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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Box

Box: (n) a container with a flat base and sides, typically square or rectangular

There are several phrases I do not like.Dictionary B

Actually I despise them so much that I scold myself when I use them.

  • “You’re stupid.”
  • “I hate you.”
  • “You don’t get it.”
  • “You’re a foolish asshole.”

Well, I could go on.

But one of my least favorite–a thought that makes my skin crawl–is when people turn to me and say, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.”

I know they’re really not interested.

I know they’ve sized me up and they’re trying to figure out what box they want to put me in.

They want things simple.So they have a system of storing people away so that their decisions are neat, tidy and final. If you don’t fit into one of their boxes they will decide that you’re a misfit or a rebellious anarchist.

They’re listening for buzz words.

About ten years ago, someone asked me about my occupation. I explained that I was a writer but also a performer. So they said, “Are you a teacher? A storyteller? A philosopher? Or an entertainer?”

Then they smiled, waiting for me to climb into their box.

My response was, “Well, really all of those and more.”

This was displeasing to them. They shook their head and walked away.

Mankind is ready to build a box for you.

They will encourage you, praise you, instruct you, guide you and applaud you until you get inside one of their pre-prepared cartons.

And once you do … you will never be heard of again.

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Bought

Bought: (v) obtained in exchange for payment

181 miles.Dictionary B

It’s how far I drove to regain my sanity.

A gentleman I met in Dothan, Alabama, who had a reel-to-reel tape recorder (back in the time when such contraptions were ‘reel’ important) offered to sell me his wonderful machine for $150.

I didn’t have 150 anything.

But because he trusted me, he let me take it, asking that I commit to send him five dollars a week via the mail. I was moved by his generosity and openness, and immediately agreed to the terms.

I was faithful for ten weeks. I paid $50 on the tape recorder debt with integrity and sensitivity to the calendar.

Then I just pooped out.

Sometimes I convinced myself I did not have the $5 to send. Other times it was the inconvenience of trying to find a stamp.

I avoided his calls and stayed away from Dothan, Alabama.

One night a gentleman, in an act of extreme benevolence, gave me a hundred-dollar bill. I started thinking about all the ways I wanted to spend that money.

Then it occurred to me that I was in Alabama–181 miles away from the gentleman who had afforded me the tape recorder, which I now used in assisting me to make my living.

I had a choice. After all, the tape recorder really wasn’t bought yet, was it? It was borrowed, and seemed to snarl at me every time I looked at it, whispering, “Dead beat.”

It was two o’clock in the morning.

I climbed in my car and drove 181 miles down to Dothan and was sitting outside the door of my friend’s house when he emerged after his breakfast to begin his day.

I handed him the hundred dollars and said, “I’m sorry. I was an asshole.”

He cried.

I cried, too.

It was time to cry.

 

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Black Hole

Black hole: (n) a place where people or things, especially money, disappear without trace

Dictionary B

For years, in moments of frustration, I succumbed to calling individuals around me who found my disfavor, “Asshole.”

I never felt good about it.

It was a rather sleazy term, with no real meaning. After all, the problem was certainly north of their posterior.

Yet it made me temporarily feel empowered and superior, so I gave in to the inclination.

But no more.

I have found the perfect insult for those around me who are oblivious to the needs of others and think they are driving on the highway of life in the carpool lane.

They are black holes.

When anything full of life, potential, mercy, goodness, gentleness or legitimate humor gets anywhere near them, they swallow it up into the darkness of their oblivion. They do not possess the ability to retain, but instead are bottomless cups, constantly needing refilling.

The danger is that our society might become so accepting of these “black holes” that we start believing it is human nature to be devoid of empathy.

That would be most unfortunate.

Because even in the carpool lane, it is required for you to have two people.

 

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