Cricket

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cricket: (n) a jumping, loud insect

The plan was to retire to our sleeping bags and have a full night of slumber—because we had hiked through the woods, played baseball and eaten our fill of hotdogs and beans.

I was ready for it. Not even the fact that we were lying on the ground was going to deter me from floating in sleeper-land.

And then…there it was.

The sound of a cricket.

I laughed to myself. So this is why people come out into the woods—to get all these natural, beautiful intonations from nature, to put them to sleep—like utilizing an electronic sound machine.

Then the cricket invited his best friend, a couple of old high school flames, and pretty soon there was a family reunion of crickets all around me. I tried to get my brain to focus away from the clatter, but it was like they were doing an insect version of the “Hallelujah Chorus,” except everybody was singing the same part.

I tried and tried to NOT think about crickets.

The more determined I was to ignore them, the louder they became, to get my attention.

I am sure I dozed off, but I cannot recall experiencing anything other than having a front-row seat at the cricket’s rock and roll show, all night long.

When morning came and our counselor realized that everybody was still sleepy, he shouted across the campfire, “Let’s all take another hour!”

I was so grateful. The sun had risen.

The crickets were gone.

Only to be replaced by the birds.


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Communion

Communion: (n) the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared.

I get the same sensation when I go to Red Lobster with a friend and he or she insists, with a giggle, as the cheddar bay biscuits arrive, and they gleefully take one from the basket, that, “This is what Red Lobster is all about!”

I nod (knowing that soon I will probably nod off.)

Red Lobster is not about the cheddar bay biscuits. It’s about the seafood.

Just like baseball games are not about the peanuts and the Cracker Jacks. There’s a ball, a bat and a game.

And marriage is not about starting a family. It’s really about how much you enjoy having sex with this one person and hope you can keep it up for the rest of your life while you have a family.

I find myself going to church from time to time–reluctantly.

I don’t like that about me. It seems jaded. In this season of agnosticism it smacks of the predictable.

But you see, in church there’s just too much emphasis on the cheddar bay biscuits, the Cracker Jacks and the family.

Many of them center their whole agenda around communion–a symbolistic representation of the blood and body of Jesus Christ, which he gave for the sins of mankind.

It’s disconcerting to me.

First there’s the thought that I am such a piece of shit that God had to kill His own kid to try to make up for my buffoonery.

Then there’s the notion that a dynamic spirit which walked in the flesh among us for thirty-three years only gained significance in the last few hours that he hung, as an alleged criminal, on a cross.

What an insult to all things loving and eternal.

Yet if you lodge an objection, somehow or another you become apostate–which, if you don’t know what that means, is the religious system’s way of telling you that you don’t belong.

The truth of the matter is, I admire the hell out of Jesus.

Long before he bled, he led me into an understanding of how we might begin to see God’s will done on Earth as it is in heaven.

 

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Chug

Chug: (v) to drink something in large gulps

My inexperience often leaves me intimidated, while my excesses are often overtly displayed in either my demeanor or appearance.

I’m not a beer drinker.

It’s not because I think it’s morally wrong or it’s associated with those who fart more than think. I just never started.

It’s almost like the scenario that if you don’t have sex before you’re twenty-one, you just might not ever have sex.

There are windows, am I right?

Everybody should hit a baseball with a bat before they’re six.

Everybody should ride a rollercoaster before they’re ten.

Everybody should probably kiss someone before they’re twelve.

Everybody should read a book which is thicker than a carrot before they’re fourteen.

I could go on and on.

I don’t know when most people drink their first beer. I was eighteen, and ended up sipping it. I can guarantee you that a sip of beer will probably prevent you from taking a gulp, and the lack of a gulp certainly forbids chugging.

There are many things I have drunk in my life that weren’t particularly sweet and tasty–but for some reason, that first sip of beer scared me away.

So when I watch movies and see teens chugging beer, only to vomit it up within the hour, I guess I just don’t get it.

Even though I have over-eaten to the point of regurgitating, I didn’t have fond memories of the barbecue ribs which instigated the urping. Matter of fact, for a season I couldn’t even hear someone say, “barbecue ribs” without dashing for the bathroom porcelain.

Yet people will drink beer, chug it, throw up and come right back for another serving.

Interesting. I just had a thought.

I wonder if that’s how recycling got started?

 

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Butterfingers

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Butterfingers: (n) a clumsy person, especially one who fails to hold a catch

It was a perfect early summer day.

I was of an age when virility still oozed from my being and I was the father of children who were old enough that playing with them was fun.

We had joined with a couple of other families to go to the park. We did races, played some basketball and even tried some silly little mind twister games.

Allowing for a bit of humility, I dominated in every category. My kids were convinced that their dad had skipped the entire step of posing as Clark Kent, and had merely exposed himself as Superman.

Then someone suggested baseball.

I hate baseball. I don’t like to watch it; I don’t like to play it. I could probably go into vivid detail about how the game moves at such a snail’s pace that your muscles have time to relax, only to be alarmed once again with the arrival of activity.

So I placed myself in the position of pitching the softball. Within eight or nine throws, I was pretty proficient. I batted pretty well, too–even though I had a tendency to over-swing at the ball, grounding out. But I picked up a couple of singles and one double. It looked like I was going to survive the horror of the great American sport with my “Man of Steel” profile intact.

Then here comes kryptonite. Yes–the stuff that turns Superman into a jellyfish.

It was the last pitch of the game. One batter left. And it was made even easier, because the young lady hit the ball straight up in the air in front of the plate.

All I had to do was step forward four paces and catch it.

I heard my family cheering in the background as the ball–now in slow motion–came tumbling toward my grasp.

In that flash, self-doubt entered my mind.

Should I catch it with my hands, or should I let it come into the bread basket of my chest and cupped arms?

I chose poorly.

As the ball descended, I cupped my hands against my chest to cradle it. It hit me just below the neck and bounced to the ground as the runner from third base scored and the other team won the game.

I received no pity from my children.

They did not say, “Nice try, Dad” or “It could have happened to anyone.”

Matter of fact, on the drive home I could have sworn I heard my youngest mutter, “Butterfingers.”

 

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Bully

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Bully: (n) a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

Shakespeare was convinced that all the world’s a stage, and each one of us are actors performing a part.

It’s an interesting theory–but actually, all the world is an improvisational troupe with seven members–but only four usually show up. So rather than having a role, you end up making up what’s going to happen next, and also filling in for those who fail to appear.

That’s more accurate.

So the truth of the matter is, sometimes we may accidentally, or even purposely, find ourselves in the position of being a bully.

Was the United States a bully when it went into Vietnam? By the definition afforded us by Webster, we were certainly trying to take over a weaker people. Yes, control a debilitated nation.

Is it bullying when we ask people to motivate folks to do their best?

Does a football coach bully a player who’s not playing up to his ability by temporarily humiliating him in front of the team?

If you’re going to make a practice of finding the faults of others and pointing them out to produce ridicule, then I think you’re officially a bully.

But if you occasionally find yourself needing to motivate a friend by challenging him or her by pointing out laziness and lack of will, then you’re probably not a bully. You may be doing the work of the angels.

Over half of the things I’ve learned about life and how to treat other people were acquired in school as a child by interacting on the playground.

  • I suppose it could be said I was bullied to catch a ball.
  • I was bullied into playing two-square, even though I was told it was a girl’s game.
  • I was bullied into running faster so the hit I made during baseball could be a double instead of just a single.

It doesn’t mean there weren’t bullies on the playground, who did nothing but find the weaker brothers and sisters and humiliate them for no reason at all.

But if I had the ability to do better and was challenged to do it, that’s not bullying. That’s friendship.

If it’s out of my control–like having a fat belly or stubby legs–then that’s downright mean.

 

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Bobble

Bobble: (n) a mishandling of the ball

Dictionary B

It’s the closest I ever came–at least in baseball.

I hated baseball, and it seemed that baseball returned in kind by disliking me. The harder I tried to hit the ball, the more I grounded out because my chubby legs couldn’t get me to first base.

What’s worse, everybody thought that because I was so big, I should be able to knock every pitch out of the park–thus making my dribbling even more dismaying.

But on this particular day, all the bases aligned in my favor.

First, I got to pitch, which was bizarre–a fellow my size usually ended up either catching or playing left field.

We were about to win the game. We were ahead by one run and there was one batter left. I had already struck out the previous two.

I felt a sudden burst of confidence.

It was such an unusual experience for me on the diamond that my head was woozy with euphoria.

I reared back, I threw the pitch. It was high, but the batter opted to hit it–the ball going straight up in the air in front of home plate.

I eased my way forward, knowing that all I had to do was catch it and we would win. All the stigma on my lack of ability would be swept away by cheering teammates, adoring my performance.

It seemed like the ball hung in the air for an hour–so long that I had time to think. Or dare I say, doubt?

Maybe better explained, freak out.

When it came down, rather than landing in my hands, I tried to catch it with my chest and trap it.

I bobbled it.

It bounced off and dribbled ten feet to my right.

The runner scored, and then, because the first baseman bobbled a throw from the third baseman, another run scored and we lost the game.

No one said anything to me–which was the worst punishment possible.

I guess they assumed that since I wasn’t very good at baseball, bobbling was inevitable.

It isn’t.

All bobbling is caused by over-thinking the catch.

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Baseball

Baseball: (n) a ball game played between two teams of nine on a field with a diamond-shaped circuit of four basesDictionary B

From my youth, baseball was pitched my way but I never caught on.

I don’t know exactly why.

I’m not so sure I’ve ever watched an entire baseball game on TV, and the two times I attended a game at a park, I survived it by consuming enormous amounts of hot dogs.

So when I read the word today, I thought to myself, what is it I don’t like about baseball?

Before I answer, please understand that my conclusions are arbitrary and certainly cemented in a tomb of my own misunderstanding. Nevertheless:

1. It’s slow.

By the time the follow-up play responds to the previous action, I have forgotten what has been accomplished.

2. It’s a team sport.

Even though we extol team sports, I think we actually enjoy competitions that have fewer participants and more heroes.

3. It demands proficiency in a variety of activities.

It is difficult to praise singular action. In other words, you have to catch, throw, hit, run, slide and steal. Any one of these should be enough.

4. There is so much space between actions that it should be filled in with background movie music.

Maybe the tunes could even be complementary and generate excitement in the performance.

5. And finally, I didn’t do it very well.

 

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