Crib Notes

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crib note: (n) a translation, list of correct answers, or other illicit aid used by students while reciting, taking exams, or the like

Perhaps two of the more frightening words in the English language are “spontaneous” and “improvisation.”

Working in the theatrical community over the years, I have discovered that certain actors, directors and even writers extol the value of being spontaneous or applaud the introduction of improvisation into the set. Let me explain that the only people who think that spontaneous thought or improvisational input is clever are those who are doing it.

Most of us realize that if we’re listening to someone and we know they are going “off the cuff” or using crib notes they’ve written on their shirt sleeve, or they’re referring to an index card palmed in their hand, it’s just goddam nerve-wracking.

You have to start rooting for them, hoping they don’t implode into meaningless babbling or nonsense.

The truth is, if you have something that you want to come off with a flair of impromptu, you should memorize it.


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Babble

Babble: (v) to talk rapidly and continuously in a foolish, excited, or incomprehensible way.Dictionary B

I have always pridefully considered myself to be a good communicator. Of course, I am the worst judge of such a determination.

It really would have to be evaluated by others around me who fall victim to hearing my explanations and discourse.

But setting aside my ego, I will tell you that no matter how well you think you speak, your words will become mere babble if you don’t take three things into consideration:

  1. Am I sharing something from my heart that I know the person I’m speaking with definitely disagrees with?

It is unlikely that you will convince folks to change their minds through debate or conversation. Normally it just cements their position.

People change their minds when they become convinced they are uncool if they don’t.

  1. Never talk as long as you want to.

If you’re telling a story and you think it will run about three minutes, then you desperately need to develop a one-minute version.

Taking people’s attention span to the limit of their toleration is the best way to ensure that they will not tolerate you very long.

  1. Learn the power of silence gaps.

If you find that you have just rattled off two or three minutes worth of conversation about yourself, insert a “breath mint” of silence. Allow people to understand that you comprehend the value of speech, but also appreciate the solitude of being mute or even of listening.

If you include those three things into your interaction with others, you will never be considered a “babbler” … or have folks secretly roll their eyes when you walk into the room.

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Anti-racism

dictionary with letter AAnti-racism: (n) the policy of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance.

It is cruel, insane and useless to walk up to a man having a heart attack, lying on a gurney and proffer, “You shouldn’t have eaten so much bacon.”

Warnings have to come at the right time, or they are either petty bitchiness or meaningless babble.

Anti-racism is similar to this. We all grew up in households where preferences were promoted. So it is ridiculous to think that we’re going to ease our way into a world where color doesn’t matter.

We must stop arresting the neighbors who live next door to the Bodega that was vandalized and start looking for the actual perpetrators.

What causes racism?

1. Too much emphasis on culture.

Matter of fact, I’m not comfortable with any emphasis on culture. When I begin to believe that the Chinese, the Africans, the Jews, the Arabs and the Europeans have different ways of looking at life, I am setting myself up to feel arrogant over my rendition.

2. Take away the stigma of loving who you want to love.

Even though we are willing to accept that the chimpanzee or ape is our ancestor, we are not able to procreate with one. Yet there is no human being of any color or ethnic origin who cannot pair off and make a baby. What a piece of hypocrisy.

Many people would be more willing to accept a gorilla as a neighbor than they are an Hispanic.

3. Be clean.

Start off on the basis that all of us were taught a certain amount of prejudice, which can explode into full-fledged bigotry.

The misconception in America is the belief that we have racism under control because we elected a black President.

First of all, President Obama may not be any more black than I am, since he had a white mother.

Secondly, what we choose to do publicly does not determine our soul. It is the truth that lies on our inward parts–our private notions–which carry the heart of our true beliefs.

When we realize that racism is just another piece of our immature nature which needs to be addressed and abandoned, we will actually go forward.

As the great writer once said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, but now that I’ve become a man, I have put away childish things.”

 

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