Davenport

Davenport: (n) a large sofa, often one convertible into a bed.

Language is made out of razor blades.

It took me a while to learn this.

If you’re not careful, you’re going to cut people.

And if not agile, you may end up slicing yourself.

Whenever you contend that a certain word is necessary in order to communicate sophistication or perhaps being a well-rounded human, you’ve grabbed the razor blade and slashed out at the world around you.

Over the past fifteen years, I have made a concerted effort to make my language out of marshmallows. Even if they occasionally bounce off someone, it produces a giggle-fest instead of a bruise.

To do this, I had to get rid of the assertion that I became a “better person” by using “better talk.”

Example:

The best way to describe a large seating place in a living room is to call it a couch.

Once you abandon the word “couch,” everything else you say is an attempt to separate yourself from the milling masses and the ignorant idiots.

Even calling it a “sofa” is filled with such pretension that people immediately know you’re trying to communicate your verbal—or even perhaps natural—superiority.

I won’t even discuss the word “divan,” because truthfully, friends, it is not divine.

Yet when I was growing up, there were those who referred to a couch as a davenport. Generally speaking, they were old, white, and held their noses a little higher than others. It was obvious they were in a constant search for obscure terms to describe common things.

Many of them said tomato and potato with a soft sound on the “a.”

“To-mah-to.”

“Po-tah-to.”

Occasionally, when using a word from foreign extract, they actually fell into an accent which they mustered for the moment.

The pastor’s wife from my church had a davenport. That’s what she called it. Now, she never corrected anybody for calling it a sofa or a couch, but she refused to join them in such lollygagging of the tongue.

So let me tell you:

If you want to find out what your profile is on Earth, see how many attempts you make to establish patterns of speech that you have decided are more “high-minded” than others.

If you have many, many of them, you are officially an Earthly asshole.

If you have a few, you’re pretentious.

The recommended number of fussy words that you dare keep around in your lingo is zero. 

Dare

Dare: (v) to have the boldness to try; venture; hazard

I dare you to love an asshole.

Big talker you are.  Bet’cha can’t pull it off.

You’ll peer around the room at everyone, desperately looking for confirmation that no one could get along with the asshole that is plaguing your space.

I dare you to buy a canvas and some paints and let your mind go crazy and spill something out.

Are you more scared of humiliation or stagnancy? Which one terrifies you?

I dare you to admit your faults to other people.

Do you really think they’ll move in for the kill shot? And what if they do? Will you lose something by dying honest?

I dare you to change one thing tomorrow and see if it doesn’t have at least five consecutive results.

I dare you to start using your email to encourage people instead of complaining about your circumstance to a plethora of pitiful types who only desire to complain back to you.

I dare you to demand of God that He do something rather than just seek worship.

I dare you to stop being political, and instead, become so human that you actually join the race.

I dare you to change your mind.

I dare you to listen for ten minutes to someone who disagrees with you, without interrupting.

I dare you to learn the beauty of getting alone without feeling lonely.

I dare you to find that balance between loving yourself and needing to improve something inside you.

I dare you to find a legitimate difference between men and women that hasn’t been manufactured in Congress, the pulpit or the movies.

I dare you to let people be who they are, and if you find it uncomfortable, make them comfortable by finding yourself elsewhere.

I dare you to take a week believing in God, and then I dare you to take a week denying there is one. (Then I dare you to be fair in your conclusions after the two weeks are over.)

I dare you to have an experience other than a Biblical verse.

I dare you to give a helping hand to people who are ignorant instead of stepping on their face with your new Gucci boots.

I dare you to be dared.

Yes—I dare you to be dared until your daring adventure takes you to a double dare.

Cyberbully

Cyberbully: (v) to bully online by sending or posting mean or intimidating messages, usually anonymously

 Vices are depleted of all virtue.

If we don’t believe this, we tend to make excuses for errant behavior—even contending that such actions have a time or place.

This is why bratty, snotty, cynical and ignorant continue to live on, although they were exposed as useless long ago.

Bullying has also proven to be both unpleasant and ineffective.

It is unpleasant because the one doing the bullying is left with a sour, stale taste in his or her mouth, and ineffective because after a brief sense of victory, every bully is eventually identified and eliminated.

But now we have the Internet.

It’s the perfect platform for those who wish to be bullies but fear being punched in the nose by a superior force. They can now hide out behind what is usually a not-so-clever tag or handle.

I am convinced that most human beings prefer to be considered nice but have found the upkeep on such a profile daunting, or perhaps boring.

I, myself, will occasionally get in the presence of those who twist my last nerve and try to stomp on the weakness of my good grace.

I immediately realize I have a choice.

I can become offended, infuriated or disgusted, using my language tools to devastate them with some unrighteous retort.

Or (now, please listen) I can walk away and realize that within thirty feet of my departure, they are barely on my mind.

Sometimes occupying the same space is the best way to turn yourself into an asshole—if you’re occupying that space with someone who brings out the bully in you.

The purpose of the Internet is to create communication, not destroy it—to connect us to one another instead of rubbing each other the wrong way, producing friction and pain.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crackpot

Crackpot: (n) a person who is eccentric, unrealistic, or fanatical.

 So what is a crackpot?

It may not be a word we use much nowadays. We favor asshole. But asshole has too broad a beam to it (pardon the expression).

A crackpot is something specific. A crackpot is a person who may start out well-intentioned but ends up ridiculous because he or she always makes the same mistake.

Crackpots leave out a step.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

For instance, it’s easy to find crackpots in religion. Many start out with a common theme: God created us. It’s a good beginning. But then they jump ahead to crazy notions:

God only loves us.

God wants us only concerned with worship.

God wants us to preach vigorously against sin.

God wants us to keep heaven on our mind.

God wants us to fight for Him.

They leave out the middle steps which justify our faith. For instance:

God created us all—and then here comes life.

You see? There’s a lot of living before we get about the business of dying. There’s a lot of living that needs to be done in peace and joy before we stand face-to-face in an afterlife of eternal glow.

The same thing is true in politics:

Our country needs to have its problems solved, says the politician. Well, it would be difficult to disagree with that. What makes these politicians crackpots is that they skip plans, responsibilities, taxes and timelines—and they jump straight ahead to attack their political enemies, blame other countries or try to load down great legislation with too many programs—and this brings everything to a screeching halt.

In business: “We are out to make a good product…” Then the crackpots of industry leap ahead to this statement: “…and more importantly, make a huge profit.”

Somewhere between the product and the profit there needs to be a happy consumer, a well-cared-for work force and balanced books.

A crackpot is someone who starts out with a good idea and skips all the work it takes to achieve solvency, assuming that the reward should be enjoyed right here and right now. 

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Console

Console: (v) to comfort someone at a time of grief or disappointment

When I saw the word “console,” I thought about becoming reflective, gentle and sharing some anecdote about a time in my life when someone comforted me, or perhaps I was able to bring solace to another.

But then I was struck by reality.

Even though I am a strong believer in consoling, too many times what we consider to be an action of consolation ends up being a cajole–or supporting an funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
asshole.

So shall we consider the three words?

  • Console
  • Cajole
  • Asshole.

What would be the difference among the three terms?

Console is what you do when people, from a good place in their heart, try to do something, and either due to bad fortune, poor execution, or maybe even a little stupidity, fall flat on their face and you lift them up and encourage them, saying that such a tumble is never a fatal fall.

Cajole is when you run across an individual who has ability but has decided not to pursue something on their own without being encouraged, pumped up and told how great they are before they will even flex one ounce of their ability.

And asshole is someone who’s become much too comfortable with a console or a cajole, and so manipulates life to make him or her receive all the attention by being a hold-out or a lazy so-and-so.

You’re probably asking yourself, how can you tell the difference? Truth is, you won’t be able to do so unless you’ve tapped your soul, repented of your need for the cajole and any instinct to be an asshole–and allow your spirit to show you the ones who light up when they receive words of edification… and rise to their feet to try again.

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Confederacy

Confederacy: (n) the Confederate states

As I sit quietly, my mind sometimes conjures the memory of something really dumb I have done. I am most comfortable when that piece of idiocy is well in my past.

But it is important, when that nasty memory comes to the forefront, that I own it, regret it and establish how ridiculous it was and how it mustfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
never be done again.

It’s part of being human.

Rationalizing all of our activities and granting them license immediately turns us into assholes.

Assholes, in this instance, are people who think they do not have elements in their past that need to be remembered with shame.

There was a time in this great nation when we denied our creed of the equality of all mankind and decided it was all right to own people as long as their skin was black. So intensely were we deceived that we were willing to go to the battlefield, bleed and die as feuding brothers.

A Confederacy challenged our Union.

It was shameful–a frightening part of our past.Yet it is a chapter of the book we call America.

We have two responsibilities:

  1. Don’t deny it happened
  2. Offer the necessary regret and shame required to eradicate it from happening again by eliminating all the prejudice that brought about such foolishness.

 

 

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Clincher

Clincher: (n) a fact, argument, or event that settles a matter conclusively.

I often tell audiences that the best way to refrain from being an asshole and judging other folks is to maintain a profile of realization.

And here’s the realization: when you discover that people are unable to own up to mistakes and make a clean breast of an unfortunate event,
you can quietly walk away so as to not be around when they blow up.

It’s a clincher.

Although some people extol the beauty of morality and others pride themselves on pursuing perfection, those who possess great Earthly wisdom comprehend that failure is imminent and is only survived through repentance.

I don’t argue with people about this. Some travelers think it’s their job to convince others of the error of their ways. Yet there are enough pitfalls, stumbling blocks and quicksand available in the jungle that it is completely unnecessary for me to cut the legs out from under a friend or enemy.

It’s a clincher.

Wait and see what happens when someone falls short of the mark. What do they do? If they choose to rationalize, blame others or try to explain in painful detail why it is not exactly their fault, then you should give them an anemic smile.

Back your way out of the room and get away from the destruction that will soon be their life.

 

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Clerk

Clerk: (n) a person employed to take care of routine activities

I am not completely ignorant.

I do understand that rules are necessary. Without established guidelines, we have many people trying to dictate on the fly, ending up with restrictions which are much more nasty than if they had been thought of before the project began.

But I have just never wanted to be a clerk.

I’m talking about the kind of people who are thrilled there are rules so they can stand with a stony face, reciting them to you as you try to argue, and they sport a
slight smirk over the control they have achieved.

It happens every day.

Some people are destined to be clerks. They learn the routine and find satisfaction in their lives–sensations of importance–by using the regulations to dash the hopes of those who might walk just a little bit different path.

They quote.

It doesn’t matter if they’re using Shakespeare, the Bible or the company manual–they can give you the exact wording to reinforce their decision to treat you like shit.

Every function in life, every job and every position needs to be tempered by common sense and mercy.

Even the Good Book itself started off with Ten Commandments, shrank to four during the Sermon on the Mount, two later on, and finally ended up with one commandment: love your neighbor as yourself.

For after all, if you do that one, you’re doing the other ten.

When you remove common sense and mercy from your dealings with human beings, you become the catalyst for an unnecessary argument, which can lead to a war.

I don’t want to be a clerk. It’s probably why that position is never offered to me.

Some Big Boss Billy looks me in the eyes and thinks to himself, “I can’t trust that one to be an asshole.”

 

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Civil Disobedience

Civil disobedience: (n) peaceful form of political protest.

I often wonder if there’s any truth to the notion that to keep from being an asshole, you sometimes have to be one.

It would be terrific if I could voice my opinion and be heard. But normally, by the time the question arrives on my doorstep, someone’s
already passed a law or determined the answer. They’re just asking my opinion to pad the poll.

Yet I must tell you–sometimes there are things that are so important that we need to stray from the broad path and stumble down the “strait and narrow.”

We may disagree on what the subject matters may be, but they never have anything to do with human morality. By the time I discover what is moral, the opportunity to do anything about it is usually far past, and I am standing on the sidelines, insulting others through my judgments.

Powerful issues always revolve around one central theme: Since God gave humans free will, are you going to take it away? Are you going to infringe upon it? Perhaps put a time limit on it, or the need to buy a license?

Civil disobedience is a decision to stand up for free will.

There are occasions when it makes you very popular–and then there are moments when you’re accused of being damned.

But here’s the truth of the matter: No one is better than anyone else.

I have no right whatsoever to edit that reality.

There should never be a controversy over race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or preferences in music.

But since there is, sometimes we will be compelled to stand up for the rights of humans to be what God intended them to be … human.

 

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Censure

Censure: (n) the expression of formal disapproval.

Why is it not illegal to be an asshole?

I’m not speaking about capital punishment or even hard jail time. But certainly a stiff fine would be in order for being such a damn stiff.

We censure everything else. We raise our eyebrows in disapproval over a myriad of common human behaviors. Why is the asshole able to flee the jurisdiction of decency?

Wait. I see your problem. You would like me to define what an asshole is:

  1. An asshole is someone who tries to steal freedoms from other people simply because those folks don’t measure up to the favored code.
  2. An asshole is a person who hurts someone’s feelings and then pretends that it was nothing personal.
  3. An asshole is an individual who blows his or her horn in traffic instead of slowing up just a little bit, to let someone enter.
  4. An asshole is a Bible-thumper who quotes scriptures in a buffet line.
  5. An asshole is a jerk who posts articles on Facebook about other assholes

Honestly, I could go on and on, but then I would be in danger of becoming an asshole myself.

It is time to use the intimidation of censure to achieve some goodness in our society instead of thinking that goodness is achieved by censuring any fresh, new idea.

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