleep with a huge wad of bubble gum stuck in my mouth and woke up the next morning with it lodged in my hair. (It was
back when I had hair. Lots of it.)

The gum, for some reason or another, had managed to distribute itself all throughout my locks. When I went to a barber to ask what could be done, the suggestion was made that I shave my head and start from scratch.

I was twenty years old. This was unacceptable.

So a friend of mine decided to look up in the encyclopedia (since there was no Internet at the time) how to remove gum from hair.

There were three suggestions. Being barely out of our teens, we decided to try all of them.

The suggestions were to smear the gum with mayonnaise, peanut butter or motor oil. We divided my hair into thirds and sampled all of the solutions.

None of them worked.

Except… for some reason, the peanut butter and the mayonnaise clung to the gum, making, if possible, an even worse mess.

I did not know what to do.

Finally, another friend of mine attempted to surgically and carefully cut the gum out of my hair, leaving behind whatever part of my “do” remained.

After this process, my head looked like crab grass with dried-out places in between, apparently caused by drought.

It took six weeks–yes, six weeks–before my hair grew out and all the gum was completely dispelled from my scalp.

I still chew gum.

But never as a nocturnal practice.

 

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Chew

Chew: (v) to bite and work (food) in the mouth with the teeth

We often insert the words “good” or “bad” in front of “idea” before we actually consider the merits or the dangers.

People just say, “That’s a good idea!”

Or they dismiss any excitement in the air and proclaim it “a bad idea.”

Here is the breakdown of the word “idea:”

Idea–good–workable.

Ideas come and go.

To find out if they’re good, we have to ask ourselves one question: will we faithfully pursue this concept without prejudice to a fair conclusion?

If we’re willing to do that, we’ll find out immediately if the idea we thought was good is workable. And we have to be honest–if it’s not workable, it’s no longer a good idea. And if it’s not a good idea, it’s no longer an idea anymore and should not be brought up again.

One day I read an article which suggested that digestion, and even consuming less food, could be better achieved by chewing each mouthful at least twenty times.

This seemed reasonable to me.

So the next time I sat down at my meal and I placed the food in my mouth, I counted how many times I chewed it. My natural inclination was to stop at about seven. If it was a piece of steak, maybe eleven. But chewing food twenty times makes it so mushy and meaningless that you want to spit it out instead of swallow it. (Maybe that’s the way you lose weight. Instead of swallowing the mess in your mouth, you expel it–therefore relieving yourself of the calories.)

Chewing is a necessary process so that we don’t choke on the food we so eagerly want to consume.

Over-chewing takes away all the pleasure of eating and enjoying slurping up our treats.

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Chest of Drawers

Chest of drawers: (n) a piece of furniture with drawers set into a frame

The reason that ignorance is often bliss is that information does not always enlighten–sometimes it just frightens.

I was twenty years old before I had my own chest of drawers–this being defined as a wooden structure that was all mine and only contained
my clothing.

When I finally had such a gift, while realizing how special it was, I was still not particularly overwhelmed with enthusiasm.

I was raised in a 900-square-foot home with two bedrooms, two parents and four brothers. I did not know we were cramped. I occasionally would nearly pee my pants waiting for the single bathroom, but I assumed that was just part of the game we call life.

There was not enough space in the tiny bungalow to have multiple chests of drawers. So we shared.

It was up to my mother, who did the laundry, to remember which drawer belonged to which kid, and to place the clothes carefully. Some drawers were even divided in half. That meant my underwear often sat side-by-side with Bill’s and Danny’s.

I didn’t give this much thought. It was the advantage I had by being plump–no one was going to accidentally grab a pair of my drawers from my drawer.

Actually, everybody seemed completely satisfied that since the system worked, it was no social catastrophe that we did not possess our own unique chest of drawers.

Matter of fact, to this day, when I’m traveling on the road and find my motel room to have limited storage, I don’t give it much of a thought. For after all, it’s just clothes.

And I never met a pair of shorts that got fussy with my pants.

 

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Chestnut

Chestnut: (n) a glossy brown nut that may be roasted and eaten.

Beware of those who pursue authenticity simply to establish the superiority of their cause.

Spending Christmas with some friends many years ago, the suggestion was made that we try to roast some chestnuts over an open fire to
capture the sensation of Mel Tormé,  when he wrote “The Christmas Song.”

You remember…

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Jack Frost nipping at your nose…”

Not familiar with Jack Frost, we decided to go for the chestnuts. Actually, they decided–those purists who felt that authenticity gave them an edge in the competition for supremacy.

Three problems immediately came to the forefront:

  1. Nobody knew anything about chestnuts–and this was before Wikipedia enabled us to fake it.
  2. Nobody had any idea what type of fire would be necessary for roasting, or how the little fellas would line up to be toasted.
  3. And of course, none of us knew what chestnuts tasted like.

At first, it seemed to go pretty well. We were able to locate chestnuts, and somebody provided a solid brass container with two extended arms, so the chestnuts could be placed above the fire for cooking.

It looked lovely.

Then for some reason, the gentleman who basically instigated the event, became so excited about checking on his chestnuts that he forgot that the brass container was metal and had been dangling over (you got it) an open fire. For some reason, he reached in with his hands to remove the container and then lurched back in horror and pain, his paws red and ablaze.

So rather than having chestnuts roasting over an open fire, we ended up driving our friend to the Emergency Room to have his hands treated and wrapped in gauze.

Upon returning about two and a half hours later, the chestnuts had burned because no one remember to take them off–once again–the open fire.

In case you don’t know, chestnuts, like any number of other substances, don’t smell very good when they are burned. As a matter of fact, the odor of nutty immolation was in the house for months to come. Needless to say, not much was ever said about chestnuts, roasting or open fires.

Sometimes it’s just better to go out and buy a package of peanuts and warm them in the microwave.

Then pretend.

 

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Chest

Chest: (n) the front surface of a person’s or animal’s body

I’m always amused when people take credit for having beauty or they are depressed over some perceived ugliness. Did we have any choice?

Since there’s no genetically engineered children, all of us basically came out of the gene pool. Some of us got a towel and some didn’t.

That’s just how it works. This is what I thought of when I saw the word “chest.”

When I was a young man of seventeen, convinced of my maturity, I took a look at my chest. Where it was supposed to be muscular, it was a bit droopy and fat, threatening the appearance of small titties. My nipples didn’t harden to my satisfaction. Sometimes they just laid there, soft and full, with springtime promise.

And the main problem was that I had absolutely no hair. Today that’s considered a good thing, but when I was growing up, men had hair on their chest and women did not–and for some reason, women liked hair on a man’s chest.

I dreamed of a day when my chest would be much larger than my waist. (That’s the goal.) I’ve never achieved that.

So as I sit here and breathe today, I am extraordinarily grateful that I have found women over the years who have overlooked my soft, white, puffy, marshmallow chest area and have compensated in their minds by the fact that I’m conversational…and I know how to tip a waitress.

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Cherub

Cherub: (n) a beautiful or innocent-looking child.

It takes a lot for me to become motivated to try to lose weight.

It’s similar to convincing an ant-eater that ant consumption is bad for its health. After all, you are named “ant-eater.” To suddenly stop eating ants not only removes your diet, but robs you of your identity.

I.e., if I am not a fat man, who am I?

If I’m not the guy talking about calories while lamenting my metabolism, how would I be able to find myself in a crowded mall?

My identity is wrapped up in my weaknesses just as much as my virtues. I don’t know why we take so much time to lie, cheat and cover up our frailties, when the
y are obviously going to pop up and announce their presence.

But every once in a while, I do become motivated to try to carve away some of the fat from my body. It usually takes a shock. One such occasion happened when a gentleman from a newspaper, reviewing my show and describing my face, wrote: “He is a chubby fellow with cherub-like features.”

I was appalled.

There is no man born on this Earth who wants to be a chubby cherub. Matter of fact, if you told a woman that her blind date was “chubby and cherub-like” she just might call in sick.

I became obsessed.

I went to my bathroom mirror and stood there for at least fifteen minutes, peering at my cheeks–my second chin which was thinking about adding on an addition–and eventually became convinced that I indeed was a cherub. Although that supposedly has angelic proportions, it also makes you look too child-like and too plump.

I immediately started a diet, which didn’t last long because I was motivated for all the wrong reasons.

So over the years I have tried to grow a beard, which was as successful as any other cherub, and I’ve sported a mustache–a goatee which I occasionally have to pencil in because it’s just not dark enough.

This whole story would be very pathetic except for the fact that deep in my heart, I really don’t care.

My confidence is not based on my appearance, but rather, the confidence my appearance may proffer to others.

 

 

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Cherry-Pick

Cherry-pick: (v) to selectively choose (the most beneficial items) from what is available.

Living in an era when social slop is often offered as emotional cuisine, it is sometimes difficult to ascertain the bad from the good and call it ugly.

Matter of fact, upon reading the word “cherry-pick” this morning, a negative feeling came over me–images of prissy people sitting around
choosing their favorites based upon preference in design and structure.

People often say that I cherry-pick my political views, missions and certainly my spirituality. So to those critics, let me say with full-throated confidence:

You are right.

I have no idea if what I believe about government would actually work, but in my mind it is certainly preferable to the “dance of the dunce” that we presently parade in Washington, D.C.

I don’t know if I am any kind of expert on television, movies and entertainment–I just know that I don’t like anything that doesn’t both entertain and inspire me.

And I certainly cannot contend that the Gospel I believe in is completely in line with the one that was in the mind of the Nazarene who strolled the Earth in loincloth so many centuries ago. But after many years of living, I believe it is still the good news that actually functions in the hearts of all cultures.

It is time we begin to cherry-pick:

Start liking movies for their content instead of who stars in them or who directs them.

Begin to believe in ideas, not because 25,000 people gather to cheer them on, but because they are full of mercy and grace.

Listen to music that stuns our consciousness with an immersion of human awareness instead of merely demonstrating the height and breadth of technology.

I am a cherry-picker–and because of that, I have found my life to be fruitful.

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