Clamber

Clamber: (v) to climb, move, or get in or out of something in an awkward and laborious way, typically using both hands and feet

It’s difficult to know whether we are judged by what we’re able to achieve, or how well we overcame the obstacles that attempt to forbid
achievement.

Yes, you could discuss that one for hours.

It reminds me of the time I took my children to an amusement park. I was still a very young man, but very fat. This created an immediate perplexity. Because I was young, I envisioned things I could do, often not taking into consideration the extra baggage I was bringing along.

Another example:

We went out on a boat trip. They had a little, thin gangplank to get on the boat, which I was grateful to have negotiated. So I assumed that when we returned there would be some sort of similar passageway from the front of the boat onto the dock again.

There wasn’t.

They eased the boat toward the landing, leaving a gap of about three feet between the boat and the safety of the dock. Well, other folks gave it a little bit of a running start, leaped into the air and came down safely onto the pier.

I kept inching my way behind people, letting them go first. I guess I was hoping that I would have a few minutes at the end, to figure out what to do, but failed to realize that all the people stayed on the dock and were going to watch my grand leap.

I tried to make that running start, to clamber with my entire obese body, legs and arms in the air, and land safely.

Just when I got to the end of the boat, my brain said, “Are you crazy?”

An immediate order was given at Mind Central: STOP!!

I nearly tumbled into the water but was able to step back. Then I tried to reach one leg across, and was able to get my foot onto the surface, but I was spread too far to get any pressure on the leg to push me over.

By this time I had secured an audience.

People began to make suggestions. My children were trying to hide and my wife was already being comforted by strangers.

At this point, I decided it was impossible. The ordeal went for ten minutes. The combination of fear, practicality and my limitations was turning me into a sea-lovin’ man.

Finally the captain took a rope and hooked it around some sort of turret and pulled the whole boat a bit closer–with just his sheer brute force. This received applause from those standing by. Even more humiliation.

I still was not able to find a “clambering” approach to leaving the boat. So three guys reached down, grabbed me under my arms and on the count of three, hoisted me up on the dock.

I attempted to land with some authority, stomping my feet a couple of times so the people around me would be aware that I had muscular ability, then quickly grabbed my family and disappeared into the crowd, heading for the refreshment stand.

After all, I was hungry from all the exertion.

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Chuckle

Chuckle: (n) a quiet or suppressed laugh

He drove me crazy (even though that would not require many miles of journey.)

He was a theater critic who came out to watch my show, and even though I settled my inner being by insisting that I would not glance his
way, my left eyeball seemed to deny the commitment and wander over to view his reaction.

I was hilarious–at least as hilarious as I ever get.

I was on–which is merely the opposite of off.

The audience was with me–though you’re never quite sure how much of it is sympathy.

He just sat there. He didn’t smirk. It was like someone had bet him that he could remain emotionless during the entire affair.

I had never met him before, but I hated him. Not with a ferocious anger, sprouting a rage of violence–just a normal, temporary, human hatred, which could be assuaged merely by the introduction of a simple compliment.

After the show he came backstage to see me. I was surprised. I thought the next thing I would receive from this fellow would be his review, in which he used as many synonyms for “mediocre” as possible.

But turns out he thought I was hilarious.

I had to ask him, “Did you ever laugh?”

He frowned at me as if concerned about how much I might have hurt myself falling off the turnip truck.

“You don’t have to laugh out loud to chuckle inside,” he explained. “I am an internal chuckler, who simultaneously admires the material that amuses me.”

I stared at him, but decided not to pursue the conversation, since at this point, the outcome was in my favor.

But as I considered his insight, I realized that I often watched things on television or at the movies, and would tell people how funny they were–yet I wasn’t really sure my face exuded anything other than a death growl.

All I can say is, you can feel free to chuckle, even if it’s done inside your closet of appreciation.

But thank God–oh, thank God–for those who spill and spew their laughter.

 

 

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Charisma

Charisma: (n) compelling attractiveness or charm

I just finished a performance.

I don’t think the audience liked me.

The money was bad; the response was tepid and nobody was particularly interested in purchasing my books.

So I asked myself, what did I do wrong?

Always our first inclination. Where is my fault in the matter? It is an agonizing process, but without it, vanity can make us intolerable.

You know what the truth of the matter is? The people who sat and listened may have been with their moms and dads years and years ago and heard one of the parents comment or joke about a heavy-set man walking by, portraying that he was less than acceptable.

Maybe that person just never forgot that little drama. Maybe he or she found themselves trapped in a response that was not his or her own, but so ingrained that it popped out without permission.

Charisma is such a wicked maze of misunderstanding.

For after all, one man’s “beautiful” is another man’s “plain.” And one woman’s “gentle” is another woman’s “boring.”

So what’s the best we can do?

Find our gift, work on our gift, share our gift in good cheer.

For lo and behold, anybody who would benefit from knowing us will certainly find us.

 

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Celebrity

Celebrity: (n) a famous person.

I remember the first time it happened.

I was sharing at a book conference about my latest release, and the announcer, in an attempt to beef up my credentials, told the splatter of
humans attending that I was “a celebrity.”

His exact wording was, “We are so pleased to have our next guest, who has achieved celebrity status.”

The oddness of his phrasing was further punctuated by a pitiful smattering of applause.

The introduction bothered me.

Since we live in a social structure which insists on honoring a social structure, ranging from famous people all the way down to “nobodies,” it seems difficult to breathe in a sense of self-esteem unless we are constantly touting our self-worth.

After all, we don’t want fifteen minutes of fame because we desire to be famous. Rather, we want to make sure we don’t end up being the guy or gal who never got it.

So at the end of my little lecture that morning, I opened the floor to questions, and a young boy about nine years of age raised his hand. I have learned over the years that allowing such a lad to offer a question can open the door to, “Does anybody really like your book?” or “How’d you get so fat?”

But I took the risk, acknowledged the kid, let him take the microphone and offer his inquiry. He was a pretty nice little guy. The only thing he wanted to know was, “Are you really famous? Because if you are, I want your autograph.”

There was a giggle in the room. I don’t know if they were giggling because he was so cute, or wondering why in the hell somebody would want my autograph.

So I asked my young friend, “Have you ever heard of me before?”

He frowned and shook his head.

I laughed and said, “Well, then I guess I’m not famous. I guess, like everybody else, I’m just a celebrity in my own mind.”

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Cab

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Cab: (n)  short for taxicab.

Even though we contend that honesty is the best policy, sometimes the dividends are questionable.

Often I will admit my weakness or even ignorance in an attempt to create empathy with an audience–only to have someone come up to me afterwards, shaking their head and saying, “You really feel that way?”

So with that in mind, with some trepidation, I offer the confession that I have only been in a taxicab four times.

I don’t live in New York City.

I have never been without some sort of vehicle for my own personal use.

So the idea of climbing into the back of a car and telling a driver where to take me, as a meter continues to remind me of how much I’m going to have to pay for the opportunity, is a little unnerving.

I also have this flaw of wanting to converse with everyone I meet. During my taxi drives, this became problematic. All four of my drivers were apparently advocates of maintaining their language of birth instead of pursuing the local dialect. So they did talk to me, and I tried to catch a word here or there, but I am sure I nodded my head at the wrong places and remained silent during awkward intervals.

I also remember that I was always surprised at how much it cost. Matter of fact, when I watch a TV show based in New York City and see them taking all those cabs, I always wonder how they can afford it–unless they don’t have an apartment and sleep in a box somewhere near a subway grate.

So it is difficult for me to talk about cabs.

Does it help that I like the game show where the driver asks the passengers questions– Cash Cab?

Pretty lame, huh?

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Budge

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Budge: (v) to move slightly

I am an oxymoron.

For I will tell you of a certainty, I am a domesticated gypsy.

Or a gypsy, domesticated.

Half of my journey has been raising a family of fine sons, who now hDictionary Bave lives of their own.

But intermingled was a series of travels to share my art and heart with hundreds of thousands of people across the United States of America.

It was a precariously divine mission, one which I had to spark up in my soul daily, to guarantee enough pistons in the engine to propel me forward.

So I was often amused when I finished my show, which included music, humor and dialogue, and the sponsor nervously came to my side, twitching and relieved, and said, “It sure seems like everybody enjoyed it.”

I do think this individual usually believed if he or she had shared some problem or preference that the audience expressed, that I would leap at the opportunity to amend my approach or add a different angle to my presentation.

Here’s the truth–and you’ll just have to believe that it’s the truth since you’re not that familiar with my soul.

You can change your cologne but not your face.

What I mean by that is, if somebody wants you to smell different, it’s really no big deal.

But when somebody wants to change your look–or your outlook–they’ve landed on sacred ground.

I’m always willing to change things that don’t matter, but I won’t budge if I believe they have eternal consequences.

 

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Bozo

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Bozo: (n) a stupid, rude, or insignificant person, especially a man

I’m not certain of this little piece of information, but since it’s on the Internet, who in the hell cares?

But I do believe that the original “Bozo the Clown” was produced and filmed in Chicago, Illinois. The reason I’m not certain is because during my growing up years, we didn’t have Bozo. In Columbus, Ohio, we had a character named Flippo.

Yes. “Flippo the Clown.”

Originally, the gentleman hired to play this part was given an inexpensive black tunic with white cotton balls sewn on it, and a silly flock of hair with cheap dime store makeup. He was commissioned to be the instigator of foolishness for children as he introduced favored cartoons and giddy newsreels.Dictionary B

But our clown, Flippo, had a much broader vision for his role. Rumor had it that he favored certain beverages before filming the kiddie show, and the more he imbibed in these intoxicants, the looser he became before the cameras, often throwing in adult references which clearly surpassed the scope of the understanding of the average child, only to be appreciated by mature ears.

He was very popular. He was also highly criticized by Ohio mothers who felt that he was not always appropriate for younger ones.

Flippo didn’t care. He made a multitude of appearances in small-town venues all across the landscape, always drawing a respectable crowd of followers and even a few female fans. Some of these clown admirers found themselves invited to Flippo’s changing room, where certain scandals began to trickle out to the public.

I’m not exactly sure what finally happened to Flippo, but about the time that people in Chicago discovered that Bozo…was, the audience that was watching Flippo suddenly flipped. 

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