Clamber

Clamber: (v) to climb, move, or get in or out of something in an awkward and laborious way, typically using both hands and feet

It’s difficult to know whether we are judged by what we’re able to achieve, or how well we overcame the obstacles that attempt to forbid
achievement.

Yes, you could discuss that one for hours.

It reminds me of the time I took my children to an amusement park. I was still a very young man, but very fat. This created an immediate perplexity. Because I was young, I envisioned things I could do, often not taking into consideration the extra baggage I was bringing along.

Another example:

We went out on a boat trip. They had a little, thin gangplank to get on the boat, which I was grateful to have negotiated. So I assumed that when we returned there would be some sort of similar passageway from the front of the boat onto the dock again.

There wasn’t.

They eased the boat toward the landing, leaving a gap of about three feet between the boat and the safety of the dock. Well, other folks gave it a little bit of a running start, leaped into the air and came down safely onto the pier.

I kept inching my way behind people, letting them go first. I guess I was hoping that I would have a few minutes at the end, to figure out what to do, but failed to realize that all the people stayed on the dock and were going to watch my grand leap.

I tried to make that running start, to clamber with my entire obese body, legs and arms in the air, and land safely.

Just when I got to the end of the boat, my brain said, “Are you crazy?”

An immediate order was given at Mind Central: STOP!!

I nearly tumbled into the water but was able to step back. Then I tried to reach one leg across, and was able to get my foot onto the surface, but I was spread too far to get any pressure on the leg to push me over.

By this time I had secured an audience.

People began to make suggestions. My children were trying to hide and my wife was already being comforted by strangers.

At this point, I decided it was impossible. The ordeal went for ten minutes. The combination of fear, practicality and my limitations was turning me into a sea-lovin’ man.

Finally the captain took a rope and hooked it around some sort of turret and pulled the whole boat a bit closer–with just his sheer brute force. This received applause from those standing by. Even more humiliation.

I still was not able to find a “clambering” approach to leaving the boat. So three guys reached down, grabbed me under my arms and on the count of three, hoisted me up on the dock.

I attempted to land with some authority, stomping my feet a couple of times so the people around me would be aware that I had muscular ability, then quickly grabbed my family and disappeared into the crowd, heading for the refreshment stand.

After all, I was hungry from all the exertion.

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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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Blockhead

Blockhead: (n) a stupid person.

Dictionary B

  • I have been stupid.
  • I am presently stupid but unaware.
  • I will certainly be stupid again.

If you find fault with these ideas, then you are susceptible to being a blockhead.

Blockheads are people who are convinced that their concrete thinking is safe and reasonable, only to discover that they are out of step with reality and condemned by common sense.

So if you are looking for companionship, fellowship, relationship or any particular boat to take you across the sea of difficulty–or tranquility–keep in mind that intelligent people are fully aware of three abiding truths:

1. I am capable of being wrong.

2. Since I know that, I’m looking for ways to catch myself before “stupid” throttles me.

3. I am so busy with my own “stupid” that I must trust that you will take care of yours.

If you are with people who do not believe these three things, be prepared to constantly take your pickaxe of argument to their blockhead of stubbornness.

 

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Bait

Bait: (n) food used to entice fish or other animals as prey.Dictionary B

My dad was a fisherman.

Some folks would say my dad fancied himself to be a fisherman.

My mother might have concluded that my dad went fishing to get away from home.

Whatever the case, he had an adequate array of rods, reels, hooks, sinkers, bait and tackle to be considered worthy of the aspiration.

My dad had five sons, and he quickly assessed which ones he thought were better suited for hunting and fishing.

Being the fourth son, for some reason or another, he decided that I was not bent in the direction of the standard woodsman. I don’t know how he came to this conclusion. I was actually the only one of my brothers involved in sports, and certainly had an aptitude for floating in a boat and throwing a line in the water to snag a hapless aquatic creature.

I only went fishing with him a few times–and because I wasn’t given many opportunities, on the paltry occasions when I was with him, I acted a little squeamish.

Especially when it came to the bait. We used two kinds: night crawlers and minnows.

Night crawlers are worms and minnows are little, tiny fish-like creatures with one big eye on them. (Or I think it’s one.)

I was not real thrilled about the idea of grabbing a worm from the peat moss and putting it on my hook. It wasn’t because I was sensitive about killing the crawler, it just felt funny.

My dad thought this was hilarious.

I also did not know where to place my hook into the minnow to make it the most appealing to the creatures we were trying to trick. I did catch on, but not before my father had a chance to stereotype me as a “weinie-woman.”

So much to my chagrin, I have not fished as much during my life as I would like to, because of those run-ins with the bait.

I think it is completely permissible to be a little bit nervous around worms and minnows…until you finally get the feel for it.

 

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Ask

Ask: (v) request (someone) to do or give something.dictionary with letter A

“There’s no harm in asking.”

Did you ever notice that some old sayings are not only aged, but they’re also dead and should be buried?

For after all, everyone knows there can be great harm in asking. There’s always the danger that somebody will yell at you for being so presumptuous as to make the request. Shall I also mention that there are folks who can be very hostile in their denial?

So you can come out of the experience bruised, gaining nothing.

That’s why I think it’s important to learn ching and chang.

Now most of you know what ching is. Ching is that energy we have that propels us to do our work or pursue our dreams. It’s the spring in our step; it’s the explosion of hope that causes us to keep going.

But most people don’t talk about our chang. Chang is the needed optimism which we must possess in order to continue to be of good cheer about our lives instead of beginning to look like abused children who flinch every time somebody raises a hand,

Without chang, our ching begins to look desperate instead of eager.

And our chang can only handle so many disappointments and negative responses from other people before we start getting jaded. Once jaded, we no longer ask–we demand, which lessens our possibility for a good response.

So I often don’t ask at all, because my chang cannot afford to be depleted by the grumpy response of the sourpuss standing before me.

There is harm in asking. That’s why, before I ask, I gauge three temperatures:

  1. Who am I talking to?
  2. Are they really willing to be positive?
  3. Will I survive a no?

Try it. I think you’ll like it.

  • Because the ching in our lives is essential to give us a motor for our boat.
  • But the chang is the sense of true joy that keeps our boat from getting holes and sinking.

 

 

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Ark

dictionary with letter A

Ark: (n) in the Bible, the ship built by Noah to save his family and two of every kind of animal from the Flood; Noah’s Ark.

He kept repeating the question to me over and over again with additional ferocity and challenge with each inquiry.

“Do you believe that Noah and the Ark is true?”

There’s nothing more annoying than an evangelistic atheist or an ardent fundamentalist. In both cases, they want you to commit to stuff you don’t know anything about.

Since I did not live in the time of Noah, I’m not quite sure what the Ark was. And though the measurements are quite large for a boat, it is not possible for it to contain two of all the animals of the world, even at that time.

So does that negate the story and make it a complete lie?

I am also fully aware that almost every culture in the world has its own Noah and the Ark story in some fashion. And does that give it less validity–if it might have been “Omar and the Big Canoe?”

When it comes to matters of spirituality, I have a very simple rule I apply to all stories, theories, doctrines and even axioms: how does it apply to me?

I know that sounds rather selfish, but I seriously doubt if God wants me to study yarns from the past that have little to do with the woven fabric of my doings.

What do I get out of Noah?

Sometimes what is right is hard to do because it doesn’t make sense to the mob around you, and the only way you’re going to prove that it is right is by finishing what you set out to do … and letting the rain fall.

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Anchor

dictionary with letter A

Anchor: (n) a heavy object attached to a rope or chain and used to moor a vessel to the bottom.

It was made of aluminum, about twelve feet long, with three wooden, bench seats inside, one of the perches broken.

It was my dad’s boat.

It more resembled a canoe with a thyroid problem.

But whenever my dad launched his vessel onto the great and mighty waters of Hoover Lake, he suddenly transformed into some sort of John Paul Jones, which to me as a boy, appeared as a nautical monster.

He began using the lingo of the sea and was perpetually angry with his crew–embodied solely in myself.

He explained that the best way to fish was to find a quiet, deep lagoon and drop your anchor so your boat wouldn’t move, and you would be present with your bait, to lure in the schools of fish. (Often we often must have arrived during some sort of fish holiday–because the schools were usually out.)

Nevertheless, he yelled at me to drop anchor, which was a forty pound cube of cement block, which he had put together by pouring it into a plastic bucket and then destroying the bucket to free the cement once it had hardened. Attached to this heavy clump was a rope.

Now, you must realize–we only had twenty-five feet of rope on our anchor–which is fine is you happen to be perched in twenty-three feet of water. But as I lifted the huge mass over the side of the boat and dropped it into the water, I was never sure if it actually hit the bottom.

So after an hour or so, my dad would look up from his fishing pole, where he had frozen his eyes intently, and realize that we had floated far from our desired spot.

This initiated a whole new tirade of “captain-to-deck-swab” complaints. I tried to defend myself by explaining that we did not have enough rope to reach the bottom of the lake, but he never seemed to quite comprehend that if the anchor doesn’t land on the bottom, it really doesn’t keep you in place.

What great symbolism.

After all, if our anchor is floating along with society’s ideas and standards instead of landing firmly on solid ground, we, too, tend to drift from our preferred placement.

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