Corsage

Corsage: (n) a small bouquet worn at the waist, on the shoulder, or the wrist of a woman

I, for one, am thoroughly convinced that the only purpose we have as individual human beings is to discover ways to avoid the humiliation that often befalls us as a collective.

I don’t know why life, Mother Nature, creation—well, take your pick—has put together systems supposedly natural, which are so unnatural when put into funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
practice.

I don’t want to get graphic, but just the means by which we dispel our waste through bowel movements, and then trying to uncover a dainty process for not appearing absolutely gross while doing it and finishing up is a good example. Remember the lesson? “Take this flimsy piece of tissue paper in your right hand and reach around into your butt crack and clean yourself but make sure you don’t use too much of it or it will clog the toilet, but just enough that your hands can be used again for interaction with other souls.”

Sometimes I think God used the Earth and human beings more or less as an experiment, or maybe even a practical joke—and that somewhere in the Universe there is a new and improved human race which doesn’t have to deal with—shall we say?—natural humiliations.

This came to mind when I saw the word “corsage.” When I was in high school, I went to a prom and purchased such a flower at our local florist, who provided two long pins along with the arrangement, so that the man (in this case, me) could pin the corsage onto the young girl’s dress when arriving to pick her up for the date.

Is there anything that I just described that seems natural or sensible to you? It especially became horrifying when I walked in the door and realized that my date was bare-shouldered, and the place to pin said corsage was up near her precious bosom, which certainly did not need probing in front of her parents, especially with two sharp objects in my hand.

But it was all part of the fantasy.

The parents were standing by with their cameras, gasping, looking for a Kodak moment. The young lady I was taking to the prom had no more experience on this issue than me, so she stood by praying, lamb-like, pre-slaughter.

Somehow or another, I was able to get the pin stuck through the dress and into a little corner of the stem of the flower, where it somewhat dangled from her dress like low-hanging fruit.

I stepped away, greatly relieved that it was attached and that I was detaching.

Fortunately, as years passed, someone came along, admitting the horror and the potential blood-letting of the moment in adolescence, and invented a corsage with Velcro, which hooks onto the wrist—did you hear me?—the wrist of the girl—and doesn’t require prickly points.

Now isn’t that smart?

Couldn’t we perhaps have skipped a step and gone to something like that to begin with instead of tempting the fates, the gods or the fumbling hands of a teenage boy?

Even though the corsage question seems to be handled, I still break out in a cold sweat every time I see one, frightened that some old person in the crowd will shout, “Hey! Just for old time’s sake, why don’t you pin it on her?”


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Contrite

Contrite: (adj) filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement; penitent

The times in my life when I was truly sorry, I’ve been so contrite that I could barely speak.

I was afraid to utter a word. It might fail to communicate the depth of my anguish.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I simply sat, looking at the offended person and attempted to use my eyes to communicate the pain I felt inside. I had no desire to be glib and did not want to explain my position, and I certainly didn’t want to post it as a public statement on the Internet.

So great was my sadness over my actions that my contrite heart choked my words, leaving me with nothing more than gestures and tears.

Contrition is a magnificent experience in our journey. It is where we confirm that we’ve actually succeeded in graduating from being a baby, survived adolescence—becoming a full-fledged human being.

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Coach

Coach: (n) a person who teaches and trains the members of a sports team

The same tenacity and grit which is necessary to make one successful can just as easily be used to commence a life of crime.

This is the difficulty the adults in our lives face when they train us, and of course, coach us.

They certainly know that initiative, spunk and creativity are essential for forming the building blocks of a prosperous lifestyle. Yet in the moment, these particular attributes, especially when spoken from the nasally nastiness of adolescence, can be obnoxious.

So our instructors often have to find out whether our conduct, being sweet and kind, is a foretelling of goodness or brain death–and if our unwanted opinions prophesy greatness or the possibility of time spent “upstate.”

Let me give you an example.

During a football game, when we were losing 48 to nothing, I ran to the sideline and said the following to my coach: “Come on, coach! This defense you put together for us is just not working!”

I was fourteen at the time, and he was probably in his mid-twenties, trying desperately to survive the humiliation of being drummed by his rival on this field of debauchery.

I noticed that my coach’s face began to twitch. His eyes expanded. The veins in his head popped out, and his countenance became crimson as he slowly said, “Please sit down. Our defense is fine.”

I noticed that he avoided me for the rest of the game, as I avoided many tackles.

Fortunately, he did not personally address my inadequacies and focus on them because of my snippy, snarky comment. He restrained himself, and therefore, I believe I grew up using my precocious nature for good instead of joining forces with the villains to destroy Batman.

It’s not easy being a coach. You don’t always win, but end up stuck with your team, no matter what the score. You can’t blame them or you look like an idiot. You can’t accuse the referees or you appear to be a sore loser.

All you can do is teach what you know, and hope, by the grace of God, it’s enough.

 

 

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Bump

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Bump: (n) a light blow or a jolting collision.

Adolescence.

It’s when the urge arrives long before the instinct. Bluntly, the passion to do something far outweighs the available knowledge on what might happen.

When I was in high school, we had a musical group which had two goals:

  1. To sing and impress people.
  2. To get girls because we were singing and impressing people.

So one night after we had done some sort of gig, we were driving in the van that one of our members had purchased–a big, black number that looked really sinister and cool. Each one of us had a girl with him.

Let’s put together the ingredients again:

  • Teenage boys.
  • New van.
  • Just got done singing.
  • Girls in the vehicle.

Of course we had to try something crazy.

So we attempted to find out how fast the van would go. In the process of doing that, we came to a crest in the road, not realizing there was a huge drop-off at the top. There had once been a sign warning of a “bump,” but it had been knocked down many years ago and lay in the ditch, rusting. So as we climbed the hill and got to the top, the road disappeared underneath the tires and we found ourselves airborne.

I’m sure it was not a long jump, but for a short time, our van did its best impression of Air Force One.

We landed with a huge thud, throwing everybody in the air bouncing heads on the ceiling, as the van tilted form side to side, threatening to tip over.

The driver intelligently pulled to the side of the road to make sure that nobody had been killed. Confident that our bumps were well on their way to becoming bruises, we proceeded down the road giggling a little less, partying sparingly.

So the lesson of this story is simple: beware of vans who meet bumps in the night.

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Berate

Berate (v): to scold or criticize someone angrily.

Dictionary B

My wife’s parents didn’t like me.

They had good reason.

I lied, cheated, misinformed and did a bunch of crap which forced them into the role of being critical defenders of their daughter.

Yet I had the excuse of being intoxicated by adolescence. They were supposed to be mature and understand my weakness, but instead, berated me, telling me I would never be anything of quality.

Being very young, I felt it was my duty to verbally attack them also, leaving a chasm of misunderstanding, which I believed would be taken care of over time. I thought that once their daughter and I were married and had children, matters would miraculously transpire to turn us into a family, laughingly remembering former days of conflict.

It never happened.

Matter of fact, I can recite several events in my life when I was berated–or was the berator of others myself–where those relationships have never healed, but have instead settled into an uncomfortable silence of unacceptability.

We are civil.

I suppose there are even moments of kindness.

But the grudge that is still carried leaves both parties breathless, if not hopeless.

So what I have learned with each passing birthday is that the less I confront those around me, the greater the possibility of maintaining the warmth of fellowship.

I suppose we should be a race that is forgiving, gentle and free of resentment.

We are not.

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Apparition

dictionary with letter A

Apparition (n.) a remarkable thing that makes a sudden appearance, especially a ghost.

I believe in ghosts.

Not the cloudy, smoky spirits of souls who have gone on to their reward or retribution. I’m talking about the ghosts of bad ideas, inclinations and fallacies that possessed our world in the past, and now have come to haunt us in the present.

  • Sometimes I just wish we could come up with new bad ideas.
  • Sometimes I just wish there was something new.

But instead we have the poltergeist of previous ridiculous concepts rising up from the grave, where we thought we buried it, only to spook us once again.

We don’t have new scandals. We have the spirit of Richard Nixon and Watergate infesting the present bodies of our politicians, making them do the same stupid mistakes he tried to pull off, which ended up with his destruction.

We don’t have music born of the spirituality and emotions of our own generation, but rather, grave-robbers who go and dig up the tunes of those who are now decomposing.

We are continually vexed by the apparitions of past failures or the ongoing celebration of victories, where the band has already played and marched away.

We spend too much time celebrating the past, forgetting the prejudice, disease and dumbness that prevailed.

I believe in ghosts because we refuse to inter the past.

So we just keep living this stuff over and over again … like a bunch of tales from the crypt.

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Apparent

dictionary with letter A

Apparent (adj.)1. clearly seen or understood; obvious. 2. seeming real, but not necessarily so.

All of our eyeballs have been blurred, leaving our vision tainted.

Perhaps it was the disappointment brought on by the tension of adolescence, or some hidden prejudice inserted into our thinking by well-meaning parents.

It might have been high expectation which was dashed and brought crashing to the earth by the flak of reality.

Somewhere along the line we began looking at the world through clouded lenses of bigoted conclusions.

Therefore what is apparent to one person is not equally as apparent to another. Matter of fact, we’ve developed a whole philosophical approach to the issue, insisting that we’re all quite different, and in our difference we find our “special purpose.”

Yet it doesn’t occur to us that if we all have different views of what is necessary, beautiful and spiritual, we’re more likely to collide into each other in the dark than to embrace each other in the light.

I do think it’s important that we come to some common ground on what is apparent, and even if we don’t completely understand it, submit to the wisdom of some very essential precepts:

1. We are not here alone.

In other words, we cannot live our lives as if there are no other human beings, and trying to pursue our goals without a belief in a Creator can be more frustrating than enriching.

2. The truth will make you free.

Lying is a detour which takes you through town, past the beautiful houses, but always ends up at the city dump. No one ever gets away with lying–and truthfully, the longer the deceit is disguised, the worse the retribution.

3. Miracles are God’s business, but talent is mine.

There is no replacement for ability applied with hard work. Those who peddle shortcuts, easy diet plans and get-rich schemes may be the closest thing we will ever see to flesh-and-blood satans.

There are things which are apparent. If we agree, we can begin to pull together instead of pushing and shoving each other. But to get this done, we must stop believing that the Earth is a series of human islands instead of a continent of brothers and sisters.

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