Cribbage

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cribbage: (n) a card game for two, three or four people

Yes, this is one of those words.

There are many of them: words or terms that are brought up in front of me which I do not know–neither what they mean nor how they are played or applied.

For instance, someone in my presence might say:

“Well, a couple of us were playing cribbage…”

At this point I notoriously nod my head. The reason? Nobody else in the room looks bewildered—they are also covering up their ignorance, and I don’t want to be the one to ask, “Cribbage? What’s that?”

I do it with other words, too. Honestly, Cherries Jubilee is like that for me. I know there’s a fire involved—which is enough to make me want to back off, considering that I’m a bit intimidated by a flaming dessert.

Something topical? The census.

I kind of have an idea what it is, but I’m afraid to speak anything out loud because the whole room may turn to me with one perplexed glance, as if to sneer, “That’s not the census…”

I can break out in a cold sweat if people start talking about constitutional amendments.

I would probably faint if I were suddenly challenged by a woman asking me to explain exactly where the clitoris is.

Sometimes you shut your mouth.

Because the minute you open it, all your stupidity and ignorance come pouring out like the fizz in a two-liter bottle of Coke, uncapped, on a hot day.


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Bailiwick

Bailiwick: (n) one’s sphere of operations or particular area of interest.Dictionary B

The English language is in hospice, dying of the cancer of over-simplification.

All language is now based upon whether we like it, understand it or can easily write it down, rather than whether it is accurate or just plain beautiful.

For example, take the word bailiwick.”

I have personally never used the word in a conversation for fear that someone would think I was trying to be pretentious. But it is a gorgeous word.

And even though I do not use the word, I know what it means, so when I do hear some articulate human being express it, I am able to comprehend the meaning.

But as a writer, I find it necessary to sit down at least once a week and listen to a group of teenagers talk. After all, they are deciding where the English language is headed.

Occasionally I throw a word or two at them which I think is fairly common, only to be startled by their bewildered faces as they wonder why I decided to speak as if I were reading from a dictionary.

This may sound like a lamentation, but I will tell you that by no means am I a stick-in-the-mud who thinks America is going to hell one discarded word at a time.

But I do believe the preservation of certain language, and the ability to write with a bit of literary flair, cannot be completely estranged from our everyday efforts or we will eventually be a society that breaks everything down into initials, acronyms and slang.

So here’s to the use of the word “bailiwick”–at least every once in a while.

And also to the gentle patience which will be required from those who use it … to explain to the surrounding, dumbfounded hearers.

 

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Apparatus

dictionary with letter A

Apparatus (n.) 1. the equipment needed for a particular activity or purpose. 2. a complex structure within an organization: the apparatus of government.

Did you read the definition??

There’s that horrible word which is plaguing our society, leaving us bewildered and baffled as to what to do next.

“Complex.”

There are folks who enjoy complexity. It makes them feel they are problem-solvers and more intelligent than their competition, or worse, that they have the inside track on how something or other works.

I’m not so sure I’ve ever used the word “apparatus.” To me, it conjures a vision of going to a store and asking for a specific mechanism which is only suited for one particular compartmentalized purpose.

I am incapable of this.

If the apparatus is that special, it really requires a qualified technician.

I learned a long time ago–just because I know what’s wrong and maybe even what needs to be done, it does not authorize me to be the doer.

Just because I know how to screw up my life does not mean I don’t need help to get it screwed back down.

And when it comes to matters of fixing things, repair, or even everyday tasks, I only implement three simple tools: a hammer, a pair of pliers and a screwdriver.

If for some reason, the task before me cannot be addressed with one of these tools, I need a professional to bring in an apparatus.

I’m even in a bit of terror when I use a plunger on a toilet. Why? Because after my work is complete and I’ve “plunged in,” as it were, then I have to flush it, and will find out if my labor was in vain.

Scary shit.

Literally.

So if you don’t mind, I don’t need an apparatus.

I will be willing to stand back and pay a craftsman to complete the repair … instead of having me create the need for more repair.

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