Cubicle

Cubicle: (n) a small space or compartment partitioned off.

 Being twenty-nine years old, my attitude was a mixture of intolerance, gratitude, arrogance, confusion and overly pumped.

Arriving at the small college that had ridiculously allowed me to come in and teach a couple of courses,

I was introduced to everyone in the office—and given a cubicle.

I have never been a great fan of cubicles because I, for one, find it a little difficult to concentrate on what I’m doing when I’m hearing the whispering voices of people around me who are trying to be sensitive to everyone else in the room because we’re all stuffed together like bargain-brand sausage.

I didn’t like my cubicle.

It wasn’t just small—it was forbidding. It offered just enough space for my things, without me, or me without my things.

I could not land on a compromise.

One day, during my break from being uncomfortable, I walked around the hallways and found a door that read, “Storage.” I opened it. It smelled like dirty socks. But there was only an old Coke machine and three broken chairs in it, and the good news—it was at least five times bigger than my cubicle.

So I launched my plan…in stages:

  1. “That storage closet down there really smells bad. Can I help by cleaning it out?” (No one objected.)
  2. “Would anybody mind if I swept and mopped that storage closet?” (There were a couple of people who were curious about what I was up to but didn’t say anything for fear that I might ask for volunteers.)

After mopping, I put a desk inside which I had found in another storage room.

  1. “Turns out I found an old desk that I put in that storage room. Would anybody mind if I worked in there? Even though it does smell like gym shorts on their second week…” (A whole room full of grimaces from the cubicles. No one was interested in sniffing the shorts.)

I brought in some things from home, and in no time at all, I had a little office. Would you believe, it was two weeks before anyone stopped in to see what I had done. It was the dean. He poked his nose in, looked around, then glanced at me, and said:

“Nice work. Good office.”

One by one, my cubicle prisoners came down and eyed my pavilion. They were jealous, yet at the same time, realized they probably would not have done the same thing.

So the lesson is, if you find yourself stuck in a cubicle and you’re not happy, walk down the hall until you smell something you can work with.

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Crow

Crow: (n) a large black bird

There are two ways to get old:

  1. You can get old gracefully, trying to stay current with as much of life that is worth your attention
  2. Or you can get old being exasperated with all changes—minor or major—and end up looking like a crank.

There is one thing for sure:

No one talks about crows anymore.

Not since the movie, “The Crow,” which came out so long ago that a quizzical look from anyone under the age of thirty-five would be expected.

They don’t use scarecrows anymore to literally scare away crows from eating the corn seed.

You certainly know you’re over the hill if you’re referring to “crow’s feet” at the corners of your eyes. Wrinkles that rankle.

I guess they still call it a crowbar, though nowadays people expect their vehicles to be self-healing (and that includes their tires).

And they certainly aren’t pulling many nails out of boards with the old crowbar.

There is one phrase in reference to the crow that I always found endearing, and if it’s part of a bygone era, I might want to pause for a moment to drop a single tear, and that is:

As the crow flies.

Long before America was urban, people judged the miles between one place and another in two ways. One was if you were going by the roads, and the other was if you happened to be a bird and could fly from “this spot here” to “that spot over there.”

It was the way the old timers exporessed their complaints about modern roads, and wished they were birds, taking a more direct path, taking less time and mileage.

“As the crow flies, it’s five miles, but if you go on Route 73 it’ll be twelve.”

This was usually followed by some sort of farmer’s giggle.

But what makes it unfortunate that this phrase has disappeared, or at least lost some of its charm, is that we as people were meant to approach our doings—our problems, situations and activities— “as the crow flies.”

Rather than building difficult paths toward solutions or arguing for hours over the most righteous system, we should gain the eye of the crow, who looks straight to where it’s going and flies above the interference.

I would love to live life as the crow flies.

To do so, I need to ask my attitude to grant me some altitude.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Corrigible

Corrigible: (adj) capable of being corrected or reformed:

During a Q & A one night, when the audience had stopped having much interest in seeking any additional inquiries, the host who was conducting the interview with me, asked, off the top of her head, “If you could isolate one thing a person could do to make their life better, funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
what would it be?”

Before I got a chance to answer, comments suddenly arose from the audience, who moments earlier had looked ready to head for their cars.

Someone jokingly piped up and said, “Money!”

This prompted another to offer the word “beauty.”

It became almost like a list of the three wishes you might select if you rubbed the lamp and a genie appeared.

But when somebody intoned the word, “power,” the whole audience groaned in approval.

I turned to the person who made the suggestion and asked, “What kind of power? And how would you get it?”

He was a little surprised that I singled him out, because he was just trying to participate, or maybe just be funny. But it did draw attention back my way, and everyone seemed a little interested at what my response would be.

I replied, “If I could start over again and have one virtue that was sustainable throughout my life, it would be the ability to be corrected without copping an attitude, becoming defensive or making excuses. I would choose to be a corrigible human instead of considered an incorrigible brat.”

My answer was not quite as popular as “power.”

Yet I still contend today that anyone who can stand to be wrong, hear it and set in motion a plan to change it, immediately has beauty, will soon have power, and the money will follow.


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Cajun

Cajun: (n) descendants of French Canadians dwelling mostly in Southern Louisiana

I try. I really do.

Being a congenial type, I always attempt to blend in and be open-minded, if not compliant.

Living in Louisiana for three years, it was assumed that I would eventually develop a taste for Cajun food. At the root of most Cajun food is
crawfish.

They love it.

A crawfish looks about the size of a newborn lobster. It’s bug-like. It doesn’t have much meat in its claws or its body, so much work has to be done to acquire nibbles.

The natives tell you that the best part of the crawfish is acquired by sucking out the insides of the head. As appealing as that may sound, it took me many months to garner the courage. When I did work up the nerve to suck the contents of the brainpower of the average crawfish, I was surprised at how much it tasted like salty snot.

I smiled, wanting to be a local advocate of cultural affairs. But after a while, I had to let my stomach and my conscience come clean. The food was too hot, it was too much work and it was filled with so much rice that I walked around for the next few hours like I was recovering from an LSD trip.

Cajun comes with food, accent, music … and attitude.

I never developed an appreciation for any of it.

 

 

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Bravado

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Bravado: (n) a show of boldness intended to impress

After some consideration, using the intelligence I have available, I’ve decided that the word “bravado” really has no context unless modified by the adjective “false.”Dictionary B

Although I believe a certain amount of confidence is necessary to pursue our activities, it must always be saturated in the humility of knowing that the possibility of error is looming.

Bravado is the sensation that by simply bullying the available space around us with our superiority and all-knowing attitude, we gain the attention that will grant us the opportunity to dominate.

But just as in the cartoon, the little fish swallows the guppy and is then eaten by the bigger fish, who goes along for a second or two, and then is consumed by a yet larger member of the watery world, only to have him ultimately swallowed by the whale–such is the destiny of all bravado.

We may screech and scream our prowess–only to be overtaken by one who is more adept at screeching and screaming.

What is the correct profile to maintain an efficient amount of self-esteem?

  1. Find what you can do
  2. Practice it until you can do it in the dark
  3. Look for your opportunity to do it
  4. Be extremely grateful for any appreciation and praise you receive.

In my opinion, this is the definition, full extent and boundary which keeps bravado from becoming … totally obnoxious.

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Border

Border: (n) the edge or boundary of something

Is the purpose of a border to separate us from the people we hate?Dictionary B

Or maybe we don’t hate them–maybe we have convinced ourselves that they’re just so “different” that they need to be on the other side of something.

And then if that line doesn’t work, we can place guards to protect our border from aliens invading us.

But what if the guards aren’t efficient enough? We’ll need some sort of fence. After all, you know the old saying: “Good fences make good neighbors.”

But what if the more athletic adversaries learn how to jump our fences? We will certainly need a wall.

But God knows they are industrious enough in their thinking to fly airplanes over our walls and land on our turf. So we will certainly need to stop them at the airports and determine whether they are one of us, look like one of us, and will fit in with the rest of us.

This is going to take a tremendous staff of well-trained individuals who are able to identify the non-us.

And how limited should we make that vision?

Should it be based upon personality, color, attitude?

And we certainly can’t forget religion. We don’t want infidels coming in to infiltrate our spiritual utopia.

It seems that in no time at all we will need more people keeping other people out in order for us to enjoy being who we are.

And then comes the final fear:

What if the people already here are just very good at hiding their predilections of being foreigners?

 

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Blithe

Blithe: (adj) showing a casual and cheerful indifference

  • Dictionary BWhen does a smile become a smirk?
  • When does it transform itself into a sneer?
  • And when is a sneer considered to be snide?

Even though it’s easy to misinterpret body language, it is nearly impossible to ignore it.

Do we have a responsibility to make sure that the attitude which precedes our persona is sending off the right signals?

And what does it mean to be blithe?

In my mind’s eye, there are many ideas which are promoted as “positive thinking” which become annoying when they’re offered at the wrong moment.

I’m tired of having people tell me they’re going to pray for me instead of spending thirty more seconds allowing me to share my heart.

I am weary of those who callously toss off the phrase, “It’s all good.”

I find it annoying to be around people who become frustrated if they can’t find their keys, but want to address my health diagnosis by informing me that “God is in control.”

If infuriates me to see pseudo-intellectuals become enraged with bigotry while refusing to lift one finger to personally assist the afflicted.

A blithe spirit comes from a self-righteous heart.

It is the childish representation that “life is going to get better”–just because we say so.

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