Croup

Croup: (n) any condition of the larynx characterized by a hoarse cough and difficult breathing.

One of the more annoying aspects of writing a column or posting a blog on the Internet is what seems to be the incessant need to talk about life beginning with how it relates to yourself.

I will be honest—I don’t think I am as interesting as other folks do.

I don’t know whether this is even possible, but I have often felt I was boring myself.

But when I saw the word “croup” today, I couldn’t resist relating a piece of personal identity concerning the condition.

Up until five years of age, I was sickly.

Chubby, round-faced and ill. (Very attractive for young parents.)

Every time I caught a cold, it went into my chest and I mustered a hacking cough which eventually made it difficult to breathe. So my mother often rushed me into the bathroom, turned on all the faucets with hot water, and sat there with me in the steam, hoping my croup would clear.

It was so bad one night that the town doctor was called to come to our little bungalow.

He  felt compelled to give me a shot of adrenalin in the heart to keep me among the living.

Yet somewhere along the line—about the age of six—I began to improve. It was a good thing, because on top of my croup, I was festered with an inability to master swallowing pills, and the only real treatment for my condition were these huge, white sulfa tablets, which greatly resembled horse pills.

So yes—because I could not swallow them, I had to chew them up—two at a time, every four hours.

When the reprieve came and “croup” decided to become a part of my past, I was jubilant. Later on we discovered that because my dad was a cigarette smoker, the air quality in our little home was not conducive to my fussy lungs.

So even though I shared this story with you in candor, and the years have certainly passed, and I have proven myself to be more balanced for the human environment…

I still feel like a Willy Wonka Wimp.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Column

Column: (n) a pillar or a page division; essay

The columns of our philosophy holding up our suppositions are divided into columns and rendered off for reading–in a column.

Now there’s a twisted path of reason. Should keep you busy for a while.

When I began writing on the Internet I was very uncomfortable with the term “blog.”

I am of the school of thought that if everyone thinks they can do something then no one can do it, because it is never done well.

Everybody has a blog.

For awhile I referred to my etchings in the great “Cloud” as columns–hearkening back to an era when newspapers actually delivered daily information.

No one liked “column.”

So I tried the word “essay.” Then I sounded like I lived in the nineteenth century, having tea with Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. (Emily Dickinson a no-show…)

It didn’t really make any difference. Once I penned something and placed it on the ethernet, it became a blog.

It’s just difficult to believe that blogs are going to sustain the great American experiment and hold up our faith so that insanity doesn’t crash in on us.

But since no one would ever listen to a case made for the value of pillars and justifications of margins, I think we are in the wild, wild West of authoring articles, sentiments and misspelled paragraphs from our six-guns of inadequacy.

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Circus

Circus: (n) a traveling company of acrobats, trained animals, and clowns that gives performances, typically in a large tent

I’m about to break one of my own cardinal rules when it comes to writing.

I don’t mention too many “pop culture” references from the past because they’re irrelevant to the majority of the people who read my blogs.
. But when I saw the word “circus,” my mind went to only one place.

When I was a kid I was portly. (Now, this is a “grandma word” used to describe a fat boy.)

I fell in love with a TV show called “Circus Boy.” I can’t tell you much about it but there was a little kid just my age, with blond hair just like mine, blue eyes–the same–and he was part of a circus. He walked around wearing an adorable hat which might cause the worst cynic to beam a smile.

I loved that show.

So one day when shopping with my parents, I noticed they were selling a replica of Circus Boy’s hat. Oh, my God–I begged. I pleaded with my parents to get the it for me. It must have been very reasonable because they didn’t quibble.

I never took it off. My greatest joy was that when people saw me in the hat, they often commented, “He looks kinda like Circus Boy.”

It was almost like I was a leper and Jesus had just touched me.

One day I was in the grocery store with my mom and dad and a man and woman came up and the lady said, “Is this your son?”

My mother nodded with pride. Then the lady said it. “You know, he really looks like ‘Circus Boy.'”

I was about to explode with a huge smile and share with her that “Circus Boy” was my favorite show on TV when the man piped in, “Yeah, kind of. Except he’s fat.”

The earth stood still.

I couldn’t breathe.

I couldn’t look in any direction without seeing human beings who needed to be far away from me at that moment.

I turned on my heel and ran out of the store, wedging myself against the back of a Coke machine in a corner, crying.

You see, the guy wasn’t mean. Just matter-of-fact.

It was such “matter-of-fact” that even I knew it was true.

To this day, “circus” brings up “Circus Boy,” which stirs a memory of my fondness for the show, circulating images of the hat I wore, pretending–but deep in my heart, knowing I couldn’t be him.

I was too … portly.

 

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Basic

Basic: (adj) forming an essential foundation or starting point; fundamental.Dictionary B

Occasionally I make the brave journey onto the Web to look at what people are saying, thinking and doing.

I discovered an interesting trend.

We have become a nation which is obsessed with complicating and bitching. Sometimes we blend the two.

We bitch about how complicated things are, or we go into complicated explanations about the source of our bad attitude and bitching.

I saw a blog advertising an article entitled, “28 Ways to Make Your Life Better.”

28??

If someone gave you a recipe and told you there were 28 ingredients, would you prepare it?

Thus the popularity of hot dogs: put dogs in sauce pan with water, turn on heat, boil on high for three minutes, take off the stove, bon appetit!

Perhaps we’re just afraid of going back to the basics.

  • Do people think it makes them look shallow or stupid?
  • Do we fear we will be perceived as old-fashioned?

But since I fear that complexity will make me look like a simpleton, and simplicity has the potential of graduating me to genius, let me tell you the three basics of life that will get you through almost every situation. (I must apologize–there are not 28.)

But here we go:

  1. Try to be nice to people. And if you can’t, leave the room.
  2. Don’t lead with bragging. Humbly lead with your talent, taking a lower seat so that people can call you up to a higher place.
  3. Don’t buy, eat or pursue anything just because it’s popular. Stand back for a moment, wait, and see if it explodes, gives indigestion or suddenly plummets in following.

Basic.

It’s not called “basic” because it’s less–it’s called “basic” because it’s been around for a long time, and has proven its quality to be more.

 

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Audacious

Audacious: (adj) showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.

dictionary with letter A

I am very curious exactly how many miles one would have to run with a stick before actually tripping, falling, having the pointed end of the stick lodging in the eye.

Yet we were led to believe that such careless running with loosely held wood would ultimately most certainly lead to blindness.

We were not raised to be risk-takers.

So rather than ending up with a generation of people who are careful planners, adept at common sense, we have an “earthful” of cautious, lazy folks who occasionally rebel by actually doing things that are dangerously risky.

If you continue to avoid activities which merely demand a certain amount of skill because you think they’re risky, you’ll eventually get fed up, go out and enter a jalopena-eating contest.

Somewhere along the line we have to teach our children that the pursuit of excellence does bump up against risky endeavors, but the power of planning and the presence of practice does enable us to run with a stick without gouging our eyeballs.

I have taken audacious risks all my life.

I will tell you this–simply writing a blog on the Internet is risky business. The possibility for obscurity, criticism or being stalked by a person with a manic disorder who doesn’t like to swallow pills is always prevalent.

But it will take some risks for us to avoid greater risks.

It will take the frightening thought of negotiation to keep us from negotiating another war.

It will take risky conversations about racism to eliminate dead young men in the street.

It will take brave souls insisting on the common humanity of men and women to bring about the true peaceful interaction which will prevent us from being constantly at each other’s throats.

What is worth the risk?

Any time we have the chance to advance the cause of peace, liberty and justice, it’s well worth getting up out of our easy chair and grabbing our baton (which is just a stick)… to start running. 

 

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