Bunk Bed

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Bunk bed: (n) a piece of furniture consisting of two beds, one above the other, that form a unit.

Ralph had a good job and therefore had some money.

This was rare in our hometown area, where the local gospel singers who aspired to be superstars in the cavalcade of heavenly tunes were normally poor, with dreams the only stuffing in their heads.

I was one of those poor ones.

But Ralph had some money. So his quartet went out and bought a bus, and Ralphie Boy signed for it. It was a 4104 Greyhound, which I’m sure will mean nothing to you unless you can conjure the image of the transportation of that era. If you can muster a picture of a Greyhound, it more than likely is a 4104.

Did I mention that Ralph was also a carpenter? So he ripped the seats out and built the insides to look like a little home, complete with four bunk beds for traveling nights, which might require some sleeping.

Everybody who had a pitch pipe and desired to sing four-part harmony bounced between admiring Ralph and his bus and being envious that they were not in his quartet.

But he was generous and let people come along on little trips so they could say they had been in the magic chariot.

I went on one such trip. It was an “overnighter,” so I got to sleep in the bunk.

It was at that precise moment in that particular location, with my chubby frame wedged into a tiny bunk, that I realized I was claustrophobic. What started out as a night of dreams and new opportunities left me terrorized that the bunk just above me was going to suddenly give way, come crashing down and suffocate me, probably to death.

When we finished the trip, Ralph asked me how I enjoyed it, and being a polite Midwestern boy, I said it was absolutely amazing–but that I was a little scared of the bunk beds.

Ralph thought that was hilarious–so funny that he decided to share it with everybody he ever came in contact with.

So from that point on, no matter what the activity, people would walk up, pat me on the shoulder and say, “By the way, you can relax. There won’t be any bunks.”

 

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Bungle

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Bungle: (v) to carry out a task clumsily or incompetently

No two people think alike.

Maybe they come close. But the only true guarantee is that in a room of thirty souls, you will have thirty unique perspectives. If we try to find a consensus of those opinions, we will end up with political gridlock and spiritual malaise.

Why?

Because we trim off enough fat that eventually we do away with the meat. And once we lose the meat of a good idea, just simply having bones will not walk it across the room.

We bungle because we assume.

We assume that everybody agrees, or we assume that since everybody does not agree, that action needs to be taken without agreement. So naturally, those who did not give their stamp of approval will do their damndest to sabotage the idea since they were not part of it.

Probably the worst kind of bungling is thinking that a bad idea which has already produced bad results can be improved on, simply by making some simple adjustments.

Every four years, we take the archaic electoral system, which continues to bungle our elections, and tolerate it because trying to find agreement to do something else seems too arduous.

So the bungling continues.

Bungling is not simply having a bad idea. That happens to all of us.

Bungling is when you think a bad idea can sprout wings and suddenly fly to heaven.

 

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Bungee Jumping

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Bungee jumping: (n) the sport of leaping from a height while secured by a long nylon-cased rubber band from the ankles

Two.

I only need two reasons to chase me away from doing something.

Three.

Generally speaking, I have to have three reasons to proceed.

You may think I’m overly cautious, but it has prevented me from pursuing trends, fads and “hip stuff” which was later proven to be either erratic or deadly.

So when I see the word, or phrase in this case, “bungee jumping,” I put this idea into practice.

I start looking for the two reasons not to do it. And just to be fair, I search for the three reasons to pursue it.

Let’s look at the three reasons I might want to take a flying leap:

  1. To impress people with my courage
  2. To see firsthand how strong these bungee cords really are
  3. Gee whiz–forgive me. I’ve run out of positive reasons.

Now, let’s look at the things that might prevent me from strapping on:

  1. I have a rubber band tied to my feet. Now, I personally have viewed a little girl putting her pony tail together, applying a rubber band and seeing it break in her hands. Here’s my thought: if a little girl can break a rubber band in her hand, they may not be reliable, no matter how thick and sturdy they appear.
  2. This was difficult, because ten different objections wanted to take the second position.  But after careful consideration, I decided on:

Bungee jumping is head-first.

So not only are you relying on a rubber band to sustain your weight from what would have to be considered a fatal fall, but if it doesn’t, you’ve decided to confirm that your brains are bashed in first.

There are some folks who think they are superior because they’re daredevils.

But keep in mind … at least half of the word “daredevil” is a reference to Satan.

 

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Bungalow

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Bungalow: (n) a low house, with a broad front porch

Words are tools, but just as in the case of a screwdriver, can be used to kill.

If placed correctly, they can make sense or communicate our thoughts. But if not, then they are dangerous or at least deceptive.

I have used the word “bungalow.” I have used the word bungalow to describe some home I was renting which was beneath my standards–or perhaps universally without any standards. I wanted to make it clear I was not living in some sort of cheap flat, but instead was inhabiting a bungalow.

I chose the word “bungalow” to explain my living situation because I knew that nobody had a grasp on what a bungalow actually was. But I was willing to take the chance that most people thought a bungalow was more ritzy than a one-bedroom/one-bath.

Nobody ever questioned me on it.

Heads would turn slightly to the left or right, as if considering what a bungalow might be–but human pride prevented them from inquiring about the exact appearance of the domicile.

Yet the description of one’s less-than-acceptable environs only works if nobody ever comes to visit.

The first visit will eliminate the impact of the word “bungalow” for all time.

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Bundle

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Bundle: (n) a collection of things, or a quantity of material, tied or wrapped up together.

I only lasted one day on the job. I got confused on what to do, so ended up quitting.

It was a lumber company.

Since I was the newbie, the manager asked me to go out back and find pieces of scrap wood which were about the same length, and bundle them together, tie them off and place them in a pile near the wood shop.

I understood the assignment–at least, I thought I did. But when he returned and I was ready for praise, he immediately began to un-bundle my pieces of wood, explaining that I had put pine in with oak and press board with walnut.

I bungled my bundling.

He had another rule–one which he understood and I didn’t, because after all, it was my first day. He was a little disgusted that I couldn’t tell the difference by texture and color. I thought the only distinction was supposed to be length.

I was wrong.

Truthfully, I run across the same problem every day as I am instructed by society to bundle up people into groups. At first, I thought the only way I was supposed to set them apart was, “These are the nice ones that can be treated nicely and respond well, and these are the meaner ones which require being treated even nicer.”

But they keep changing the rules.

They’ve introduced culture, color, sexual preference, gender, age, political persuasion and religion.

So there’s never really any way to get things bundled. There are too many considerations to adequately discern what should go together and what should be separated.

Bundling is the way we try to put things that are similar into one unit.

But of course, if we don’t accept the fact that similarity is possible, we will just end up being scattered wood.

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Bunch

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Bunch: (n) a number of things, typically of the same kind, growing or fastened together.

There is a three-step process, and you will be happier if you understand that only two of them usually work.

We frustrate ourselves by thinking that gaining approval has much of a chance of coming our way. Here is life in a nutshell (though I don’t know why you’d want to place it in there):

  1. “I like it.”
  2. “I enjoy it.”
  3. “It is accepted.”

Too often we make our decisions based on whether something will be accepted. For instance:

If you’re a writer, you may try to pen the perfect American novel, suited to the present taste of the populace.

If you’re a musician, you may choose to chase down the current beat and sounds that are rattling the charts.

And if you’re just an average person who has something you like to do, you may find yourself tempering it to gain favor with the general population.

Since acceptance comes from humans and they are totally fickle, trying to gear your life to gain their “happy face” is frustrating, if not hopeless.

So why not go for the first two? Do I like it and do I enjoy it?

If you’re waiting for a bunch of people to come along and confirm your sanity, your value, your talent, your good looks or even your race, you will probably spend a lot of time at the bus stop, reading novels. 

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Bumptious

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Bumptious: (adj) self-assertive or proud to an irritating degree.

It’s a beautiful, bright red fedora with a feather in the band.

One of my sons bought it for me and I wear it every once in a while. It’s a moody thing–because my children refer to it as “my pimp brim.”

So when I feel pimpy, virile, naughty, rambunctious and just overall powerful, I don my pimp lid.

Now you may think it would look ridiculous on a person who’s a little older, but it really doesn’t come to play unless I look in the mirror.

I have found that to be true with lots of things. Sometimes I can even pretend that I’m thirty years old if there’s no reflecting glass nearby. My brain has no problem conjuring the image of my arrogant, overly confident former self.

So anyway, I slip on this particular hat as a way of spitting in the eye of the witch of birthdays, and cursing the demon of achy joints.

It is my bumptious attempt to remain viable in the world that annoyingly continues to ask me if I would like to take advantage of “the senior discount.”

 

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