December

December: (n) the twelfth month of the year, containing thirty-one days

Normally, I do not like to hear someone say, “This is my favorite…”

Mainly because if you hang around them for twenty minutes, they will stake claim on a new favorite which has jumped ahead of the old one, which has lost predominance in this brief span of time.

But I do believe December is my favorite month. (You will notice how easily I abandon my own concepts and asides.)

I say this about December because it contains both my birthday and Christmas.

This is not to say that my birthday is Christmas and therefore I am the Christ. (I did want to make that clear.)

My birthday is one week before Christmas, and I’ve always relished the beautiful time of year, and in a strange sense have felt uplifted—that the whole world decides to decorate in honor of my appearance on Earth.

But the main thing I like about December, and the reason I believe it should be the first month of the year, is that all the things that make us better people seem to stop, park and walk around for a while.

  • Commerce
  • Communication
  • Family
  • Money
  • Celebration
  • Decoration
  • Good secrets
  • Smiles
  • Excellent eating

 

And a twinge of faith growing in the worst scrounging Scrooge

It is amazing.

Is it amazing because it commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth?

Is it made special because we have decided to turn up our childlike and turn down our childish?

Is it the fact that money flows freely, budgets are met, surprises are provided and dreams are explored?

Or is it just because, in a thirty-one-day period, all these possibilities unite for a common holiday?

So whether you say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” (and by the way, the word “holiday” is a hybrid for “holy day”)…

Well, whatever you say makes little difference to what you feel.

And Christmas is a time when we allow feeling to take supremacy over thinking and doing.

Most of the time, we’re frightened to permit this.

But Christmas is feeling, dressed up in emotion, saturated with faith, and glittered with invention—proclaiming peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.

December is my favorite.

You can even come back tomorrow, and more than likely, it will hold the same noble position.

 

Deceiver

Deceiver: (n) someone who leads you to believe something that is not true 

Sin is not as nasty when I do it.

It gains a certain reasonability that I fail to notice when it’s performed by others.

I am constantly confused because I feel compelled to mingle my intentions, my heart and my history in with my present batch of foolishness, to come up with a diluted conclusion, which is also quite deluded.

I knew her for eight years.

She was a beautiful human being.

For some reason, she decided to cast her lot with me. She believed in my music and she risked the disapproval of her friends and family, all in the pursuit of a dream.

And the dream was much more than dreamy.

There were actual points when the dream became a reality—but always with a cost:  a little piece of integrity and the necessity, at least in the moment, of becoming a deceiver, to maintain the probability.

She saw me lie.

No one ever really gets over that.

If I were able to lie to a stranger, I certainly could become more adept and learn to lie to her.

She saw me cheat.

She saw my verbosity cause me to become both a tyrant and a blow-hard.

There were many good times.

But mentioning the good times in the midst of recounting the actions of a deceiver is a rationalization—like trying to hold water in a paper bag.

I don’t know why she stayed for eight years.

She must have loved the hell out of me.

Unfortunately, enough hell remained that she was forced to depart.

Of course, she was no princess herself—or she would never have been able to stay with this deceiver.

I haven’t spoken to her in forty years.

It is a very good remedy for her soul.

Because even if she knew that I am now sorry to the point of vexation, it wouldn’t change the deception that tore at the fabric of our dream.

After all, when the deceiver finishes his day, he must return to his home, lay on his bed and wonder who deceived him.

 

Deceitful

Deceitful: (adj) attribute of a person who engages in concealment or distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading

Top Three Reasons Given for Being Deceitful—A.K.A. The Sure, Pure, Cure Dilemma

1. “I was deceitful because I was not sure I was being deceitful, having seen other people do exactly the same thing. I was fairly certain I was on solid ground—until it was obvious I wasn’t. So I do not believe it’s right for me to be punished since I wasn’t sure, when other people have gotten by with it, most assuredly.”

2. “I was not being deceitful. I was merely looking for a cure for the situation. Everybody else was standing around or sitting on their hands, so I did what was necessary in the moment to produce a solution—a cure, if you will—and set in motion some relief from the drama and tension. How was I to know the way it would be interpreted or viewed by those around me? Does it not matter that my motivations were good?”

3. “There is no doubt—and you just try to find someone who can prove that my actions were not pure. But because circumstances came about that tainted my efforts, the purity of my mission was marred by decisions that were made in the moment, which ended up being erroneous, if not erred.”

These are the three positions that are taken by scoundrels who would like to walk away from their actions by averting your attention from what literally happened to what might have occurred if things had worked out better.

Left out of the explanation is the moment of clarity—when each and every one of us knows that what we set out to do has gone awry, and if we’re going to continue it, we’re going to have to lie and cheat to make sure that no one notices how wrong it has turned out to be.

It reminds me of the first time I made a cake in the oven.

It was going to be a special one. Why?

A. Because I usually don’t bake cakes.

B. It was a special kind of cake that needed to rise at just the right moment for it to be considered cooked correctly.

C. And it was a tribute for a very kind person who was worthy of our attention.

I didn’t tell anyone I had never made a cake before, but it quickly became obvious to me that I should not be the baker. Still, that didn’t stop me from trying.

When I didn’t have some of the ingredients, I walked into the room and warned the people that the cake might taste a little different than what they were accustomed to eating.

When the cake didn’t rise high enough, I explained to those around me that it was “my rendition” of this cake—that I thought it would look better if it were not so high and mighty.

Yet when it finally burned, I stepped out and said, “I fucked up the cake.”

I suppose I could have tried to sell them on the notion that burning a cake was a tradition offering great homage to the special guest.

I didn’t.

Somewhere along the line we have to admit that what we set out to do is no longer in play.

Otherwise, we are deceitful.

And the sooner we confess, the less we look like flaming assholes.

Decay

Decay: (v) to become decomposed; rot

 It saddens me deeply that intellectualism is incapable of delivering its promise to our humanity.

I’ve listened for decades to those who contend that education can swerve us out of our natural inclination to crash and burn.

There probably is truth to that.

Knowledge would be a wonderful thing if it did not present itself as all-knowing.  Yes.

There is knowing, and then there is all-knowing.

Knowing is when you discover something and respectfully present it, fully aware that more data is going to come along, which will either enhance your discovery or flat-out contradict it.

Knowledge requires humility.

Unfortunately, the knowledgeable do not favor a humble spirit.

Throughout my youthful times of poverty, I was completely unable to afford going to the dentist. The one or two times I found myself in the holy seat of the tooth doctor, I was told that my teeth were not straight, my wisdom teeth should be removed, and I needed a bridge put in somewhere on the Mississippi River.

All of this was impossible.

And rather than telling me what I might be able to do, the dentist criticized me for being impoverished, unable to take care of my teeth, therefore threatening them with decay.

And decay was his swear-word.

Just uttering the word decay was supposed to make me shudder to the depths of my soul, scaring me into going out and borrowing money from a bank somewhere so I could fund his “toothy project.”

I didn’t do it.

It wasn’t because I was rebellious. But every extra dollar I had went into my career—or shoelaces for my children’s footwear.

If my teeth did not hurt, I assumed they were fine.

If they did hurt, I took lots of aspirin until they stopped hurting.

What has occurred is that as I’ve gotten older, some of my teeth have decided to die and go be with Jesus before the rest of me.

I guess they decayed enough that they just fell out.

I don’t normally share this story with anyone, so if it grosses you out, I apologize.

But it’s amazing. The teeth that remain seem to have greater resolve, fill in the gaps, and I am still able to chew a good steak or bite into an ear of corn.

I don’t know whether I chose the right path.

But I have found that the people who did put thousands of dollars into avoiding decay are now wearing dentures.

I only have a small army left.

But each one of them came with the original fortifications.

 

Decatur

Decatur (n) a city in Eastern Indiana

 I’ve always tried to take my little and make it more.

I don’t think it was solely based on pride.

I felt a calling to make things better and more harmonious through the use of common sense and humor.

That being said, there is a danger with aspiration. To aspire often means we need to perspire, and even expire.

Putting forth effort often invites futility.

So long, long ago in our country, which seemed far away, I had a music group. We met a fellow in Detroit who was an ex-drug addict, was very clever, comical and had a good message. It occurred to me that we possibly could get him into some schools to speak on the dangers of drug addiction, and that our music group could “play him on” and “play him off.” I shared this idea with a young minister at a Christian church in Decatur, Indiana.

He was so enthralled with the idea that he enacted it.

Yes, he scheduled our group and our ex-druggie friend into three schools in the county, with a rally in the evening to be held at the City Auditorium.

It was big. At least, big for us.

It was especially promising when our friend from Detroit agreed to drive down and do the schools and the rally. He arrived, we went to the first school—and everything went pretty well.

I was a little uncomfortable with how freely he bragged about the drugs he took as a way of communicating to the students that he knew what he was talking about.

It was worse at the second school. Matter of fact, the only times he really connected with the students were when he was promoting his former drug use instead of his conversion.

I was upset.

I asked him if he could calm down the drug talk a little bit, and he explained that without him appearing hip to the students, none of them would listen.

I disagreed.

To my surprise, he became upset with my intervention, stormed out of the third high school before the program began, left and went back to Detroit.

Our little white Middle-America group was left alone, to do the third school and the evening rally.

I would like to report to you that it went great.

I would like to say that we didn’t need our Detroit friend. But when the students arrived for the rally that evening, they were greatly disappointed that Mr. Cool was not in the building and they were stuck with us.

It was a long night.

I really don’t know what the moral of this story is.

I suppose you could take away that making a stand in the middle of something that’s been pre-planned is a dangerous idea. Or you could say that objecting to something you disagree with is always necessary, no matter what the repercussions.

But I have to tell you, even as I relate the tale to you now, I sure would like to know how good it would have been if our Detroit token toker had stayed around.

 

Decategorize

Decatagorize: (v) to free or remove from categories

 Although we all may insist that we are free spirits, out to try new things and break the mold, we still have a tendency to go to a Chinese restaurant and look for something that resembles hamburger.

Yes, we are much more verbally adventurous than we are in our eventual choices and positions.

The human race is not conservative, nor is it liberal—but rather, cautious.

Whatever category “caution” welcomes, the human race will be found there, touting its valiant efforts while shuddering a bit in fear.

I have always found that if you discover the truth of a matter, you can cease being critical and begin to find the worth that naturally lives inside.

For I will tell you bluntly, if the human race were as volatile and unpredictable as we present ourselves to be, we would all be dead within ten days.

So it is time to decategorize our species.

What saves us is the fact that we talk a good game, and then most of the time, choose to play Candy Land.

 

Decapitate

Decapitate: (v) to cut off the head of; behead

 Decapitation seems to be the murder selection by those who just want to make sure the job gets done really well.

After all, once you look down at your enemy and his head is disconnected from his shoulders, you probably can have the confidence to move on, assured that you’ve achieved your mayhem.

As long as it’s connected—or just a wound—you might have to hang around and wait for him (or her) to die.

But I must be candid and tell you, there are many ways to lose your head—and all of these varieties do not necessarily leave you dead, but rather, in varying degrees of humiliation, which might make you wish you were gone.

I’ve lost my head.

I have been decapitated of my mental facilities in the pursuit of some wild idea, romantic fling or dreamy goal that had absolutely no merit in the world of reason.

I wish someone had let me know that my head was separated from the rest of my body, and that I had ceased to be logical.

But people like to stay out of such things.

They will let you wander around, headless, running into walls and tripping over obstacles.

There is an old story that a young girl who danced in front of a king wanted the head of her enemy on a silver platter. I must tell you—even though the platter was silver, I’m not so sure she got anything of value, except the satisfaction of staring into the dead, bulging eyes of her nemesis.

Just thinking about it creeps me out.

  • I don’t want to be beheaded.
  • I don’t want to be decapitated.
  • And I want to be more careful that I don’t lose my head in everyday matters.

So if you ever see me in danger of any of these possibilities…

…please give me a heads up.

Decal

Decal: (n) a specially prepared paper bearing a design for transfer to wood, metal, glass, etc.

 The extra-large was not quite big enough.

It was the story of my adolescent life.

I was always just a little bigger than the size chart proposed, and the clothes-makers made available.

But the guys in the group had their hearts set on these bright yellow-gold, open-front sweaters that we could wear onstage whenever we actually found ourselves onstage, playing our music.

Like most high school bands, we talked and planned more than we set up and performed.

We practiced twice a week—for no gigs.

And every once in a while, we got the itch to buy a stage outfit—for no stages.

I had to admit that the sweater was absolutely one of the coolest things I’d ever seen in my life. It looked great on everybody else—whose bodies aligned in the righteous station of normal.

But it was small on me.

I didn’t care.

I decided to buy it along with the rest of my friends.

And suddenly we were the possessors of the coolest outfit to wear if a stage were ever made available.

Black pants. Black banlon turtlenecks. Gold sweaters.

A mother of one of the guys suggested that we needed some sort of decal on the sweater to set it apart as unique to us.

We didn’t know exactly what she meant, but we nodded in respect. Sensing our confusion, she gathered up the sweaters and said, “Give me a week and I’ll give you a surprise.”

We had no capacity to object.

Two weeks later, she handed us back our golden sweaters—except on the top left panel, near the shoulder, there was a B and a Q decal, which she had embroidered into the cloth.

Since we were called “The Blessings Quartet” it was pretty cool.

Actually, we were all shocked at how neat it looked and how groovy it was, considering it had been made by an adult.

It did not make my sweater fit better.

But to this day I believe that we started getting opportunities to perform because word of our gorgeous sweaters, with the decal, quickly spread throughout the surrounding masses.

 

Decaf

Decaf: (n) decaffeinated coffee or tea.

Having had a showdown with caffeine in my early years, when taking too much No-Doze in an attempt to stay awake, I have been reluctant to drink regular coffee.

Actually, it’s much sillier than that.

I don’t like coffee at all.

But I will occasionally hold a cup in my hand when I’m forced to be with grown-ups so that I can appear to be one of them.

When I do that, I request decaf.

No matter now long I live on this Earth, it will continue to astound me how there are some people who can take the simplest, little piece of information and turn it into a full diatribe, discussing their superiority and my inadequacy.

It never fails.

If I’m at a party and request decaf, there’s always someone—who has been practicing blowing hard—who explains to me that I am drinking “kid stuff,” “brown water” or “the nursing home special.”

They go on to explain that they only drink “the real stuff,” with just as much caffeine as it possibly can hold and still remain liquid.

I stay quiet, admitting my frailty and conceding that this may eliminate me from ever being considered studly.

I don’t know why we human beings turn everything into a competition.

I am not an expert on coffee in the first place.

So truthfully, I’m not in the mood to discuss brews, roasts and grinding.

But if you are, I wish you God speed.

God speed away from me.

 

Decadence

Decadence: (n) moral degeneration or decay; turpitude.

“Congratulations. We have a new country.”

“So where should we start?”

“I guess we should get organized.”

“Now by organized, do you mean the Robert’s Rules? Or Parliamentary Procedure?”

“Somebody needs to be in charge.”

“How should we pick him?”

“Well… we could have them campaign for the job.”

“Okay. But no insults, right?”

“Maybe insults, but just not personal.”

“Well, leave them alone and let it play out.”

“Well—now what’s next?”

“We need an organized government.”

“What should the government do?”

“Govern—according to the will of the people.”

“Unless the people are wrong.”

“Then what?”

“Govern them, letting them think they’re in charge.”

“Isn’t that a lie?”

“It’s politics. There will be lies.”

“I see. I forgot.”

“Don’t let it happen again. We need to be able to lie—to get our message across.”

“But what if we get caught in a lie?”

“Deny.”

“Why would they believe us?”

“Because they don’t really care what we do—just as long as we don’t make their lives difficult.”

“You act like you think people are stupid.”

“No, just less informed.”

“Well, since they’re less informed, maybe we should take some chances.”

“Or open the door to some possibilities.”

“But isn’t that illegal?”

“You mean by the Constitution?”

“Yes—the Constitution.”

Everybody interprets that differently.”

“But it seems we’ve left our original plan—a government of the people, for the people and by the people.”

“It’s still of the people. We let them vote.”

“By the people because we are coming from the population.”

“The only question would be for the people.”

“Do they really know what they need?”

“And do they care what’s happening in other countries?”

“It’s like my Grandpappy once said. ‘It takes a lot of money to be honest.’”

“What do you think he meant by that?”

“He meant, ‘do what you do to get as much as you can so what you say makes a difference.’”

And then, all at once, we had decadence instead of a government.