Cock

Cock: (n) a male bird

How should I handle this word? You see, everything I mention will come across as a double entendre.

Even the dictionary definition is “a male bird.” Where did your brain go on that one?

Some words just don’t have permission to be uttered in public. I even giggle inwardly when I hear a storyteller speaking to young children utter the term, “Cock-a-doodle-doo.”

A pundit, becoming extremely pungent, might say, “Cock and bull story.” I’m sorry. My brain is off and away.

I am not dirty-minded. But I do have dirty laundry laying around. And because of that, certain words, phrases and ideas cannot be spoken in front of me without my brain doing a childish tap dance.

I am fully aware that being so vulnerable as to share this with you, I run the risk that some of you, when hearing the word “cock,” may actually think of a rooster. In that case, I do not know whether to congratulate you for being pure, or pity you for being absent a bit of noble naughtiness.

But as for me and my self, I shall not speak “cock” nor can I hear “cock” without becoming twelve years old again, always prepared to burst into laughter over the sound of a fart.Donate Button

 

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Cobalt

Cobalt: (n) the chemical element of atomic number 27, a hard silvery-white magnetic metal.

My dad decided to die when I was sixteen years old.

He had planned it for nearly thirty years.

As a cigarette smoker who actually bought tobacco in the can and “rolled his own,” he had pretty well determined the end of his story long before he’d lived out all the plot lines.

I was one of the plot lines.

Before I found out that he had terminal lung cancer which had spread to his brain, there was a brief, three-month period when he became warmer, more tender–wanting some closeness with me.

Unfortunately, by that time I had created so much distance there was no way for me to transport myself to his side–even when I discovered he was dying.

They sat down and explained it to me, pointing out that he would be going through radiation treatments, which involved cobalt. He did.

Yet he barely survived the only cure they had available. When he returned home, he could barely walk and had trouble breathing. His skin was red like he had a deep sunburn, and he smelled like the trash we burned in the back yard.

Being around him just scared the hell out of me.

Everyone wanted me to turn into the devoted son who held the hand of his ailing father up to death’s door.

I just couldn’t do it.

Even when his breathing became so heavy that I could hear it through the walls while sitting on our porch stoop, I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that I loved him or even be present when the last gasp escaped his being.

This is my memory of cobalt.

It was used in the early years of radiation treatment, and left the patient nearly vacant of the resources to think and move.

As I sit here today, I can wish that I had been a better son and he a better father.

But that is because I have an older mind, and sometimes find it difficult to regain the fury involved in being sixteen.

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Circular

Circular: (n) a letter or advertisement that is distributed to a large number of people.

“Shrink to think.”

If you want to get your brain functioning in the realm of creativity instead of repetition, this is better achieved by shrinking what you’re
doing down to its simplest forms.

There is no evil in technology.

There is no sinister nature to the Internet.

But sometimes if life is not simplified, the complication confuses us into believing that we are not responsible for our actions, but instead, victims of a mass plot.

When I was younger, much younger than today, I sat and read circulars. They were little reports, newspapers or flyers put out by people who wanted to communicate what they were doing, how they were doing it and even the way in which they wished others to become involved.

Usually laid out with a typewriter, they were poor quality–carelessly paragraphed and overworded.

But reading them demanded that I do something I did not want to do: stop.

The main reason we don’t start is because we can’t stop. We spend most of our time skidding into the next project with no idea about whether our passions will sustain it.

Please don’t mistake me for some old codger who yearns for the “good ole’ days.” There was so much bad that it deserves to be quarantined for all time.

But there was the introduction of pieces of paper called circulars, which made you stop long enough to think about what somebody else was doing instead of browsing the Internet, bouncing off subjects like a rubber ball.

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Chopper

Chopper: (n) a helicopter.

Knowing that my brain, like most human brains, has selective memory, and that triggers installed for certain sounds, words, or even smells, I can tell you of a truth that the word “chopper”–and the vision of one–for me conjures memories of Vietnam.

I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s because I came of age during the height of the conflict, came upon my eighteenth birthday and was eligible for the draft. Helicopters were prevalent in the nightly news, and made me think about that horrible war.

Today I call it horrible. When I was a teenager, I lived in a community that actually had its own chapter of the John Birch Society, and the violence in Southeast Asia was extolled as patriotic–our best avenue for stopping the spread of Communism.

So for me, it’s a chain of mental commands:

Chopper makes me think about Vietnam.

Vietnam makes me think about the protests.

The protests make me think about rock and roll.

Rock and roll conjures images of Woodstock.

Woodstock reminds me that I was living in a provincial village and was too frightened to go to the festival.

And being too frightened to go–as a young man, I was also always arguing with my family over a half-inch of hair over my ears, trying to rebel by listening to The Monkees.

I was no hero.

But as history moves forward, we realize that unfortunately there were no heroes during that era.

The government was corrupt, the hippies were imbalanced, the Vietnamese were crazed, violent and suicidal, the draft dodgers were relegated to the status of cowards as they drove their Volkswagen vans to Canada, and the soldiers who did go to war bled in a jungle that no one even cares one bamboo shoot about today.

So I guess when I see the word “chopper,” I think of lost causes, and I am alerted to spy them–and call them out before they generate guilt, graft … and graves.

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Chomp

Chomp: (v) to munch or chew vigorously

Sometimes I think my body is working really hard to kill me–but other times I feel a sympathetic pang streaming from my consciousness,
wishing me well. I don’t know if either is true or if one is actually more prevalent than the other.

But as I get older, I don’t “chomp” as much. It’s been years since I’ve used the phrase “chow down.”

Especially over the past week, recovering from a stomach virus, I realize that my internal organs have very little interest in food. It is my brain that is completely obsessed by the notion.

So when sickness comes along and makes the brain calm down, the stomach has the opportunity to be very picky about what comes through the door. Over the past couple of days, I feel like there’s a bouncer stationed at the end of my “food tube,” kicking out the riff-raff.

First and foremost, I find myself chewing slower, giving my belly the chance to adjust to the idea that soon there will be a visitor.

Now, I do realize that within a few days I will be completely well and the brain will once again insist on more chomping. But for this moment, it is very intriguing, and also cuts the calories.

Could I ever learn to not be a chomper? A fascinating question.

Perhaps I could learn to eat like a kid. They take a bite or two, leave the table and run, and come back and take another bite or two. Not much chomping there.

So I guess the best thing I can say is, I’m kind of chomping at the bit to find out if I can chomp a little less at the table.

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Cheat

Cheat: (v) to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage

Some people compare the human brain to a computer.

There may be truth to that–though the brain is capable of much more reasoning and processing.

But one of the similarities that would hold true is that the brain does maintain a browser. It has a listing of most recent files, frequently viewed files, and even files we think we’ve deleted.

Every once in a while, they’ll just pop up and remind us that the mind doesn’t always find ways to be kind.

It’s a little piece of nastiness.

So it runs a tally.

How many murders have we watched in television and movies over the past six months?

How many shows on the beauty of Antarctica and gorgeous flower displays from India?

How many scenes of pornography and the abuse of the female body have crossed our eyes in comparision to the downloads we have perused of mothers loving their children and women conquering prejudice, to be successful in business?

Because our browser is filled with corruption, we cheat.

  • We cheat on our taxes.
  • We cheat on our lovers.
  • We cheat ourselves out of blessing because cursing is so easily available.
  • We cheat our children out of intimacy in favor of a quick trip to the amusement park.
  • We cheat our talent out of the privilege of being used in a creative way while constantly bitching about the limitations of our job.

We cheat.

And then, fearing that we will be revealed as cheaters, we develop a honeycomb of intertwined lies, which now buzz from our lips with far too much glib precision.

Where will our cheating take us?

Well, we certainly don’t think anybody is going to be better than us, so it turns us into suspicious, angry and vindictive neighbors.

We cheat.

Mostly, we cheat ourselves.

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Chart

Chart: (n) a sheet of information which is a diagram

My brain sometimes pauses, not yet convinced of the validity of any particular opinion. In other words, I could argue it either way.

In my personal life, I’m very organized. At least, I think I am. Yet there is a vanity to even stating such a mercurial thought as a fact. Am I
organized? Or just more organized than the person next to me?

Yet I do get around human travelers who insist on living a totally spontaneous life, and to some degree it works for them. They’re always looking for surprises, luck, miracles and good fortune to blow their way, but there is a certain charm to their presumption.

It begs the question: can organisms be organized?

The classic line of defining futility by comparing it to herding cats is true with almost every creature. No living, breathing animal on the face of the Earth likes to be told what to do. Yet each one, in some strange way, finds a plan of action that keeps them from being cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.

So what is the power of charting our lives to such a degree that there is little awareness of the element of chaos (which certainly will arrive)?

I think it may just be as simple as realizing that a line item which appears on our “Things to Do Today” list may very well still be there next week.

 

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