Debut: (n) a first public appearance on a stage, on television, etc.

During my midnight curtain call at the end of the day, when I take my bows (or lumps) over the events surrounding that given twenty-four hours, I begin to ruminate.

By two o’clock in the morning, when I briefly stir, my brain is already trying to invent, produce and cast my next debut, which should begin six hours later, at eight o’clock.

What do I envision?

What do I think a debut should include?

New and improved? Most certainly.


A specific energy toward the practical and the general sense of goodness?

By the time I stir again, around five, my brain has enlarged this plan, and suddenly it all seems plausible. I not only believe I can fund it, gather the energy to perform it, but also that there should be a great market for the debut of my new self.

  • Less eating.
  • More mercy.
  • Thoughtfulness.
  • Humor.
  • A “clever” here and there.
  • And exercising my body as I exorcise my bad memories.

As I doze off to finish my night, I am enraptured with the possibility of being recreated—so transformed that others will notice, be thrilled for me and challenged to do the same for themselves.

When I awaken at eight and begin the cleaning, brushing and dressing, I try to dredge up memories of my nighttime plan.

They seem fragile—as if touching them or even moving toward them causes them to crumble in my grasp.

Yet as I begin the day, I try one thing–then another.

Something I remember from my stage-planning the night before.

By noon the debut is over, and unfortunately, it resembles the previous day’s performance.

I know I can do better. I know “better” is in me.

It’s just nerve-wracking to stage a debut.

Cuff Links

Cuff link: (n) a pair of linked ornamental buttons or buttonlike devices for fastening a shirt cuff.

We called her Sister Betty.

She wasn’t really our sister. It was kind of a quasi-religious reference with just a hint of hippie philosophy.

Sister Betty loved to find deals at thrift stores. She especially became interested in finding me clothes, since my girth made it difficult to buy anything other than men’s work pants and shirts. The grays, browns and indescribable greens of those clothes were not suitable for a teenage boy.

So one day Sister Betty came in with a dress shirt which actually fit me.

It had French cuffs.

I did not know what French cuffs were, but Betty immediately explained that they were folded over, and a fastener held them together—which was often very ornate and contained a jewel.

I was game. After all, I had a new shirt.

For some reason, Sister Betty, who was usually very lucky in the market, was unable to find me discounted cuff links. I think she probably should have pursued a little further, but when her first trip to the bargain plaza did not garner the desired results, she decided to try to make me a pair of cuff links for the new French shirt.

She came up with many ideas.

Simple pieces of leather to hold the French cuff together.

She thought about painting a paper clip.

When she finally got down to ribbon and yarn, I realized it was time for me to intercede. I was already a little intimidated about wearing a French shirt in my All-American small town, but having it garnished by ribbon, yarn or bows was completely implausible.

Finally, one of my friends suggested that maybe Sister Betty could take two marbles—those Purees—and fasten something on them, to use them for the cuff links.

She glued and messed, frowned and struggled for a whole day.

Then she appeared with two cuff links made out of marbles.

I slipped them on the shirt, fastened the cuff links and then crinkled my brow.

One marble was red and the other was blue.

Sister Betty saw my dissatisfied face and said, “Oh! Did you want the marbles to be the same color?”

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C