Crisscross

Crisscross: (v) to move back and forth over

If you live long enough that you can transform your stupidities into learning experiences, and then implement fresh ideas, by the end it looks like you were really ingenious and had a great plan.

That statement truly sums up my life.

Graduating from high school, I decided I wanted to be a musician, writer and artist.

No one else agreed. Especially no one who was willing to lay down the money so that I could continue my quest.

Rather than perching in my hometown, where everybody knew me and had already drawn an opinion that I needed to “get a job and be normal,” I climbed into my not-so-worthy van with two comrades, and we began to crisscross the country.

I could probably boast that I had formulated an outline in my mind.

But basically, after a few months it all boiled down to money.

As far as I know, our little group became the first people in America to be involved in crowdfunding.

At least three or four nights a week, we stood in front of neutral, if not hostile, audiences, and made our case for our music and mission.

And then we passed the plate.

If a plate was not available, we were certainly willing to use a hat.

Through this we learned three things:

  1. It doesn’t do any good to crisscross the country if you’re going into areas that are resistant
  2. You should go back to receptive areas, continuing your work, as long as they remain open.
  3. After you crisscross the country to an area that is open, when you get in front of those people, remember the two most important factors necessary for drawing others:

Be endearing and be enduring

Make it clear that you realize you’re a human being—susceptible to the same shit they are.

But also let them know that you’ve been traveling for a good while, and you have no intention of giving up on the idea that we all can do better

When an audience is convinced of these two things, they open up their wallets. It has to be real and it has to have some proof—other than just your assertion.

I have crisscrossed this country forty or fifty times over my journey.

Through that experience, I really did learn to love America—whether it’s red, blue or sometimes even when it’s colorless.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Creole

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Creole: (n) a person born in Louisiana but of usually French ancestry.

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of leaps into quicksand, with the excitement coming from each escape from foolishness.

Would any of us truly have a reason for being if we weren’t finding creative ways to correct our mistakes?

For a very brief time in my life, I thought that because I possessed faith, it was my responsibility to infuse it into others. This misconception led me to make a brief missionary trip to the country of Haiti. Never has one small nation been so inundated with religious propaganda and promises of eternal life with so little prospect for earthly sustenance. Yet I decided to add my own drivel to the propagated myth. I arrived in Haiti convinced that if I preached the Gospel, I could save souls. It didn’t occur to me that there were actually people linked to those souls.

People who got hungry.

People who needed love.

People who valued romance.

People who just thought, felt and dreamed about “people things.”

I was in the middle of my third little sermon in an adobe building, in front of a packed house—eager faces who had obviously been told by their leadership that the arrival of white people from America always offered the possibility of financial relief.

The language was Creole.

I did not take the time to learn the tongue, but over the several days that I had been there, I picked up a word here and there—maybe even a phrase.

I suddenly noticed that my translator, who had a grin foretelling of sin, was not exactly sharing what I was saying to the congregation.

So after I finished my teaching, I cornered him and asked him what he was doing. Never dropping his smile, he looked me right in the eyes and said, “You come from a country where your biggest concern is getting too fat. You are visiting a country where our biggest concern is staying alive. Sometimes you say dumb things that would be offensive, and I just find happier ways to translate them.”

A chill went down my spine. Even though I believed myself to be a plain-spoken individual who always wanted to hear the truth, I kind of wished he’d lied to me.

But I’m glad he didn’t—because he made it clear that my preaching could not be eaten and my Bible verses didn’t provide warmth; that even though I might have good intentions, my efforts were worthless to the needy.

That day I started trying to learn some of the Creole language.

It was literally the least I could do.

 


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Conjure

Conjure: (v) to bring to mind

“We’ve got to stop this fussing!” he said in a fussy manner to a gathered audience which was fussy about the circumstances of a country that seemed to always be fussing.

It has been my decision to remain apolitical. I’ve also decided to become a-economical and a-religious.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

This is not because I don’t believe in America, business or even God, for that matter. I just find that fussing and worrying over such issues never conjures the right spirits.

Whether we like it or not, we do beckon emotions and energy in our direction. It’s not a spooky thing–it’s a practical principle of magnetism.

If the world around us wants to be gloomy, angry and feel forsaken, the only way you can get the attention of such a market is by conjuring this profile–doing your best imitation of being a miserable misfit.

After all, if the goal is to be famous, prosperous or well-known, you must slide into the lane presently provided, which seems to be pissed off and talkative.

Yet looking ahead to the future life of our children–or even, in a broad perspective, our grandchildren–a world that is constantly scratching imaginary itches will eventually bleed out and die.

It is my intention that by refusing to join the rabble, I might be able to conjure something rousing.

 

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Congratulations

Congratulations: (n) words expressing praise for an achievement or good wishes on a special occasion

Congratulations are in order:

To anyone who is not pissing on others because he or she is pissed off

To people of either gender who realize equality is never achieved through separation, but rather, mingling similaritiesfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C

To the pilgrims who understand that culture has become the new Jim Crow, to separate us without making it look painful

Congratulations are also in order to those who believe in America to such a degree that they are prepared to question a voting system and electoral college which is not only antiquated, but preventing us from electing excellent leadership.

Congratulations to the people who are not afraid to speak their minds without apology.

Congratulations are in order to the human beings who understand we are not really spiritual, but are able to learn how to have enough spirit to keep from hating and destroying one another.

Congratulations are in order to the businesses which realize it is a damnable offense to make huge profits off the sickness of other travelers.

Congratulations are in order to anyone, anywhere, at any time, who can maintain a civil tongue, and salt their conversation with some humor.

Congratulations are in order to a faith that demands works–otherwise appearing dead.

Congratulations are in order to those who appreciate and utilize science without worshipping it, but instead, challenge the educational system to continue its evolution.

Congratulations are in order to you, if you resist accepting the meager offerings presented to you, but instead believe that somewhere in the pasture is a four-leaf clover, and in the clouds, a silver lining.

 

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Conform

Conform: (v) to comply

In case you occasionally slip up and start thinking there is some sanity in the actions of our social order, let me remind you of the greatest piece of hypocrisy ever hatched in the henhouse of clucking. Here it is:

“Be yourself but follow the rules.”

It is the message of America.

Both of us–you and me–are encouraged to be creative individuals, and then are informed that the advice given is faulty.

There’s an ancient piece of philosophy which challenges us: “Be not conformed but be transformed.”

In 1962, if you were living anywhere in America, the general consensus would have been that segregation of the races was not only the norm of the day, but funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
actually proper.

In 1966, you would have been struck down as anti-American if you suggested the war in Vietnam was anything other than a bold act of patriotism.

In 1971, you would have been laughed out of the room if you had proposed that black athletes should be able to play college sports in the Southeast Conference.

In 1981, the thought of homosexuality being part of the mainstream would have brought you criticism and cost you many friends.

In 1998, you would have been totally out of step to insist that oral sex was actually sex.

In 2003, suggesting that the war in Iraq was a foolish ploy would have brought the house down on top of your head.

And as I have recently found, in this day and age suggesting that the archaic American voting system is an insult to the notion of democracy, makes me an enemy of God, America and most ingredients in the apple pie.

You can conform–as long as you’re willing to be considered foolish within twenty years.

 

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Conditional

Conditional: (adj) subject to one or more conditions or requirements being met

There are certain things you cannot do in America:

You cannot be mean to your puppy on Main Street.

You certainly cannot suggest that the red, white and blue color scheme of the flag clashes.

And you risk life and limb if you even whisper that the phrase “unconditional love” was invented in the office of a pop psychologist and immediately adopted by Hallmark Cards.

Any mortal who wears skin, pumps blood and allows that circulation to reach his or her brain, is fully aware that we need love to have some conditions.

When left to ourselves and told that we’re “fine the way we are”–that the affection offered in our direction is not contingent on some facets of our behavior–we become tyrants.

Especially comical is the notion that our Creator–God–would extend such a gift to His creation, considering that He is fully aware of both our heavenly potential funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
and our notorious naughtiness.

That is why the Good Book is full of “if and then’s.”

“If you do this, then you will get this…”

  • If you have faith, you can move mountains.
  • If you believe, you will be saved.
  • If you are generous, it will be measured back to you.
  • If you judge, it will be metered at you with the same intensity.

Though we want to convey the depth of our emotion and appreciation for one another, it is certainly devious to suggest that our human feelings are not conditional. If they were not conditional, we couldn’t be of help to one another.

After all, sometimes a certain amount of intervention is necessary to get our mate out of bed to go to work. At that point, he or she might insist that we do not love them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We just know that if they go to work, we can go out to dinner on Friday night and actually afford an appetizer.

 

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Compromise

Compromise: (n) an agreement reached by each side making concessions.

Dinner chatter.

I’m speaking of those conversations that occur after a fine meal, while some sip on wine and others lick their cheesecake fork.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

These are the moments when people feel the need to wax philosophical while simultaneously appearing to be extraordinarily open-minded.

So one person shares his or her opinion and another adds detail, being very careful not to contradict, but instead, enhance.

By the end of the exchange, a summary is formed in which everyone’s sentiments are included in some capacity–almost like a discussion scrapbook.

The host or hostess often conclude by saying things like:

“Well, I’m sure all the political parties have something good to share since they all love America.”

Or:

“Even though we should be sensitive to each other’s cultures and respect difference, there is no race left out or creed dispelled.”

Or one of my favorites:

“It would seem that all paths lead to God and each one of us selects a profile literally tailored to our soul.”

We love compromise.

Matter of fact, in the American system, compromise is considered more sacred than authenticity. For years and years we’ve rejected obvious truth to make sure we did not offend anyone in the room.

Let me tell you something about the path to God:

It demands truth on our inward parts, and in no way, shape or form are we to distinguish, isolate or even separate off into groups–because God is no respecter of persons.

 

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