Critter

Critter: (n) any creature.

Painful as it may seem, sometimes you just have to make a decision.

Neutrality may appear to be a safer ploy, but if you continue to insist that you can go one way or another, you usually end up going nowhere.

I will give you two examples of what I’m talking about.

The first one would be our selected word for the day—”critter.”

Although Webster insists it is synonymous—equal, if you will—to the word “creature,” you and I know it is not.

If I were sitting at a dinner with people of education, prominence and self-imposed superiority, and I were to utter the word “critter,” they would immediately assume that the conversation needed to be doled out in syllables of less than three.

Yes, I would be classified as a bumpkin.

I might be viewed as a hillbilly.

Considered quaint, but not cute.

And they would be afraid that I might break out into strains of Dixie, insisting that “the South will rise again.”

I don’t care what state you’re from (except maybe Mississippi). If your governor kept referring to creatures as critters, you might think it was a populist choice. But even if you were a small-town type person, you would be suspicious about trusting this individual to be in charge of the state treasury.

No, I don’t think you can say “critter” and not have all the accoutrements, sins, attributes and burdens of the Dixon part of the Mason cast upon you.

The same thing is true with the word “y’all.”

You can say, “All of you,” or “us together,” but the minute you say “y’all,” memories of moonshine and the Klan pop into the mind of your hearer, and you are cast among the ignorant.

I am not saying I agree with this, considering that I lived in the South for many years. But I have also traveled all over, and even though I grew up in Ohio, if I go to Wisconsin, they will insist I have a Southern accent.

It’s not because I have a drawl or a twang.

It is simply because sometimes I chat y’all up ‘bout ma’ critters.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Bumpkin

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Bumpkin: (n) a socially awkward person from the countryside

The premise seems to be that if you can convince yourself that other people are ignorant, then you don’t have to deal with them, love them, respect them or even give them space.

After all, since we’ve decided to suck on the juice from the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, we have become a prideful race, who contend “the more you know, the smarter you get.”

But a lot of people have accumulated data without ever becoming smart. I believe there are four ways to be smart, which cause you to escape the world of “bumpkin:”

  1. Emotionally smart.

Basically, that’s admitting, “I can’t help anyone else if I’m a freaked-out mess.”

  1. Spiritually smart.

“I was never created to be an angel, so I need enough God in my life to love my neighbor as myself.”

  1. Mentally smart.

I need to take in just enough new information that I can try it out for myself, and therefore confirm–within me–that there’s truth to it.

  1. Body smart.

“I don’t eat too much of anything, exercise enough that I feel refreshed, and sleep every chance I can.”

My finding is that the people who follow these simple “smart values” end up being very universal and valuable to the world around them.

A bumpkin is not a person from a particular location.

A bumpkin is someone who has not yet located how to be a person.

 

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Brash

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Brash: (adj) self-assertive in a rude, noisy, or overbearing way

Brash is the uptown insult we hurl at an adversary when he or she says something we don’t like–whether it’s rude or not.

So it’s difficult to know what truly is brash and what is simply rejected by the hearer.Dictionary B

The politician may candidly point out that the American public need to take more responsibility for their own lives, and therefore be deemed brash.

The director of a movie may instruct his actor to be more authentic and stay in character, and certainly be proclaimed as brash during the break by the affronted thespian.

And certainly a preacher who points out the error of sinful ways would be considered a bumpkin–and brash.

But actually, brash is when something that is very obvious and already recognized as a problem is brought up once again simply for the sake of poking the bruise.

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Affront

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Affront: (n) an action or remark that causes outrage or offense

Sixty years.

If you think about it, it’s not really that long. But in sixty years of life, I have been offered many ideas, which, as time has passed, have gone from being the common sense of my day to being opinions that AFFRONT.

Let me give you some examples:

When I was eight years old, I was told that black people were inferior. They weren’t “bad,” just more or less one step up from monkeys, but a step down from my Midwest, white friends and family. Yet you can see, if I held any part of that conviction today, I would affront many–or maybe even most–people.

When I was fourteen years old I was told that rock and roll was “of the devil.” Matter of fact, I read a book about how the beat came from Africa and had the potential to turn us into animals instead of enlightened creatures of Eden. Alas, if I promoted this idea today, there would be great possibility of affrontation.

May I proceed?

All through my teenage years, I was told by my church and even my school that a woman’s place was “in the home.” Interestingly, most of the girls in my senior class were encouraged to take Home Economics, and any boy who might decide to join the class would be ridiculed right out of the school. Move ahead. Stating such a premise in public nowadays would put you in danger of being shunned, if not stoned.

I go on.

When my wife became pregnant with our first child and we were not ready, we considered abortion. But because our upbringing and the world around us told us it was murder, we passed. Now, if you were to state that abortion is murder in a public arena, you would be labeled an ultra-conservative right-wing nut.

Can I give you another one?

“Marijuana is a dangerous drug.” I grew up with that conviction. But just the other day I discovered that fifty-eight percent of the country now contend that it should be legalized. How “backwoods-bumpkin” would you look to disagree?

And finally, throughout my childhood and even my young adult years, it was common knowledge that homosexuality was abnormal. Move ahead a couple of decades. Such an assertion would be met with violent opposition and you certainly should be prepared to be ostracized.

It reminds me of the question that a governor once asked a convicted felon right before his execution. His name was Pilate and he said, “What is truth?”

Is truth what is best for human beings, or what is easiest to sell to the masses? It may take a generation that decides to discuss and learn what is functional instead of getting up in arms over their cause to finally arrive at what works for the human family.

Who knows? Maybe sixty years from now.