Crooked

Crooked: (adj) dishonest, not straightforward

 

There are certain things you remember:

The first time you rode a rollercoaster.

Your initial encounter with peanut butter.

How about the premiere kiss?

An award given in front of an applauding audience.

An orgasm.

An amount of money that crosses your hands that’s more than y you can imagine.

But I also clearly remember the first time somebody called me “crooked.”

I was so pissed. I didn’t consider myself crooked. I thought I was being thrifty. I viewed my efforts as ingenious.

For you see, I checked into a motel room with three other friends. We could only afford the single rate, so I purchased it for me alone. Then the other three arrived, scurrying around the back of the establishment to my front door, laughing that we had pulled off our little decoy.

Matter of fact, I think we were still giggling, high-fiving each other, when there was a knock at the door. I quickly silenced everyone in the room and motioned for them to go into the bathroom. I would handle whatever the intrusion happened to be.

When I opened the door, there was the front desk clerk. He demanded entrance. I acted offended. “What do you want?” I asked.

In broken English, he clearly exclaimed, “You bring more people in room! You lie! You cheat!”

Not sure what else to do, I invited him in, thinking he would walk around the beds, and see nobody else in the space—never believing he would actually open up the bathroom. So when he headed in that direction, I had to decide whether to deter him or just let it play out.

He was too fast for me. He was already opening the door. The bathroom was empty. But he was a persistent young man. He quickly pulled back the shower curtain. There were my three friends, standing in the tub, trying desperately to imitate invisibility. Finally one of my buddies burst out laughing—frightened nerves.

The young desk clerk exclaimed, “You must leave room now!”

I reached for my wallet to offer him the extra funds that would cover the four of us, but he would have none of it.

“No money,” he said, pushing my wallet away. “You lie. You cheat. You go.”

He headed toward the door, and I spoke, hoping to rationalize my actions. “Listen, man,” I said, “we were just trying to save money. We’re just kids. We’re broke. You know?”

He turned, looked me right in the eyes and said:

“You not kids. You not broke. You crooked.”

He immediately stepped out of the room and disappeared, coming back five minutes later to stand next to our van, to make sure we loaded up and left.

As is often the case with a quartet of individuals, there were four different takes on the event: one scared, one acting like he wasn’t part of it from the start, one indignant—wanting to go buy a dozen eggs and pelt the place.

And then there was me.

I was quiet, chilled to my soul.

I was bruised by being called “crooked.”

I didn’t view myself as deceitful, just clever.

But I learned that night that clever is crooked if it’s not honest.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Advertisements

Cronyism/Crook

Cronyism: (n) the act of favoring one’s close friends, especially in political appointments.

Crook: (n) someone who cheats or swindles

Politics is a laughable tragedy.

It is a high school play debuting on Broadway.

It is a promise without a premise.

As a human being, there are two statements that must be avoided at all times—otherwise you find yourself trapped in cronyism.

Cronyism almost always leads to becoming a crook.

Those two statements are:

  1. “I am right”
  2. “I can make it right.”

There is no soul alive who is completely right.

And certainly there is no individual who, by him or herself, can make it right.

The assertion of those two thoughts—or even a hint of them—warns you of trouble.

People who believe they are right must surround themselves with those who agree with the flawed premise. Normally, this is mainly includes friends and family.

You can’t get all your information from just your friends and family. They are the ones who benefit if you end up being right. If you trust these cronies, you will gradually end up in the wrong.

Sane people listen to their critics and even their enemies—because they know these foes are not promoting them. Every once in a while, they point out the flies in the ointment which need to be removed.

They catch the hypocrisy. They proofread the statements.

If you’re only surrounded by friends and family, who join you in the assertion that you’re right, you will begin to go about your business believing that you have the power, along with your cronies, to right the world.

The world doesn’t want to be right.

The world will never be right.

The world will always be filled with tribulation.

Our defense against such turmoil is to keep a sense of good cheer, continue learning, promote growth and challenge ourselves to better paths.

Those who are encompassed by friends and family, who think they are right, believing they have been called to right the world, are always wrong.

So beware.

Cronyism is a desire to promote and hire only those who approve of you, and it will always end up with you lying and cheating, becoming a crook.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Cronkite

Cronkite, Walter: 1916–2009, U.S. newscaster. 

He had the right look to calm our prejudices.

The perfect voice to allay our fears.

A coiffed mustache to parallel favorite uncle.

And a serious tone to let us know he knew the hell what he was talking about.

We never could confirm if he was a Republican or a Democrat. He felt that his political leanings were inconsequential—even detrimental in delivering the news.

He cried once, when a President was shot.

And he beamed like a proud father when he saw American brothers walking on the moon.

His name was Walter Cronkite.

We don’t have anyone like him, basically because we’ve decided that people who bring us the news events from around the world need to be pretty, opinionated, over-bearing, caustic and political.

It would be difficult for the younger generation to imagine a “newsman.” They are accustomed to talking heads, pundits and rating whores.

When there was no 24-hour news cycle, but there was a need to know what was going on in the world, millions of Americans invited one man into their homes, through their singular television set which sat in the living room in a corner, offering three channels.

This man was Walter Cronkite.

We don’t know if he had fetishes, affairs or a history of juvenile delinquency. It wasn’t because he was secretive. It was because Mr. Cronkite did not believe that he mattered—only that he accurately, truthfully, and dispassionately delivered the update of what was going on in our world.

He was a treasure. He is still a treasure.

And through the miracle of video tape, he can be viewed by some of the young news gatherers, who might just gain credence by personally taking on a revival of his spirit.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Crone

Crone: (n) a withered, witchlike old woman.

An obsession with attributing certain characteristics to either the male or the female is one of the surest ways to showcase misogyny.

It’s not bad enough that we believe that women like gardening and nurturing things, whereas men are hunters and gatherers. The fact that there are thousands—perhaps millions—of examples to the contrary does not seem to deter people from “genderizing” activities.

For instance, for years hurricanes were designated by only using women’s names because “they’re so unpredictable.”

Of course, we grew out of this because we know that men are just as unpredictable as women.

But when it comes to the word “crone,” we are pretty sure that such a disfigured, frustrated, bitchy and aggravated person could only have breasts and a vagina.

Fascinating, huh?

After all, we’ve never seen old men who are nasty, backbiting gossipers, who can’t find a good word to say about anything.

Although Charles Dickens did give us that great crone with Ebenezer Scrooge.

Do you think it would have been even more popular if it had been Abigail Scrooge?

Then we could have eased the common misconception of the masses—that vitriol is normally passed along by the chicks.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Croissant

Croissant: (n) a rich, buttery, crescent-shaped roll of leavened dough or puff paste.

For the sake of our little essay I shall refer to him as Martin.

This is not his real name, but perhaps if the actual individual reads this, he can come to the conclusion that he’s Martin. Then I can tell a story without people making fun of him personally.

Boy, was that a useless preamble.

So let’s pretend like I’m starting again.

***

Martin was the kind of guy who loved to come up with new things to try and insisted it was the cutting-edge practice from “the coast.” I was never sure whether he meant the East Coast, the West Coast or some other coast I might not be familiar with.

Many years ago, Martin arrived at a brunch we had put together.

(We did not call it brunch at that time because the word was not yet invented. We called it “late breakfast.”)

Martin arrived with a box—the kind you get at a bakery and usually has a cake in it. While we were laying out our eggs, bacon, biscuits, gravy, cereal boxes and a little fruit here and there, Martin exploded into the room and dropped his box on the table, pushing back a jar of homemade marmalade.

He turned to the gathered souls and said:

“Save your appetite! I have got the thing to eat today.”

Well, we were all a little suspicious. Martin was known for providing oddities and insisting they were delicacies. If you don’t know the difference, an oddity only becomes a delicacy if it tastes real good.

For instance:

He was the first to bring jalapeno peppers—with no warning on how to survive them after consumption.

He brought calamari and waited until we had chewed on it for a while before revealing it was squid.

Of course, there was the time that he offered our first box of Muesli Cereal from “over there in the Scandinavian lands,” which we all tried.

We all resembled cows chewing their cud.

But on this day, his offering was a croissant, which he pronounced with as much of a phony French accent as he could muster. He told us that croissants were better than biscuits, superior to rolls, left toast in the dust and of course, forced cornbread back to the farm.

He brought enough for everyone, so we all indulged in our first croissants—which were scrumptious. (Well, some folks took a couple bites and reverted to their primordial biscuits.)

But they were flakey.

Not that different from Martin.

(And now I jest.)

Also, they were just chewy enough that they did a fairly decent impersonation of bagels (Martin’s contribution three months earlier).

I cannot lie:

We all felt a little continental eating our croissants, imagining the French people who may have made them.

Since that day, if offered toast, biscuit, bagel or croissant, I will tell you—bagel and croissant do top my list.

So even though I may have found Martin to be pretentious, overbearing, a bit self-righteous and a social bully, he did introduce me to things I might not have found as quickly on my own but have become intricate parts of my life.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Croggy

Croggy: (n) Northern English and Midland English dialect for a ride on a bicycle as a passenger.

I’m always looking for the latest statement or question which is even more sad and desperate than the previous one I granted an award to for being most pitiful.

There have been many competitors.

Here are five of my favorites:

Shall we call them former wosers (a blending of winners and losers) until they were displaced?

  1. “Do you have a bandage I can borrow, because my wound is seeping pus?” (This one held for a LONG time.
  2. “I’m going to go vote because MY VOTE COUNTS.” (Hopeful, but tragic.)
  3. “Can I borrow a dollar? I want to buy a lottery ticket?” (Wah…)
  4. “Does anyone have any suggestions for really bad breath?” (Stay away.)
  5. “Why don’t people like me? Be honest.” (Can I email?)

As you can see, these are pretty heartbreaking.

But today I think I have found one to rival them:

“Can anyone give me a croggy?”

I now realize this is requesting a ride on a bicycle—not as the peddler, but as the rear passenger.

First, let me iterate that riding a bicycle as a form of transportation may seem inspirational but only until you come across the first hill—or even slight rise in the road.

Then it becomes exercise posing as progress.

BUT…did you hear me?…BUT to ask to ride on the back end of such a contraption, knowing that you aren’t contributing anything but weight and pain to the person who’s pedaling in front of you, has to be the worst position a human being can place him or herself in without having a kidney removed.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Crocodile Tears

Crocodile tears: (n) insincere tears

It’s difficult to determine what ends up making something popular.

I guess most folks would think that some action gains notoriety because it’s so successful.

Yet there are many things we do in our society that are not successful at all.

But we insist on continuing them out of tradition, politics or religion.

No, there’s more to it than that.

For something to be truly popular, everyone who participates needs to feel they’re getting something off of it.

Recently it has become prevalent to share your life story in front of a camera on television and to cry.

Everyone is supposed to feel great empathy.

Therefore, you can win over the favor of an entire audience while simultaneously making them feel generous with their concern.

The hitch in this plan is that ultimately, we all favor winners. Otherwise there would be no need for trophies, awards and accolades. So how is it that we are convinced that a close-up on our face with crocodile tears, sharing the tragedy that has happened to us, is supposed to be powerful enough to place us in a preferred position?

We now have singers who don’t sing for the joy of it or write songs because they feel energized or compelled. Rather, they hope that in singing or writing they can gain enough money to move their poor little family out of the trailer, and the youngest daughter, who was born with a third arm, can finally get that operation which is only performed by one doctor, whose clinic is in the Alps.

The ingredients are all there:

  • A sympathetic character
  • Crocodile tears
  • A nearly unbelievable story
  • And a wish that somehow or another, those who are listening will assist by voting this particular singer to the winner’s circle.

It works around this horrible assertion that bad things happen to us:

We are victims.

There were no opportunities to improve our situation to this point.

And there are forces at work to destroy us which we don’t seem able to curtail.

Now, if this is the case—in other words, if there’s truth to the fact that any one of us can be impaled by a mysterious destiny that’s targeting us—then I have to admit, the human life journey seems fruitless.

If I have no say, I’d rather not speak.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News