Crochet

Crochet: (n) needlework done with a needle with a large hook at one end.

I know nothing about crochet.

Yet this, by the way, does not discourage my need to espouse.

I have never crocheted. I don’t think I’ve even seen someone crochet, though they could have been doing it incognito—because since I don’t know what it is, it could be done before my very eyes and fool me for sure.

But I do recall that I had a great-aunt who decided to crochet me a sweater, since I was so overweight that it was difficult to buy them in stores. (As you can see, the premise for the gift was already somewhat flawed.)

So she set out to do this sweater for me—and then, six months later it arrived in the mail.

It was huge, and the color of straw.

In other words, it wasn’t yellow, it wasn’t brown, and you couldn’t even call it brownish-yellow or yellowish-brown. Although it was brand new, the flatness of the color made it look like it had been worn for many generations. And even though it was very large, when I put it on it felt funny. It was like one shoulder was crocheted shorter than the other, and the left-arm length was about three inches too long. It also had no buttons—you know, in the front, so you could join it and turn it into a sweater instead of a human horse blanket.

But it was warm, and it was the first piece of clothing that had come my way for a while (since in my era there was no such thing as “big men’s shops.”)

I decided to wear it.

My friends tried to be nice, but finally, when the class clown walked in, unaware that everyone was attempting to be sensitive about my misshapen garment, he just burst into laughter, which caused everyone else to feel free to mock at will.

You would think that this would have cured me from wearing my crocheted sweater—but because it was mine, and warm, and because I refused to be intimidated by the foolish fashionistas, I ended up donning it quite frequently.

Matter of fact, I kept it for two years, which is quite remarkable for an adolescent.

I wore it until one day, in study hall, I was suffering from a severe head cold. I had no Kleenex and feared that my entire brain was ready to run out of my nose and into my mouth. I reached up with my sweater and ran it across my nose, trying to sop up unwelcomed mucous.

You can tell by my description of the event that my wheaty-colored sweater could not be worn again.

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Cousin

Cousin: (n) a child of one’s uncle or aunt.

Family setups and things like lineage always confuse the hell out of me.

After mother, father, sister and brother, it all gets a little blurry.

It begins with aunts and uncles. And then, when we start talking about “aunt on your mother’s side” or “uncle on your father’s side,” honest to God, I need to take out paper and pencil and draw a map.

Or should it be a graph? Because then, the children of those aunts and uncles become my cousins.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

So in a weird way, I am kind of related to them, which makes it very strange that when I was a child, over summer vacation, we often played doctor.

That means I was touching family members—experimenting and discovering my sexuality—with people who would be my brothers and sisters if they weren’t separated by one other person.

I’m not even going to talk about second cousins. I honestly don’t even know what that is. I never admit I don’t know, because there is always someone ready to explain it, and then I must pretend to comprehend so as to get him or her to shut up.

I must stop and think about these family arrangements because they don’t come naturally to me.

Maybe they’re not supposed to.

Perhaps the hippie philosophy is the best one for us as human beings. You know—where we’re all brothers and sisters.

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Chair

Chair: (n) separate seat for one person

I was five years old the first time someone referred to me as “fat.” It came off the lips of Aunt Pruney-Face Fussypants. (I don’t recall her real
name so I’m working off stage directions.)

She whispered to my mother, “Don’t let him sit in that chair. He’s too fat. He might break it.”

I don’t know if I was stunned, mystified, humiliated or defiant, but I went over and sat down in the chair anyway–just to prove that it would embrace me from the bottom up.

It held its ground.

Yet over the years, certain chairs have gone “snap, crackle and pop” when introduced to my backside. So I hbave developed the mystical ability to peer at a piece of furniture, determining its width and sturdiness. I avoid bargain-basement furniture, realizing that it’s only suited for an anorexic market.

Chairs are problematic when you’re large.

Large is problematic because you’re always looking for a chair.

Aye–there’s the rub.

So even though I have encountered tens of thousands of seating units on my journey, many had to be rejected by my prejudice toward their outward appearance.

 

 

 

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Buster

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Buster: (n) a mildly disrespectful or humorous form of address, especially to a man or boy.

Beware of an aunt who doesn’t have children of her own, and insists that she “really loves kids,” who comes to visit and in no time at all is so irritated that she starts referring to you as “buster.”

I had one.

I will not mention her name out of deference to her feelings, even though she has since passed away. We always have hope for people when they go to a proposed afterlife. For my aunt, my hope is that it is an adult-living condominium with no children allowed.

I will have to admit to you–she tried. Each time she arrived at our home, she came with a fresh, energetic approach, to relate to us kids as human beings.

She always brought books instead of toys. And these were books that were at least five years too old for us. There were no pictures, and she would always take at least ten minutes explaining the history, background and mission of the author.

She would also bring a casserole with her, ablaze with color and all kinds of ingredients, but for some reason, the taste and texture of it always reminded me of asparagus snot. (Now, I don’t personally know what asparagus snot is, but I thought it was a very descriptive way to relate my feelings about the dish.) More annoying, she stood over me and waited for me to taste it before I got the chance to scrape it into the trash can or slide it under the table for my hapless dog to slurp.

Also, this particular aunt was always on the verge of tears. Now, it didn’t take much. One day I was yelling at my little brother because he wouldn’t help me with the trash cans, and she came over to hug him in the most exorbitant way, looking up at me as she did, scolding me for failing to be sensitive to one of God’s precious creatures.

Interestingly though, it didn’t seem to bother her that when she talked to me, she was always suggesting that I lose weight, tuck in my shirt, or, on several occasions, remarking on how bad my breath was. I guess you had to be a little kid to be one of God’s creatures.

My aunt was a woman who married once, got a divorce, never had children–but was sure she would have been the best mother in the world.

Whenever I was out of line, she looked at me with her fiery eyes and said, “Buster, you should be glad I’m not your mother!”

She was right.

I was.

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Banshee

Banshee: (n) in Irish legend, a female spirit whose wailing warns of an impending death in a house.Dictionary B

Although I am often surprised by Webster’s true definition of a word, this particular rendition really took my breath away.

It’s because when I was a child, I had an aunt who screamed at the children running in a room, telling us to settle down and stop acting like a “bunch of wild banshees.”

I did not know what a banshee was, nor did I care to ask her to explain. I just assumed that banshees were children who were having fun, which for some reason or another, drove this old lady crazy.

  • I knew “banshee” was not good.
  • I knew it was an insult.
  • Just like I privately knew, in my young spirit, that when my aunt used the words hillbilly, worthless slut, wetback and nigger, that she probably wasn’t being complimentary.

So in a sense, banshee became associated to me with the word nigger. In other words, I knew it was bad and I knew I didn’t want to be one, since it made my aunt so pissed off.

Oh, yes, did I fail to mention? She thought that the black people in America–the niggers–were just as uncontrolled as we banshees.

So I grew up a confused young man who was offered a lexicon of terms, which if I accidentally used in public, my parents–and aunt–would quickly silence me, expressing their displeasure over my timing.

I was a child of Middle America, instructed in “public talk” and “private talk” … cautioned to never mix the two.

 

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Aunt

Aunt: (n) the sister of one’s father or mother or the wife of one’s uncle.

dictionary with letter AThe value of one’s relationship with an aunt is based upon the quality of the memories they have with your mother and father.

I wish I would have known that.

I had some pretty pukey aunts.They would not agree with that, I’m sure, but since they’re dead, I will risk offending their consciousness.

They were picky, they were self-righteous or they were completely disengaged.

I took it personally.

Being a kid, I tried to please them because I heard rumors at school about kids who had great aunts. Matter of fact, the abiding notion was that aunts were nicer than parents, or even grandparents, because they had so little invested in the future of the prodigy.

But my aunts were toads–and I don’t mean good toads. They just kind of sat there and peered at me, waiting for me to be either too loud or unmannerly.

Now that I’m older, I realize that these aunts didn’t have anything against me–they just didn’t like my mom and dad. So they decided to take it out on me.

After all, I was the swill that came from their bog.

I was the offspring of these people who the aunts had found fault with for years, had developed grudges against, and now persisted into the next generation.

I didn’t know this at the time. I thought I was perniciously ugly, fatally stupid or satanically infested.

It’s a good idea, if you happen to be an aunt and you’re pissed off at your sister or brother, to try to work that out with them and not pass the anger onto the kids.

Because in the long run, a good aunt is a treasure.

But a bad aunt would be better off living on the moon.

 

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Anti-climax

dictionary with letter A

 

Anti-climax: (n) a disappointing end to an impressive, exciting series of events

I have giggled my way through many a drama class and theatrical discussion as people have tossed the word “climax” in the mix, forgetting that it is a double entendre. If it weren’t for the word “orgasm,” I would not be able to pursue creative adventures without constantly chortling like a schoolboy.

That said, I will tell you that the actual definition of anti-climax gives you the source of the despondency and lack of faith that has begun to creep into our social structure.

I have never thought agnosticism to be a vice, but rather, an obvious pouting which occurs from disappointed dreamers. Let’s just look at the things in our society which are anti-climactic:

1. Our election of public officials.

We spend so much money electing officials and then basically end up with what we started with–except those elected become arrogant because they won.

2. Sports.

I don’t want to be the old guy walking around hiking up my pants, talking about “how good it used to be.” But we certainly have lost the ability to field teams which have consistency, humility and the capacity to evolve instead of merely seeking out a new sneaker deal.

3. Church.

It has now become like some great-aunt who is constantly complaining because “you don’t call or write.”

Rather than offering a dynamic platform for lifestyle and vision, it heaps tons of guilt onto people who are ill-prepared to deal with their inadequacies.

4. Sex.

Speaking of climax, we seem to have gone back to an era of sexual embarrassment, wherein we promote the struggle between men and women instead of the pleasure that can be derived by enjoying each other’s company.

5. Music.

Songs are being recorded and performed, with staging and production becoming much more important than message and heart. I have nothing against adding dancers to a song, but when I find myself discussing the choreography instead of the musicology, I think we may have gone a little too far.

Honestly I could go on all day and by the end of that time you would hate me for being such a nudge.

I think the key to avoiding anti-climax is what every young man eventually learns if he’s going to function in the world of romance:

Don’t make too many promises, show up eager, learn from the experience, and get better.

 

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