Cranberry

Cranberry: (n) a red, acid fruit or berry of certain plants used in making sauce, jelly or juice

 I have gotten in more trouble in my life by pretending to be cool or passing myself off as something I am not than I ever did by just being bumbling or incompetent.

That’s the truth.

I don’t know whether I’ve ever actually allowed that realization to sink into my soul and find a home there and build a warm fire of awareness. I may still be susceptible to wanting to blow my trumpet, even though I actually have no horn.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

But this was certainly true when I was in my twenties and I was trying to get well-known in the music industry. I immediately found that I was surrounded by drugs—mainly cocaine and marijuana—but for those who were not willing to pursue a narcotic, alcohol was the name of the game.

I hated alcohol. I still do.

I don’t hate it because I think people who drink it are evil. It just smells like a hospital to me. And the idea of drinking something that isn’t pleasant to swallow to gain an effect after it’s consumed just totally escaped my reasoning.

So whenever I went out to a party, in order to appear hip, I would always order a cranberry juice and tonic. It wasn’t an unusual request, but it was a signal.

Usually my order of the cranberry and tonic would cause those at the party to look at me with sympathetic eyes and assume that I was a recovering alcoholic.

Now, here’s the damnable part of it.

There were nights that I was so immature, so foolish, so tentative, that I would allow them to believe that I was two hundred and thirty days sober.

I liked it. It gave me power. It made them believe I had a problem, but also had lived a life they didn’t understand, and in some ways, I sat there as a cautionary tale.

It all came to a head one night when a friend of mine who was fairly well known in the music business turned to another gentleman nearby and said, “This is Jonathan.”

Then he leaned in and whispered to his friend, “He’s a recovering alcoholic, too.”

Now I was down for the count.

Not only was it assumed that I was “working the twelve steps,” but everyone at the table was waiting for my back story.

And God forgive me…

I sat there, on the fly, and made up one that would have torn at the heart of any grizzled sinner.


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Crackhead

Crackhead: (n) a habitual user of cocaine in the form of crack.

Let me start off by saying that what I’m about to write on is not like I’ve invented the wheel. It has been a topic of conversation for some time.

But I do feel it is my duty to roll that wheel along.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

We are a society that despises outward evidence of bigotry while encouraging—and even in many cases, promoting—internal methods. We mainly propagate these misrepresentations through our art.

The Law & Order series on television will happily and continually distinguish between its affluent and impoverished characters by assessing wealth and position to the use of cocaine, and denigration and crime to the crackhead. But as the definition has already told you, both substances are derivations of the same poison.

But cocaine is a “phase” that rich people go through, while crack is evidence of urban blight and proof that the inner city is perniciously flawed—and therefore continually dangerous.

It is a racism that continues because we feel that if we don’t have some release for our fears of color and culture, we might just go back to wanting to lynch again. So we become party to socially acceptable principles that have no basis in anything but bigotry.

If you take crack, it affects your head. That’s why we insist you’re a “crackhead.” But there is no such thing as a “cocaine head,” or a cocaine user who is going to break into your house and steal your television to support his or her habit.

Bizarre.

You fight racism by noticing the little places it crops up, and confronting them as simply as possible. If you wait until racism is actually in your presence, it’s too late.

I remember when I was renting my first apartment and I discovered cockroaches, I hired an exterminator, and when some of the cockroaches were still hanging around two weeks later, I angrily called and asked him to come back and “do his extermination right.”

After spraying one more time, he patiently turned to me and said, “I am more than happy to spray your place, but I must ask you to do something on your part.”

He walked over and pointed out dirt on the counter and food that was laying out. He looked me in the eyes and said, “If you want the cockroaches to go, you’ve got to stop feeding them.”

I will tell you—likewise, if you want the cockroaches of racism to go, you’ve got to stop feeding them with your quick smirk, your nervous titter or your frightened silence.

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Cocaine

Cocaine: (n) an addictive drug derived from coca

Some folks might find me very interesting if I talked about my use of cocaine or my addiction. But even though it was plentiful in Nashville, Tennessee, in the 1970s, and I was offered the white dust frequently, I passed.

Now, I did not decline because I was self-righteous or anti-drugs. I passed because of the reasons I was given to snort.

“You’ve gotta try it, man. It makes you more creative, it makes you more horny and it makes sex feel twice as good.”

That’s some pretty heavy-duty advertising. But I went down the list:

I did not want to be creative because a drug expanded the walls of my arteries and forced blood to my brain. I wanted creativity to come from a different place in me. I wanted it to be real. I wanted it to be mine. I was jealous. I didn’t want cocaine taking credit for my writing.

I didn’t want to be more horny. The danger of being more horny is that you start screwing people you don’t care for all that much. I like a little romance with my sex, if you don’t mind. I did not want cocaine picking out my sex partners.

And you can call me conventional, or too well-satisfied, but I have found that the big bang available at the culmination of the sex act is quite enough for me.

Of course, the danger is that if you convince yourself that you need cocaine to have good sex, the intercourse, which would be very beneficial to your health, might be greatly diminished by the cocaine, which is similar to setting off a hand-grenade near your heart.

Beware of those who always want more.

Honestly, I don’t settle for anything–but I do have the capability of “gettin’ my own” without taking a hit from anyone or anything.

 

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Amid

dictionary with letter A

Amid: (adj) surrounded by, in the middle of

I don’t care.

I once attended a party in Nashville, Tennessee, back in the era when cocaine was the “dandy candy” and never participated, but instead, indulged in conversations with people until they were too stoned to speak, and made sure that folks got home safely.

I’ve been amid conservatives and found myself offering a counterpoint or perhaps an insight that was contrary to the party line.

Likewise, I’ve sat in a room of liberals who sipped their tea and giggled over the ignorance of the right-wingers, and shared with them that many of the folks they were condemning were solid human beings–the salt of the earth.

I’ve had the pleasure of being amid a crisis and remaining calm.

I’ve had the honor of being invited to a special event and discovering that there was no room for me, started to walk away quietly, only to be championed by someone who apparently admired my willingness to avoid fussing.

I’ve been amid a culture for the past twenty years which brags about its technology which only works part of the time, screams the word “exceptional” when mediocre results come tumbling in and argues for self-preservation, when the only way to inherit the earth is to choose a well-intentioned season of meekness.

I have been amid turmoil and proffered humor.

I have been amid misogyny and insisted on equality for all sexes.

I have been amid those who were rejected by society and had the humble privilege of offering a bed, a meal and a bit of hope.

It doesn’t matter what you’re amid.

What matters is what you bring to the midst.

 

Adrenalin

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAdrenalin: (n) a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, esp. in conditions of stress, increasing rates of blood circulation, breathing, and carbohydrate metabolism and preparing muscles for exertion.

I wanted a shot of adrenalin just last night. It’s the body’s cocaine, you know–except no policeman picks you up because you have white powder on the tip of your nose.

The trouble with adrenalin is that it is only available when we find ourselves at our worst. It’s a drug the body secretes when we are stressed, frightened to death, or overly angry about some situation.

Actually, one of the questions I would like to ask God is about adrenalin–because giving adrenalin to someone who is already insanely imbalanced in their judgment is like selling a gun to a person who is deranged and might go out to shoot people in the workplace. (Wait a second. We DO that …)

Truthfully, what I need when I’m trying to find my car keys and about to burst into fury is a shot of Valium. (“Chill out, Pilgrim. We’ll find the keys, and if we don’t we’ll go back in the house and toast up a frozen pizza and watch reruns of The Waltons…”)

The LAST thing in the world I require when I am scared by an unexpected bogey man, is to have my heart rate suddenly go up to 180 beats per minute, stealing my breath and depriving my brain, which needs to accessed for escape plans, of oxygen.

My mother told me that when I was a child that I got bronchitis so severely one night that my heart stopped and I couldn’t breathe. Our local doctor gave me a shot in the heart of some adrenalin. (Now, I don’t know if this was true or not. I love my mother dearly, but she was known to spin a yarn, and I don’t mean to make a sweater…) But if any of it IS true, and I did require that drug to start my breathing again, I am grateful.

But it tells me how potent it is, and how dangerous it can be at the wrong times. I suppose if I were in a car accident and someone I loved was underneath the back wheels and I was suddenly required to lift the car up, adrenalin would be helpful.

But feeling pumped, driven, intoxicated and drugged at a time when I probably should calm down is not helpful.

So as far as adrenalin is concerned, like so many things in nature, I do see the purpose … I’m just not really clear on the application.

Abominable

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abominable: adj. causing moral revulsion.

What did the Snowman ever do to you?

Why did he end up being Abominable?

Did I miss some news story on Inside Edition? Was the big Snowman caught in bed with Madonna or Pink? Is he doing cocaine in the snow? Is he killing off people in the woods?

Why is the Abominable Snowman considered abominable? What breach in morality causes us to find him revolting?

This is not fair. Just because you’re nine feet tall, are covered with hair in the frigid Yukon, growling at strangers, does not mean you lack the moral fiber to be a damned good Republican.

Is it just that everybody who does not fit the “normal” size, look or social presentation have to be scrutinized until we discover some hidden sin yet uncovered?

I, for one, think it’s time that we stop calling him, her or it abominable. I think “big and ugly” would be better than abominable, don’t you?

I am concerned that moral judgments are being made about a creature we actually know very little about. For that matter, we’re not even sure he exists.

Of course, in our present political climate, we seem to be very good at creating problems out of nothing. So who knows? Maybe there’s a reporter somewhere from some sort of tell-it-all rag who has been following this monstrous creature around and knows that he has nasty inclinations.

Yet that doesn’t stop us from having priests in the Catholic Church. It doesn’t eliminate politicians cavorting with prostitutes. We don’t call THEM abominable.

No, it is a word reserved for the Snowman.

And speaking of that, it reminds me of the reporter who once caught up with the self-assesssed, famous adventurer, Scarsland de Barkel, winner of the First Annual Coveted Explorer’s Award, and asked him, “Mr. de Barkel, have you found the Abominable Snowman?”

Scarsland replied, “Not Yeti.”