Daffy

Daffy: (adj) silly, weak-minded, crazy

Looney Tunes.

There were four or five years in my life when I lived for them.

As I look back now, I realize how intricately these cartoons were constructed—how much money was put into the music—and also how cruel they truly were.

Very recently, I’ve noticed that there was some hidden racism in the relationship between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

Daffy, black, was always trying to keep up with Bugs Bunny, though the rabbit seemed to have a charmed life and Daffy appeared to be born under the sign, “Please hit me.”

It made Daffy very angry.

So enraged was he that he plotted against Bugs—and the notorious bunny innocently looked on, as if he had no idea whatsoever why Daffy was so perturbed.

As a kid, I found myself rooting for the calm, easy-going “what’s up doc?”

On the other hand, I found the black duck to be inept, clumsy, arrogant and mean.

I’m sure that was not the goal of the cartoon makers.

But in an era when racism was rampant—not that different from today—the color distinction between the light gray and white Bugs and the black, almost Southern-talking Daffy, was pronounced, and dare I say, obvious.

On top of that, when you’re given a name like “Daffy,” it’s hard to overcome the profile in a five-and-a-half-minute cartoon.

So, oppressed by color, by the fact he was a duck, and that favoritism seemed to be given to the ever-extolled rabbit, Daffy found himself spending all his time frustrated, unable to get a life and be productive.

I’m always bewildered when someone is angry when another race complains about their status. They say:

“This is America, the land of opportunity–just go out and make a world for yourself.”

But as Daffy will tell you, sometimes that is difficult to do—when the Bunny is unmercifully “Bugs”-ing you.

 

Cymbals

Cymbals: (n) concave plates of brass or bronze that produces a sharp, ringing sound when struck by a drumstick

The Book of Psalms refers to “high sounding cymbals.”

It’s part of an impressive list of instruments that were recommended to be used in the process of worshipping God. If this particular Psalm were read aloud in front of the average church-goer, he or she would be greatly discomforted by the description of music that is meant to create as much volume possible, to offer a parallel to the magnitude of the blessings of the Almighty.

It is fascinating how we as a people get stuck in a certain place, a certain time, a certain atmosphere and sometimes even a certain collection of individuals, and lock ourselves there, mentally insisting that nothing can ever surpass that particular organization.

When I first traveled on the road, drums were not permitted in churches.

Matter of fact, the first drum set I ever carried into a church was toted right back out the door by two deacons who were summoned to remove the “demon instruments.”

But deep in my soul, each and every day, there is the reassurance that for every religious objection or social limitation placed on the human race, there is at least one verse of Holy scripture that not only contradicts the delusional commandment, but demands a total freedom of expression.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cyclothymia

Cyclothymia: (n) bipolar disorder characterized by instability of mood and a tendency to swing between mild euphorias and depressions.

Now you finally have an answer.

Whether you’re asking yourself or fielding an inquiry from someone else concerning why America is so screwed up, you can studiously present the diagnosis:

“It appears the entire nation is cyclothymic.”

We have fallen into a mood where we’re not certain how to feel about anything, so we often find ourselves laughing at absurd intervals and inexplicably weeping over seemingly nothing—so imbalanced that we have forgotten what has value and what is meaningless.

Therefore, many times we find ourselves crying buckets over public service announcements concerning the mistreatment of dogs in kennels, while we can’t come up with the solution for protecting our children from gun violence in school—even when their bodies are stacked next to the monkey bars on the playground.

We become offended by the deaths of unborn children, while we’re seemingly untouched by starving, abused and caged young humans all over the world—even at our own border.

We will mourn over our religion and never shed a tear for the human beings it is poised to serve.

Since we have no control over our emotions and they are liable to sprout at bizarre intervals, we become aggravated with one another for being maudlin or failing to care enough for something that should be deemed tragic.

Even as we lament climate change, we’re angry at humans for the dilemma, never realizing that the reason for preventing planet destruction is to bless and honor our fellow Earthlings.

Insanity is any time we insist that what we hold to be important and essential should be universally accepted as holy.

Some people just don’t bow their heads when they see a cross.

And other folks don’t wince and blink back tears when a dog is scrounging in the wilderness.

It will take a concerted effort for us to once again be able to come up with a clear vision for what is truly significant.

But we might start with: Is it hurting others?

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Culture

Culture: (n) a particular form or stage of civilization

What if I don’t like your color?

I can’t really say that—it makes me look like a bigot. I can’t let you know that I’ve been raised so sheltered that the hue of your skin gives me the creeps. I associate your color with matters that are not desirable.

All I really want is for you to stay away from me.

I have noticed that insulting you doesn’t cause you to disperse. I can talk behind your back and make you feel uncomfortable, but there’s always a chance you will defiantly remain.

I can insist that you’re inferior, but then every once in a while, you do things to disprove my contention.

What if I just don’t want to change my opinion? If I’m open-minded, my brain might slip out of its casing and wiggle away.

What can I do to make sure you stay away from me, but at the same time not incur your wrath or revenge?

What will cause us to remain separate without making it seem like it’s social segregation?

I do not want to be condemned by the self-righteous souls who think they’re superior because they learned how to tolerate you.

I don’t hate you—I just don’t want you. Shouldn’t I be allowed to get what I want? I mean, America being free and all.

So me and my friends got together and came up with this great idea.

We’re going to pretend that you are different by establishing how unique you are—how outstanding your customs and the climate in your community.

We will admire your cooking without ever partaking.

We will compliment your music without downloading a single song.

We will ooh and ahh over your costuming as if it’s coming from a faraway land, humiliating our beige and brown.

We will explain that you have a way of doing things that’s simply marvelous—as we have a way of doing things that is equally proficient.

We won’t talk about things like racial prejudice or fear of mixing.

We’ll call it culture.

It sounds so…well, cultured.

In doing so, we establish that you have found your way of doing things and we have found our way of doing things and there is no reason for the two paths to cross or for us to talk you out of your preferences and abandon ours.

We have invented a new racism.

It’s friendly, seems educated and is flexible.

You have a culture.

We have a culture.

Now, if you’ll be so kind, take yours over there and we’ll keep ours right here.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

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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