Concubine

Concubine: (n) a mistress.

Although we’re often critical of our ancestors and former times which seemed to be plagued by ignorance, you occasionally have to stop and give props to our forefathers, who were able to come up with very intriguing words to describe their iniquity.

Finding “whore, prostitute” and even “mistress” to be somewhat distasteful, one of them decided to start inserting the word “concubine” to funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
describe an extra-marital relationship. It conjures in the mind an image of a porcupine and a large shell from the beach.

How could that be anything but fascinating?

Matter of fact, they may be onto something. I’m musing over some possible words or phrases that could be inserted to cover a multitude of sins.

Stealing, for instance. It could be changed to “undeclared investment supply.”

Sloth: a sabbatical (Someone beat me to that one.)

Lust: romanticizing (Sounds like what a novelist does.)

Murder: population control

Bigotry: culture discovery

Arrogance: patriotism

As you can see, the possibilities are nearly endless for creating rational words to disguise our often-irrational behavior.

 

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Complexion

Complexion: (n) the natural color, texture, and appearance of a person’s skin

Sometimes I want to laugh, and I’m told it’s not permissible. They connote it would be disrespectful or place me out of step with the times.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

But I find it very difficult to take one matter seriously–after tens of thousands of years of habitation on the Earth, human beings are still evaluating one another by complexion–and not only evaluating, but feeling the need to live out a personality, a lifestyle, and a culture because of the hue of their skin.

But on this, the liberals and conservatives agree: there are many different cultures with many different customs unique unto them, which are often initiated simply due to the color of skin.

So if you’re a black person you don’t just have a darker complexion–you also need to be in agreement with your ancestors, going all the way back to Africa, which many Americans who have black skin might not even be able to identify on a map.

And if you’re a rosy-cheeked person who has relatives who were once Vikings, you must surely have an affinity for hard work, brats and beer (while denying rape and pillaging.)

I’m a mess. Ends up that I do have a color to my complexion, but enjoy perks from all different cultures and styles.

When will the Earth be able to solve its problems?

When our thinking has a deeper tone than our complexion.

 

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Codger

Codger: (adj) an elderly man, especially one who is old-fashioned or eccentric.

It is not because I keep piling up birthdays–nor that there seems to be a new wrinkle in my countenance.

No, it is the fact that I believe that “codger” is not based on age. Instead, it’s a disposition.

Going through the store the other day, I noticed a fellow–no more than twenty-five years old–who was with his wife and little daughter.

He trudged.

I’m sure he didn’t need to. I’m quite positive that his legs were still filled with lots of power. But somewhere along the line, he convinced himself to adopt the profile of the masses when it comes to everyday living.

I describe that condition as a perpetual visual and emotional proclamation of, “It’s too much.”

  • It’s too much debt.
  • It’s too much crime.
  • It’s too much trouble with the kids.
  • It’s too much argument with my spouse.
  • It’s too much pressure on the job.

Once convinced of this, any individual–at any age–becomes a grouchy codger.

He or she spews the venom of a sour soul, giving up on the possibility of the possible–checking out, absolutely certain that there’s no need to check in.

Now, I will grant you that many old people have also donned this persona in honor of their ancestors, simply to prove they were no better nor worse than their predecessors.

But it seems to me that it keeps starting younger and younger, and considering the fact that we seem to be living longer and longer, it certainly might make for an awfully dreary lifespan.

If you want to keep from being a codger, you have to use both eyes and ears:

One eye on what’s going on, and one eye on the blessing that might be coming your way.

One ear on the complaints that surround you, and the other listening intently for the song of hope.

 

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Atavistic

Atavistic: (adj) relating to or characterized by reversion to something ancient or ancestral.dictionary with letter A

So there’s a word for it.

I have described this condition many times, but never realized that the word “atavistic” existed. How blessed I am to have stumbled onto this idea of pontificating on dictionary words!

Because I certainly know that our society suffers from atavistic attitudes.

As I have tried to discern my ways and negotiate my path in this journey of life, I have found that every time I draw a line in the sand and say that everything behind it is holy, and everything in front of it is acceptable or up for discussion, I have repeatedly found myself redrawing the line in the sand–back a bit further each time.

  • It’s made me grumpy.
  • It’s made me wonder if I’m a sellout.
  • It’s made me curious if anything sacred actually exists.

But then one day I realized that my problem in life was that my own experience was not matching up with my proclaimed convictions. In other words, I was pursuing an atavistic lifestyle, which was often honoring the traditions of my parents or forefathers instead of what I discovered for myself.

I will go so far as to say that I don’t care what the Apostle Paul had to say about God. I am happy that he had an experience he decided to write down, but unless I have a fresh encounter of my own, I will have a tendency to defend his opinions instead of uncovering the truth for myself.

So when I realized that I was hearkening to former eras (which I discovered today was “atavistic”), I cleared my head and came up with three things I know to be true:

  1. I can’t share a vision, but need to have one of my own.

Even if my goals do not agree with everyone else, they must be borne out in my own soul, and believed in my own heart–without doubt.

  1. I don’t have the right to tell anybody else what to do.

That would include expressing disapproval. If I am a mature person, I will understand that it all plays out. Foolishness never ends up wearing the king’s cap. In the long run, it is deemed foolish.

  1. Being merciful is the only way I can obtain mercy.

Since I require mercy from time to time, I should probably be making deposits in case there would be a need for a sudden withdrawal.

Now, I will tell you–these three ideas were not common sense to my family and ancestors.

They are my experience.

They keep me from being out of step with my own conscience.

They keep me from being a hypocrite.

 

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Arab

dictionary with letter A

Arab: (adj) of or relating to Arabia or the people of Arabia

I grew up in Ohio.

My formative years were spent in a small village in the Buckeye Nation, surrounded by bigoted people.

They did not like black people–not because of proximity or personal contact. It was simply a tradition that had been passed down from one generation to another, and even though some of their ancestors fought to free the slaves, they didn’t especially want these “freed men” to live in the same neighborhood.

I was surrounded by intolerance. My family would probably argue the point, but only because we love to rewrite history once it’s been corrected.

But truthfully, the average person living in Central Ohio in 1965 believed many erroneous things about “colored folk,” including that they smelled differently, they were less intelligent, and they certainly should not date sons, let alone daughters.

Here’s an interesting fact: that isn’t true today.

The reason it isn’t true is that gradually the minority of the people who were more loving and giving wore down the intolerant, or else they buried them in the cemetery or changed their minds.

But as long as we believed that there were more “good Buckeyes” who were color blind than “bad Buckeyes” who were not, no progress was made.

The same thing is true for the Arabs.

They are experiencing a very strong backlash to extreme fundamentalism in the religion that they hold dear.

Here’s a fact: until the good ones who love people outlast and eventually outnumber the ones who don’t, and take the words of their holy book and punctuate the verses that are more inclusive, they will be characterized, universally, as dangerous.

There’s no way around it. If my close neighbor who shares my mosque flies airplanes into buildings, I become a suspect.

In my community of 1,500 people, having 60 folks who were open to having black people living in the town was not sufficient to warrant referring to our citizens as open-minded.

Truth had to win out.

So here’s the conclusion, and I speak this joyfully and hopefully to my Arab brothers and sisters:

Wear down your bigots and outnumber them.

It’s the only way to regain the beauty of your cause and an acceptance of your true mission.

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Approach

dictionary with letter A

Ap·proach (n): 1. a way of dealing with something. E.G.: “We need a whole new approach.”

I find myself in Clarksville, Tennessee.

If you’re going to be a journeyman, you should be prepared to journey and become a better man in all situations.

I think I pride myself in the fact that I’m able to blend with various cultures and be of benefit to the people around me, as they also share their flavors and insights in my direction.

At breakfast this morning, there was a man who serves the food, who happens to be a fellow of color. I had been interacting with him for several days with a bit of conversation, generosity and expressing interest in his life.

Honestly, I felt quite cosmopolitan doing so, feeling that I was “a man for all seasons.” (Remember, arrogance is always more likely when one thinks one is being righteous)

As I sat at breakfast, two other young chaps, who happened to be of his hue, came into the room, sat down, and began to talk. I didn’t want to be impolite by listening in, but I did anyway, and it didn’t make any difference.

I was only able to catch about every tenth word and make out its meaning from my limited translating ears.

My acquaintance was a different individual around these two than he was with me. I realized that when he spoke to me he was more cautious, overly respectful and maintained a certain distance.

It wouldn’t even have occurred to me had these two gentlemen not come in and brought out his internal workings. I realized that through the combination of the Southern culture, his upbringing, racial tensions in America, and honestly, my ignorance, that he and I had barely brushed against each other.

I had deceived myself into believing that I was a “great communicator,” when really, I was still just a color, a shape and an obstacle.

It gave me pause.

What is the approach we will need to cross these horrible barriers we’ve constructed between each other, and to heal the inconsideration and atrocities of careless ancestors?

I’m not sure what the approach should be, but I know that somewhere along the line we will have to be honest about our lackings, laugh at our weaknesses and give some good ground to one another–or nothing will change.

 

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Anomaly

dictionary with letter A

Anomaly: (n) something that deviates from the normal, standard or expected

I liked music.

At eighteen years of age, I’m not so sure that I was totally devoted to a career in the field or whether there was a bit of laziness tied into the equation, because playing piano sounded easier than punching a time-clock. (After all, we get ourselves in the most trouble when we try to purify our motives instead of accepting them a trifle sullied.)

One afternoon during that eighteenth year, I took my girlfriend, who was soon to become my wife, into a back room of a loan company owned by my parents and sat down at a piano which had been given to our family, but because we had no room in our house, ended up stuck in the back corner of this lending institution.

I had never written a song before.

As a teenager, I sang in choir, a quartet and for nursing homes, pretending like it was a big gig at Madison Square Garden.

Yet on this day, I suddenly got this urge to compose. It was not stimulated by a professor at a college asking for an assignment, nor was it motivated by my ancestors, wishing that I would abandon all normal courses of occupation and pursue a musical path.

It was truly an anomaly.

  • It was contrary to what everybody wanted me to do.
  • It was an open, seething contradiction to my cultural training.
  • I sat down at that piano, and in the course of the next ninety-four minutes, wrote two original songs. I didn’t know if they were good and certainly was not confident they were great.

But something came out of me that wasn’t a conditioned response or a well-studied answer for a final exam.

It was mine.

Whether it was good or bland, it came from me. It excited me. It encouraged me to muster the perseverance to survive the critique of my society and even overcome my own fits of lethargy to pursue it.

It still excites me today.

Hundreds of songs later, I still feel as thrilled when pen goes to paper, words appear and musical notes cuddle up next to them.

No one in my family ever took the course of action which I chased, beginning with that afternoon in the back room behind that piano.

But it is the selection of that odyssey that has made me who I am.

There are two things you have to remember about an anomaly:

  1. It is never immediately accepted.
  2. It always takes more work than you expected.

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