funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cribbage: (n) a card game for two, three or four people

Yes, this is one of those words.

There are many of them: words or terms that are brought up in front of me which I do not know–neither what they mean nor how they are played or applied.

For instance, someone in my presence might say:

“Well, a couple of us were playing cribbage…”

At this point I notoriously nod my head. The reason? Nobody else in the room looks bewildered—they are also covering up their ignorance, and I don’t want to be the one to ask, “Cribbage? What’s that?”

I do it with other words, too. Honestly, Cherries Jubilee is like that for me. I know there’s a fire involved—which is enough to make me want to back off, considering that I’m a bit intimidated by a flaming dessert.

Something topical? The census.

I kind of have an idea what it is, but I’m afraid to speak anything out loud because the whole room may turn to me with one perplexed glance, as if to sneer, “That’s not the census…”

I can break out in a cold sweat if people start talking about constitutional amendments.

I would probably faint if I were suddenly challenged by a woman asking me to explain exactly where the clitoris is.

Sometimes you shut your mouth.

Because the minute you open it, all your stupidity and ignorance come pouring out like the fizz in a two-liter bottle of Coke, uncapped, on a hot day.

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Coke: (n) A popular short term for the popular soft drink Coca Cola.

I had an explanation. I really did.

I did not wish to share it because it made me look wimpy. I don’t like to look wimpy. I don’t think I’m alone in this. All of us want to appear noble, brave and strong.

Yet a bit of wimpy lives inside each of us, and jumps out at the wrong moments, exposing us for the sniveling cowards we are.

For years I refused to drink Coca-Cola–or as my friends called it, Coke. Every once in a while I got challenged.

“Hey, man, what’s with you and the Coke thing?”

I would put on my face–a combination of perturbed and surprised. “What do you mean–Coke thing?”

This aggravated the questioner. He or she followed up by saying, “You know–the fact that you never drink Coke.”

It was an easy accusation to side-step. “I do. You just don’t see me.”

But the truth is, they were right. I did not drink Coke. I wanted to, but I desired a drink which could be guzzled–and only certain carbonated beverages could be consumed that way without burning your throat and making you cough. I was not about to share that Coke was too strong for me.

So one day, in a fit of determination to achieve normalcy, and having completed some exercise which left me hot, sweaty and thirsty, I grabbed a bottle of Coke, tilted it back and began to swill.

About three seconds into the process the Cola burned my throat. I choked and spit it out in all directions. This created alarm and humor from all bystanders. I was completely emasculated.

After the laughter calmed down, a friend took me to the side and said, “Listen. Between you and me–Coke is too hot. So here’s what I do. When they offer me a bottle of Coke, I hold it behind my back and shake it up, life my thumb from its place on the top and let off some of the steam and carbonation. I do that about three times, so when I put the Coke to my mouth and down it, I look like one of the guys.”

I was so relieved. I followed the idea completely. He was right. It worked. I was able to slurp my Coke with a big gulp. It was a little flat, having lost its carbonation.

Wait a second…

Maybe that’s how they came up with RC Cola.


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Bucolic: (adj) referring to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life.

When my assistant spoke the word–“bucolic”–I said, “I’ve heard that before.”

I had no idea what it meant.

I’m careful not to use words that I’ve suddenly discovered, thinking it will make me appear intelligent Dictionary Band well-versed in the vernacular.

So when she looked up “bucolic” and read the definition, a thought immediately came to my mind. It’s kind of a strange one.

The thought was, we are never totally happy where we are.

If we’re sitting out in the middle of a beautiful pasture filled with trees and flowers on a springtime day, the notion will suddenly present itself: “This would be perfect if I just had a Big Mac and a Coke.”

Then we may find ourselves stuck in a traffic jam, sucking in the fumes of oil and gasoline, wishing for the bucolic surroundings of a robin in the forest, flying toward its nest.

Strangely, we find both positions to be acceptable. After all, dissatisfaction might be considered one of the top four “normal” conditions of humankind.

Yet somewhere inside us is a desire to be content with what we have.

Because when I’ve allowed contentment to rattle around my belfry, it has rung the bells of appreciation.

It may sound sappy to be happy with what’s crappy.

But when I am, I’m more pleasant to be around.

I know that no one likes my bitching–not even me–but I follow it like a monk in a monastery.

I’m hoping that when I finish this life I will be remembered for the kind words I conjured in the midst of turmoil … instead of the turmoil I decided to conjure in the midst of kindness.

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Beverage: (n) a drink, especially other than water

Dictionary BPerhaps one of the more valuable parts of my mission of writing this daily essay using the language that Webster offers to us is that I can occasionally warn you about words that should never be used.

I’m not going to make a comprehensive list right now, but instead, will use today’s choice as an example of such a misstep.

May it be declared from the Heavens and enacted upon the Earth that the word “beverage” should never be spoken aloud, at least in the Continental United States.

It is one of those words that makes it appear that you’re either very insecure about your education, or you are determined to pick obscure terms in order to make yourself look like the long-lost noble son of the Russian throne.

Beverage is not a word.

It is what we shall call an anti-word.

An anti-word is something that comes out of our mouths which we thought would communicate our sophistication, but instead leaves the room bewildered, perplexed or pissed off because we are acting superior.

You can feel free to say, “Do you want a Coke?” (That works really well in the South.)

I suppose it’s tolerable to say, “Would you like a soda?” (Even though in the North, “pop” is preferred.)

But the safest thing to ask is, “Would you like something to drink?”

So if we’re beginning a list of forbidden terms, let us start off with the word “beverage.”

Because quite honestly, anyone who asks me if “I want a beverage”… just might be training to be a serial killer.

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dictionary with letter A

Anglo: (n) a white, English-speaking American as distinct from a Hispanic American.

What if there is no such thing as distinct?

I contend that we live in a self-defeating society. In the pursuit of honoring two separate concepts, which are contrary to one another, we end up with human beings who are contrary to one another.

The two concepts are:

  1. We are all individuals and unique unto ourselves
  2. We need to get along or we’re going to destroy each other.

Everyone knows that to get along, it is important to discover similarities. So if we’re constantly separating ourselves off with names, doctrines, political parties, gender, sexuality, color, age and taste in food, we are basically proclaiming that finding common ground is a futile task.

So what’s it gonna be? Are we going to revel in our little clump of individuality or are we going to discover a way to keep from destroying our world?

I personally think it would be more fiscally responsible to avoid annihilation. That’s just me. But to do so, we have to get away from identifying ourselves as Anglo, Hispanic, African-American, female, male, Coke or Pepsi.

Nothing truly significant is determined by stating that you’re any one of those compartments. For after all, there are:

  • Bad women and there are good women.
  • Excellent men and real losers.
  • Dynamic Hispanics and fairly worthless ones.
  • African-Americans which contribute to the success of life, and those who don’t.
  • Anglos who find a reason to get along with others and those who segregate.

I could go on and on. The criterion for human quality has to be something that is not visual, but rather, spiritual.

If we can establish that–that each one of us was granted a living soul–we can not only find similarities, but we can also begin to ignore our foolish differences.

So I don’t like words like “Anglo.” I don’t like to be identified as white, bald, fat, male, Republican or Democrat.

If you would ignore everything but the human eyes and peer into them, you would realize … that we all look the same.


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