Creek

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Creek: (n) a stream smaller than a river.

I’m sorry. That’s hardly a definition.

“Smaller than a river?” Isn’t that a rather broad category?

That’s not my recollection of a creek.

My memory of a creek is that if you waded in, it wouldn’t go much above your knees. The water, that is.

And there were so many rocks, fallen trees and leaves nearby that the flow was pretty brisk, a little splashy, and you could often see all the way to the bottom.

I was always taught that if you couldn’t see to the bottom of the creek or if the water wasn’t moving, you should probably not drink it. (This information was not given to me by a Native American or some scout hunting buffalo. I think it was my older brother, and I can’t count how many times he was wrong.)

But we had a little piece of land outside town that we owned, and we called our “farm.” It was a rather pitiful situation. My dad wanted to get some agrarian roots into our lives, so he tried to raise chickens, strawberries, some corn—and he built himself a little cabin in the nearby patch of woods, so he could occasionally escape, to play the part of Jack London “calling to the wild.”

Right next to that cabin, though, was a creek.

It wasn’t much of anything, but it was certainly shallow enough that every once in a while, when a fish got trapped because it missed a turn in one of the nearby rivers or got distracted from the reservoir—well, you could see it as clearly as if it were staring you in the face.

We had such a fish which I tried to catch on several occasions.

It was extremely odd. I could see the fish moving, imagine what it was thinking, but I still ended up frustrated as the fish stole my bait and wiggled away.

One day I came home from school and my older brother had an iron skillet on the stove and was frying up what ended up being a big fish.

I said, “Hey, Dan, where’d you get the fish?”

He laughed and replied, “You know that big ole’ fish that was in the creek? I caught it.”

I went to my room and cried.

I don’t exactly know the complete reason for my tears, but I imagine it was the mingling of getting bettered by my brother, not catching the fish myself, seeing it lay in the pan as an entrée—or maybe just knowing that my creek had lost its only friend.

 

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Credo

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Credo: (n) any formula of belief

Sum it up.

Capsulize it.

Maybe it’s the proverbial “elevator pitch.”

Do you have a sentence, a thought, a spiel, a bumper sticker or a punchline to describe your credo?

If you do not select one, unfortunately, one will be selected for you. There are three credos available if we do not decide to champion one of our own:

  1. “I’m just doing the best I can.”
  2. Family first.
  3. Get what you can.

I think you would have to agree with me that none of these catchphrases are particularly inspiring. Yet if you do not purposely set in motion an energy through your own lifestyle that steers your thinking and guides your actions, you will find yourself stuck in one of these dead-end streets.

Just think about it.: carved, perhaps etched into the features of the majority of the human beings you meet is one of this trio of default profiles.

No, you have to sit down and form your credo.

Then take the intelligence you’ve accumulated, remain faithful to it and find excellent ways to execute your personal precept. And do not be ashamed when your credo is exposed, and you are unveiled as a disciple of its tenet.

So this really got me thinking. I have many things that cross my mind that are important or stir the ashes of my fire into a flame. But what would be the single credo? What could I say to my fellow-travelers that would let them know who I am and that they need not fear my presence?

I think I’ve got it.

I even believe that my credo would make a lovely little sign I could wear around my neck. It is simple:

Open for business. Joy required.

 

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Credits

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Credits: (n) a listing of those who create a film

Let me give you a really quick clue on a way to identify a shitty film:

Any movie that has many, many credits rolling BEFORE the action begins—or especially before you even see the title—Is a piece of doo-doo on celluloid.

You can tell because you realize they had too many meetings discussing who would get credit, how it would be phrased, how it should be presented, and in what order it could be placed on the screen, instead of sitting around trying to make a better flick.

The greatest problem with art is that it becomes quite ugly and loses all beauty as those who are trying to push themselves forward insist on struggling to the front of the line.

If a motion picture has more than one director, more than one company, more than one producer and more than one cinematographer, generally speaking, someone is trying to bullshit someone else to gain power, instead of putting the work in on crafting something entertaining and inspirational.

That’s why when you see a great film they get you into the setting as quickly as possible instead of rolling fifty names in front of your face, which frustrates you because you have to remember what movie you’re actually watching.

I have been a part of making some independent films, and I will tell you:

The simpler, the better

  • The director should have a name.
  • The writer should have a name.
  • And the cinematographer and editor should have names.

And preferably, one name for each category, so that egos can get out of the way and the possibility for great storytelling can unfold.

Ironically, movies with lots of credits normally don’t deserve any credit.

 

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Credit Rating

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Credit Rating: a classification of credit risk based on investigation of a potential customer’s financial resources

You’ve probably never thought of it—or maybe you have—but shall we refer to it today as “the big four questions?”

The answers to these questions determine your suitability, respectability and popularity in our society.

  1. Are you skinny?
  2. Are you wealthy?
  3. Are you hip with the trends?

And question four:

Do you have a good credit rating?

We are so intense on question four that we have a number assigned to it, and that particular number determines whether you are considered to be “up and coming” or “down and trodden.”

While everyone is terribly concerned about racial inequality in this country, nobody is in the least troubled about the potential of judging another by turning to everyone and whispering, “He’s a 493…”

At that point, we are all supposed to understand that this person is either extraordinarily unlucky, a criminal or has absolutely no sense of what to do with a dollar bill.

Could there be a greater condemnation? After all, you can have black skin and put on a beautiful suit of clothes, walk into a room speaking great King’s English and even the white supremacists have to comment, “He’s one of the good ones.”

But if you walk in a room with a low credit score, it doesn’t matter what color your skin is, the condition of your clothes, your sparkling attitude or your smile.

You are a credit risk.

Therefore you are a social leper and a cultural bewilderment—similar to having financial AIDS.

That fact that this is the acceptable way we conduct business in this capitalistic climate does not seem to bother anyone.

There are many reasons you can have good credit.

There are even more reasons you can end up with bad credit.

I do not think we should do away with the system—but I think we should make sure that the system doesn’t do away with us.

 

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Credibility

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Credibility: (n) the quality of being believable or worthy of trust

I suppose the most logical suggestion for gaining credibility is just refusing to lie.

Seems sensible. Here’s the problem:

You can’t get anyone to believe that you’re not lying.

And the more you insist you’re telling the truth or emotionally distraught you become, the more you look like an even worse liar.

Credibility is achieved by allowing the ideas you’ve fostered to prove themselves.

To have this happen, you must be willing to silently let time pass. That way, when it ends up that the things you spoke were accurate, faithful and honest, the human race around you can slow up long enough to respond, “Hey—you were right.”

If you don’t gloat over your veracity, they will gradually—and I say, very gradually—begin to assume that you are some strange alien who has come to Earth to expose the poison of “fibbing.”

But gaining credibility is never something that can be claimed, insisted upon, lobbied for or voted into office. When people realize that your “yes” actually means yes, and your “no” holds firm at no, then maybe—yes, maybe—they will start giving you points for credibility.

 

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Credentials

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Credentials: (n) evidence of authority, status, rights, entitlement to privileges, or the like, usually in written form

 I suppose if you removed my driver’s license from my wallet, I would possess no credentials whatsoever. My state has authorized that I am entitled to drive a vehicle.

I have never received credentials from a music school, though I have persisted in making music.

I have no credentials whatsoever to write books, blogs and screenplays—yet again, I pursue.

I certainly had no credentials to be a dad, but the kids kept showing up.

I had no credentials as a lover, but that didn’t stop me from trying.

I am not licensed or approved to be a philosopher, a teacher, an instructor or a motivator—but these things have come up and in the absence of real talent, I have stepped in, acting as the best substitute I could.

I suppose I should have given more thought to gaining credentials. They do look good when writing a bio. Getting places or people of note to qualify you is much better than jotting down, “Have no fear. I am here.”

And I am certainly not one of those who feels self-righteous about lacking credentials, as if I were showing some sort of superiority by sheer grit and force.

It’s just that everything in my life started about one year earlier than it probably should have.

When I possibly could have gone to college, I was having my first son. And since I had that little family, when I might have wanted to garner some sort of degree or certificate, I was trying to put pizza and animal crackers on the table.

What I had to learn was that the absence of credentials demanded an honest presentation of oneself rather than lying or becoming defensive or saying something stupid like, “I have graduated from the school of hard knocks.”

I think it is absolutely delightful, if not essential, for people to gain credentials. I certainly do like to know that my plumber has plumbed before, and somebody knows that he’s not “plumb crazy.”

But in the absence of credentials, I will humbly offer myself, candidly share my value and do the best goddamn job I possibly can.

 

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Credence

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Credence: (n) belief as to the truth of something

Actually it takes more than belief.

It requires evidence.

In attempting to convince human beings of the validity of an idea or the power of a concept, it is often necessary to come with at least two examples in which your assertion has proven itself effective.

This realization eliminates a lot of time talking nonsense or trying to establish superiority by displaying ethereal wisdom.

Just think of it—how much more credence would we have if we did not base our lifestyles on politics, money, selfish concerns, heaven, hell or wishing?

All of these may have their place, but they have nothing to do with the nuts and bolts of constructing a grand foundation for abundant life.

Religion has no credence whatsoever if it doesn’t produce a way for people to be happy and love one another.

Likewise, politics is devoid of credence if it talks about grand notions but never comes up with a simple plan on how to enact a necessary change.

Corporations which can only make commercials but not deliver on their promises forsake all credibility.

And sitting around talking about our hopes and dreams usually just makes us sleepy.

As a friend of yours living at this time on Earth, I wish you to know that I have no intention whatsoever of luring you with the lore of heaven—if I can’t give you an Earthly prototype.

 

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