Dastardly

Dastardly: (adj) cowardly; meanly base; sneaking

I don’t mind losing words from the English language. I’m not sentimental.

If for some reason one can’t survive the evolution from generation to generation, it doesn’t bother me.

Yet I am fully aware that the loss of certain terms does leave us vacuous and ill-prepared to deal with what the idea foretold.

The word “dastardly” was popular well before my time.

It started somewhere in the Renaissance and ended post-American Civil War.

But if you listen to the definition, you are granted a tremendous insight on what vices travel together as a gang—and how, in doing so, they generate peculiar and unique forms of evil.

It struck me that “sinister” begins with cowardice.

“I’m afraid to deal with it.”

“I’m afraid of the outcome.”

“I’m afraid it won’t work.”

“I’m afraid I’ll get blamed.”

Once this cowardice sets in, a mean-spiritedness raises its ugly head in a defensive profile.

“Why is it my problem?”

“Why didn’t they take care of it before I came along?”

“Why is everybody blaming me?”

“Why doesn’t he get off his ass and do something?”

Then, once cowardly links up with mean, you arrive at sneaky.

“How can I make myself look good while simultaneously making you look bad, so there’s no doubt whose fault it is?”

So even though we’ve walked away from the word “dastardly,” and nowadays have even substituted “tough” in its stead, maybe we should take a moment to realize that when someone is cowardly, sprouting a mean spirit, they eventually will find a sneaky angle to get their way—and probably make you and me look ridiculous in the process.

 

Dasher

Dasher: (n) one of Santa Claus’s reindeer.

What’s the story behind the story?

Maybe that’s something that qualifies you to be a writer—or at least gets you considered:  being inquisitive.

Of course, there is such a thing as being nosy. I guess the difference is whether other people end up being interested in what you’re curious about, or everyone involved just found you intrusive.

Have you ever wondered what the story is behind Dasher and Dancer?

I assume they were related.

  • Two brothers?
  • Two sisters?
  • Brother and sister?

If I were a female reindeer, would I mind being named Dasher? And if I were a male, could I live with Dancer?

I’m guessing two sisters.

And sometime after their birth, Mama Reindeer noticed that one of the little girls was really coordinated and appeared to be a great dancer. It was obvious that this young reindeer had a future.

She could move her paws without pause.

Mama Reindeer (and probably Papa, too) praised her for her ability—which left her sister without a true identity.

Because I am sure that Dancer is not actually the reindeer’s name. Probably Henrietta. Dancer is what she could do and therefore, who she became.

And her sister—shall we guess Beatrice?—did not want them to be known forever as “Beatrice along with Dancer”. You see the problem.

Beatrice tried to be open-minded, kind and unaffected about all the attention that Dancer was getting, but there was no doubt.

She was jealous.

This is the problem with having two daughters and one is able to dance and the other…well, she could probably end up just being a choreographer.

So Mother and Father Reindeer got together and mulled over what they should do. They did not want to take away the name Dancer from their young hoofer, but Beatrice certainly needed a more common name. Something to grab on to. A promotion-handle, as it were.

One day, they were watching their young deer at play and Papa Reindeer said:

“She runs real good.”

“Who?” asked Mama.

“Beatrice,” replied Papa.

Mama Reindeer watched for a spell. She wasn’t positive that her young daughter was actually speedy. But it sure would be convenient to convince her she was.

“I think I’ve got it!” said Papa Reindeer.

“We shall call her Dasher.”

Beatrice immediately loved the name. Fortunately, her sister, Dancer, was not envious. So Dasher and Dancer began their careers—one fast, one coordinated.

It also made for a great pairing, to begin a famous song.

Unfortunately for Dasher and Dancer, the tune ended up being about Rudolph–whose red nose was just too amazing not to advertise.

 

Das Kapital

Das Kapital: (n) a work (1867) by Karl Marx, dealing with social strata and containing the tenets on which modern communism is based.

Some people view history as an exercise in deciding where to put the hats. I’m talking about choosing which characters get black hats, which get white ones and then, leaving some individuals hatless.

It is over-simplistic.

Das Kapital is a book written by a frustrated man who was tired of the inequity of capitalism.

If he were living today—maybe in his late twenties—he might just be running around wearing a Bernie Sanders t-shirt.

He might be objecting to the treatment of young black men in the urban communities.

And he certainly would be demanding equal pay for women, more respect for aliens entering the country and medical treatment to honor humanity rather than bowing to bank accounts.

Karl Marx basically believed that capitalism was a failed experiment which left too few wealthy, and way too many impoverished.

It is a sympathetic point when viewed solely in the pursuit of all things in life being even.

But as we learned from our friend, Charles Darwin, the universe is not balanced. It operates under “the survival of the fittest,” with creatures crawling over one another to gain predominance.

It’s rather humorous that these two men lived at the same time and their works were being passed around the intellectual community as if they were in agreement.

They were not.

Darwin insisted that the strongest survived.

Karl Marx contended that equality was essential to make society moral.

So which one is it?

Are we supposed to develop a world where everyone is taken care of in some balanced format?

Or does the natural order itself rebel against that idea and applaud the fittest, the strongest and in some ways, the most ruthless?

This is why I have always believed in faith.

For suggesting that generosity, sharing and balancing of goods can be established through the government or the people is a total farce.

No one gives up their turf unless their spirit initiates it. Why? Because we are creatures of Darwin’s drama, trying to find a way to still appear equitable, as in Karl Marx’s Das Kapital.

There you have it.

This is why things are so messy and dishonest.

Any Christian sitting in a sanctuary would find some of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth on point with Das Kapital by Karl Marx.

But that same believer would also find the opinions of Jesus of Nazareth to coincide with Darwin’s Origin of the Species.

For the overwhelming message of Earth is very simple:

The system of the Natural Order is cruel.

So how do we overcome the cruelty?

  • Learn the Earth.
  • Get good at it.

And when you’re successful, strong, in position, share with those you meet who have been left out or overwhelmed by it.

 

Darwin, Charles

Darwin, Charles: (n) a British naturalist of the nineteenth century, he developed the theory of evolution.

Did he?

I mean—did he develop the theory of evolution?

Undoubtedly, he did extensive study, which confirmed that such a transition happened in the formation of Earth.

Many of his precepts filled in gaps and enlightened us regarding the periods and pinnacles in the timeline of the birthing of the planet.

But amazingly enough, thousands of years ago, a shepherd sat and wrote his rendition of how the world began—and though it is not as specific and articulate as Charles’s discoveries, it certainly lands within the forum of an emerging Universe.

The Book of Genesis describes an Earth that appears without form, covered in darkness.

Then is the introduction of light, water and fish. A picture unfolds of all life coming from water, gradually gaining size and complexity, ending up with the revelation of man and woman.

Is it any different to divide this process among seven days—or seven ages?

I know we want to have a war between science and religion, but really, no conflict exists.

Whether you choose to believe that evolution was tipped off by the Big Bang or pushed forward by a Creator, it is foolishness to ignore the beauty of a possible benefactor just to extol the mastery of science.

I think Charles Darwin and Moses of Midian could sit down and enjoy a dinner of mutton and tea and find much in common.

Because if religion is true, then it must be filled with science.

And if science is to be completely believed, it just might be enhanced by a Creator.

 

Dartboard

Dartboard: (n) the target used in the game of darts.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

After I shared at a coffeehouse and sang my songs, some of the nice folks who attended invited me out to a restaurant called “Lums.”

Now, if you don’t know anything about “Lums,” I’m not going to try to articulate a great deal. Just think about delicious sandwiches and soups, with the addition of local delicacies like bratwurst and a very tiny deep-fried fish called smelt. (That is the extent of my tour journey through the essence of “Lums.”)

But what I remember is that this particular gathering of souls loved to play darts. The restaurant had a small bar with a dart board hanging on the wall.

I had never played darts in my life.

I had never regretted not playing darts.

But I wanted to be hospitable—especially since they were treating me to a “Super Weiner Dog.”

So they handed me a dart and said, “Go ahead. Take a shot.”

I was so indifferent to the prospect and so certain I would fail horribly that I just took it in my hand and threw it quickly.

It stuck right in the center.

I was shocked.

The friends who brought me to the restaurant thought I was some sort of dartboard hustler—so they pushed, encouraged and dared me to finish the game—against their best dartboard champion.

It was horrible.

You see, the reason I did well with that first dart—why I was so lucky—is that I didn’t think about it at all.

I just tossed it off.

For you see, when you play darts, standing there with one in your hand, if you start aiming for the center, the shakiness caused by your nerves and the lack of knowing how hard or soft to throw it, makes the dart go nowhere you envisioned.

Honest to God—after that first throw that landed in the center, I not only didn’t score points, but I never hit the board again.

After about ten attempts, my friends realized that I was hanging in mid-air of humiliation, so they cut off the punishment and we went back to enjoy our dinner.

As we sat down, one of the young girls who was there for the feasting said, “Here’s the problem. Darts don’t involve your brain. If you think about it, you’ll screw up. You just have to toss it and hope for the best.”

I overthought her statement.

Maybe it was the remnant of the failure still taunting my soul, but I will tell you—she’s right.

After you’ve tried something, practiced it, studied it and learned it…

Just go ahead and toss the goddamn dart.

Darrow, Clarence

Darrow, Clarence: (N) a lawyer and author of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, he was known as the defense attorney in the Scopes trial.

There are two ways to err:  (1) making a mistake because you’re being too cautious, and (2) the predicament in which your forward thinking causes you to be too radical.

Let us take a historical journey to consider both.

How often have people from our past been wrong because they followed the party line or continued to promote old ideas that were desperately in need of revision?

And how often were some found guilty of being too progressive or too open-minded?

Seriously—think about it.

The man most religious people follow as being the Savior of the world was declared guilty and crucified for sedition.

What is the definition of sedition? It is conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against authority.

So who, really, was Jesus? Was he a religious icon, martyred for the sins of the world? Or did he come to rebel against the religious tyranny which left people ignorant and was brutally judgmental?

In Tennessee there was a court case which has become known as “the Scopes trial.” A science teacher in a high school was arrested and charged with teaching evolution in his classroom. This was forbidden.

Two attorneys showed up for the confrontation:

  • William Jennings Bryan, who was a Biblical scholar and aspiring politician.
  • And Clarence Darrow, an East Coast attorney who was always looking for a case to challenge the hypocrisies he felt existed in the law.

If you lived in Dayton, Tennessee, at the time of the trial, you would have been convinced that Attorney Bryan was representing the will of God, making a stand against a satanic effort to steal Creation from our Maker, placing it with the evolving monkeys. But if you live today, you are fully aware that William Jennings Bryan was misled and ended up ignorant—on the wrong side of history.

Clarence Darrow, ridiculed by the hometown folks, is now deemed, in our times, to be a hero.

Nothing good happens when people are aware of injustice and remain silent.

But we always must remember:

To be a saint in the future, you must be prepared to be considered a sinner in the present.

 

Darn

Darn: (adj) a more proper version of the word “damn.”

Anything that’s worth a “darn” should be worth a “damn.”

Anything that requires a “shoot” might be better stated with a “shit.”

The problem is not whether the words are profane.

It’s about whether the words are appropriate.

Being unable to find your keys in the morning isn’t worth a “damn, fucking shit-to-hell.”

But seeing an evil done to another human being requires more incrimination than “darn you, jerk.”

We just don’t seem to understand that evil isn’t spoken or enacted, but rather, reveals the intention of our heart.

That means you could be complimenting someone but you’re so insincere that you might as well have criticized them.

The words should match.

You don’t become a better person by saying “darn.”

But you do become a better person by having fewer and fewer people that you want to damn.