Crevasse

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crevasse: (n) a deep, open crack

“It’s just about eight feet.”

God, I hated those words.

Growing up, I was the chubby, endearing, intelligent and funny friend. If you put me in a room watching Chiller Theater or listening to music or eating pizza, I was the star of the show.

But every once in a while, I got myself trapped into doing activities that blubber-boys should never participate in whatsoever.

I was thirteen years old and was asked to go on a hike.

I cannot lie—I went on the hike because at the end of the hike we were supposed to have a cookout over an open fire with marshmallows. They did not explain that there would be a five-hour death march preceding it.

I was panting within fifteen minutes, melting with sweat within a half hour—my legs so weak at the end of fifty minutes that I could barely stand.

This in itself was problematic.

But then we came to the Brave Man Crevasse.

The grown-up in charge of the expedition had mentioned it the night before with starry eyes, nearly breathless over the joy each of us would have in taking what he called “The Great Leap.” Struck by stupidity and still dreaming of marshmallows, I had failed to consider the impact of his statement.

About three hours into the hike, with me praying for death or the second coming of Christ, we arrived at The Crevasse.

Very simply stated, it was where the path ended and then resumed eight to ten feet over on the other side, with a drop of about fifty or sixty feet in the middle

The major problem was that before I could even consider what we were doing or how I personally was going to achieve it, many of my friends boldly took the jump and landed safely on the other side. Applause followed.

Pretty soon it was down to Lance and me. Lance was considered to be the coward of our troop—afraid of every type of bug, and really somewhat terrified of dirt. Lo and behold, Lance decided to choose this day for his epiphany of courage. He jumped up in the air and landed, his foot slipping at the last moment, nearly falling, but grabbed by some nearby buddies, who then alternated with pounding him on the back for his courage and clapping wildly.

So there it was—that universal turn of nine heads in my direction.

Their faces were full of encouragement, nodding as if to send good vibrations in my direction.

I thought about following Lance’s example, then realized I was not born stupid. So instead I stepped to the edge and looked over at the craggy hillside, filled with rocks and bushes beneath. My first thought was, “I wonder if I could survive a fall and get the hell out of here in an ambulance?”

But it seemed unlikely and certainly painful.

The delay was apparently unnerving to my cohorts, because they began to express verbal exhortations, which gradually became more ferocious and even challenging. That’s when the dastardly statement came to be.

“Come on! It’s just about eight feet!”

You see, they were wrong. It was a crevasse. There was no place for feet at all. If it had been just eight feet, I could just walk across. But it was eight huge spaces of nothing but air.

Spurred on by a combination of humiliation, edification and (still) the prospect of dinner, I leaped.

But I did not do it feet first. Instead I leaped with the top of my body toward the ledge, barely catching it with my hands, my feet dangling and kicking, and me ready to fall.

Blessedly, all of my friends who had made it safely to the other side grabbed me by whatever they could reach and pulled me up to safety.

My heart was pounding. It didn’t stop its thumping for a solid twenty minutes.

Every single one of the people who leaped across chose not to talk about it.

I think they were terrified that they nearly lost me in the Great Crevasse on the overly lengthy hike in pursuit of toasting a marshmallow.

 


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Convoluted

Convoluted: (adj) twisted, intricately involved

“Would you like to join?” she said with a smile as fresh as a can of peaches.

She really wanted me to join.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

There is a tendency in our species to want to link up, join up and hook up. She was trying to get me to join an organization called “Save the Whales (Before It’s Too Late).” I wanted to explain to her that I have nothing against whales. (It would be hypocritical to take that profile since I have my own blubber, and I’ve been known to be a blowhole.)

I don’t have a problem with people who have a point to make or even want to shout out their cause. It’s the “joining” part that bothers me.

It becomes convoluted.

For instance, I’m not allowed to say I’m a Democrat unless I support the Democratic platform in its entirety. Likewise with the Republicans.

Most churches are not pleased if I approach Christian theology like a smorgasbord, picking here and there from different denominations. No—they want me to join.

If you’re a Congressman who just heard the State of the Union, and the President is not of your party, you are not allowed to express appreciation for any point he may have made. If you do, you are not adequately joining the party—accepting all the convoluted ways the organization plans to use to gain and maintain power.

I have trouble with joining.

I don’t have trouble with agreeing.

I don’t have any problem at all with listening to opinions that may be contrary to mine and finding worth within the framework of the new idea.

But when you tell me I’m a Christian, and therefore I have to do the following eight things or you will question my authenticity, I can get downright pagan.


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Chubby

Chubby: (adj) plump and rounded.

Please do not feel the need to grab your thesaurus when describing me.

I am not portly.

I am not rotund.

I am not big-boned.

I don’t have a healthy appetite.

I’m fat.

And as painful as the word may be, and as many different negative associations it carries, it is still better than “chubby.”

Chubby removes all possibility of being masculine.

Babies are cute and chubby.

Furry animals are chubby.

Things that are cute are dubbed chubby so we do not have to comment on their rolls of blubber.

In the pursuit of gentle phrasing, nobody’s feelings are spared. Only the speaker feels self-righteous about placating through terminology.

I’m too old to be chubby.

I’m too manly to be chubby.

I’m too fat to be chubby.

Chubby things are acceptably fat, yet fat things are not acceptably chubby.

I don’t want to be a chub, so I certainly don’t want to be chubby.

So as painful as it may be to my ears, I am more comfortable being referred to as a “fat person” instead of a man who has “a big body to hold his big heart.”

 

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Chosen

Chosen: (adj) having been selected as the best or most appropriate.

Without spraying dark, sticky thoughts into the air, I must admit that if I knew what I know now, I might not have chosen to be born.

I don’t think I would have chosen Mary and Russell as my parents. Considering my youthful antics, they might not have chosen me.

I certainly would not have chosen to be raised in the Midwest of the United States during a season when prejudice, bigotry and self-righteousness were considered to be “American values.”

I wouldn’t have chosen to be fat. Even though some people try to gain their self-esteem while encased in blubber, the excess poundage does take its toll.

I don’t know exactly what I would have chosen–I mean, I could continue this list and probably offend everyone I know.

But I certainly would have chosen Jesus.

This is not because I’m a religious person. Matter of fact, I have been known to doze off immediately at the mention of prayer.

It’s the practicality.

It’s the humanity.

It’s the responsibility that Jesus of Nazareth placed on himself and his followers that lets me understand that he “gets it.”

He gets what it means to be a human being on this planet called Earth. I don’t know if his manifesto would work on other planets. I don’t know anything about habitation in other galaxies.

But Earth requires a certain payload to launch your rocket.

I’ve chosen that.

I fail at it, and as long as I realize it’s a failure on my part and not a master plot against my happiness, I’m usually just fine.

I don’t know what else specifically I would have chosen.

I would not have chosen a career as a writer, because criticism and obscurity are your only friends.

Would I have chosen to pen this essay? Probably not.

I got up in a rather relaxed, lazy mood, and your interest just didn’t interest me that much.

So I’ve chosen, at times, to persevere–even though the immediate benefit does not scream its worth.

 

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Celery

Celery: (n) a cultivated plant of the parsley family

An ounce of consecration yields a pound of cure.

As human beings we spend an awful lot of time complaining about how much effort it takes to get results. Nothing is further from the truth.

Every once in a while, I build up such consecration to lose weight. There are two actions that tell me I’m serious about the endeavor:

  • I start quoting the calories in the food set before me, and
  • I develop an almost mystical interest in celery

Yes, I literally hypnotize myself into believing it makes a great snack, and since it really has no calories, it is able to trick my body into thinking that we are dining without actually plumping.

I think my record is four days.

Yes–four glorious days when I consumed celery, acting as if it were potato chips. Then came Day 5.

It was a very simple fall from grace. It began with a statement: “You know what would be good with this celery?”

At first I showed great restraint. I merely dipped my green stalk into some low-calorie ranch dressing. But that was a little too watery and didn’t cling well. So I switched to regular ranch dressing, trying to be careful about how much I used.

After about two days, I grew tired of the taste of ranch and discovered that cheese whip was delicious on the celery. Now, I was cautious not to put too much of the goo into the provided groove. (After all, if the celery did not want me to have a condiment with it, why did it make that slot?)

By Day 10, I discovered that the most excellent filler was peanut butter.

Peanut butter and celery.

My God, I felt righteous! I had the “no calories” of celery mingled with the protein of peanut butter, which would certainly counteract all the fat included.

Imagine how discouraged I was, after a week, to realize that I had gained weight on celery and peanut butter.

Celery is a trickster. It offers great promise, but has no ability to fulfill unless it brings along its blubbery friends.

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Broker

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Broker: (n) a person who buys and sells goods or assets for others.

There’s a certain male body type, where there’s enough blubber in the belly to put a lot of pink in the cheeks.

Such was Mick. He was my broker.Dictionary B

Now, before you get all impressed and everything, it was a very temporary situation in my life, when an inheritance enabled me to have money to invest if I so desired.

I was intrigued.

So I went to see a broker. I happened to land in Mick’s office.

He was a delightful young man–straight out of college–and had certainly aspired to something larger than his six-by-eight-foot office space. I was never sure what Mick wanted to be, but was pretty darned positive it was not a broker.

I explained to him that I felt the benefit of this influx of cash was to be able to live off the interest of the money, therefore not needing, for a season, to “labor in the fields.”

Now, Mick was new at this–so I was fairly certain that he had no idea whether my request was plausible or not, but he also had no intention of having me leave his cubicle without choosing him as my “guy.”

So with all of his plump self and ruby cheeks, he said, “Sure.”

It was perfect. He wanted to lie and I wanted to believe him.

But the truth is, the monthly interest from my investments never quite covered my personal lifestyle. Even though I was not angry at Mick because of the shortage, after two or three months he stopped taking my phone calls.

The experience did help me come to the conclusion that money is only valuable when it’s working.

When it lays around waiting for opportunity, like everything else in life, it is soon unemployed.

 

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Boat

Boat: (n) a small vessel propelled on water

Dictionary B My dad liked to hunt and fish.

He was not a “manly man,” but discovered his inner macho with rod, reel and rifle.

My older brothers quickly learned that the best way to curry his favor or spend any time with him at all was to join him on one of these expeditions to seek out game.

I wanted to. He placed a rifle in my hand and set up some targets. I shot it and knocked over a few cans, so he felt confident to take me rabbit hunting.

Do you know how fast rabbits run?

I do.

Every time he set me up with a shot to kill a bunny, I would miserably miss, failing to anticipate the hair-brained escape pattern of the hare.

Fishing was much the same. At first I was a little frightened to put the worm on the hook–and then an additional problem came into the mix. Because I was a fat boy, the little boat my dad was able to afford did not sit well in the water when I sat on the seat. Matter of fact, I came near to sinking us with my “weighty matter.”

The motor didn’t work as well, and my dad wanted to scream at me about my blubber, but restrained himself so as to maintain a few vestiges of fatherhood.

What eventually transpired was that my dad made it a secret when he was going fishing or hunting, and I would never find out until he was long gone and my mother confessed his plans.

So there is a part of me that wishes my dad had been alive when the movie “Jaws” came out.

You remember the line, right?

“We need a bigger boat.”

 

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