Cribbage

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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Corsage

Corsage: (n) a small bouquet worn at the waist, on the shoulder, or the wrist of a woman

I, for one, am thoroughly convinced that the only purpose we have as individual human beings is to discover ways to avoid the humiliation that often befalls us as a collective.

I don’t know why life, Mother Nature, creation—well, take your pick—has put together systems supposedly natural, which are so unnatural when put into funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
practice.

I don’t want to get graphic, but just the means by which we dispel our waste through bowel movements, and then trying to uncover a dainty process for not appearing absolutely gross while doing it and finishing up is a good example. Remember the lesson? “Take this flimsy piece of tissue paper in your right hand and reach around into your butt crack and clean yourself but make sure you don’t use too much of it or it will clog the toilet, but just enough that your hands can be used again for interaction with other souls.”

Sometimes I think God used the Earth and human beings more or less as an experiment, or maybe even a practical joke—and that somewhere in the Universe there is a new and improved human race which doesn’t have to deal with—shall we say?—natural humiliations.

This came to mind when I saw the word “corsage.” When I was in high school, I went to a prom and purchased such a flower at our local florist, who provided two long pins along with the arrangement, so that the man (in this case, me) could pin the corsage onto the young girl’s dress when arriving to pick her up for the date.

Is there anything that I just described that seems natural or sensible to you? It especially became horrifying when I walked in the door and realized that my date was bare-shouldered, and the place to pin said corsage was up near her precious bosom, which certainly did not need probing in front of her parents, especially with two sharp objects in my hand.

But it was all part of the fantasy.

The parents were standing by with their cameras, gasping, looking for a Kodak moment. The young lady I was taking to the prom had no more experience on this issue than me, so she stood by praying, lamb-like, pre-slaughter.

Somehow or another, I was able to get the pin stuck through the dress and into a little corner of the stem of the flower, where it somewhat dangled from her dress like low-hanging fruit.

I stepped away, greatly relieved that it was attached and that I was detaching.

Fortunately, as years passed, someone came along, admitting the horror and the potential blood-letting of the moment in adolescence, and invented a corsage with Velcro, which hooks onto the wrist—did you hear me?—the wrist of the girl—and doesn’t require prickly points.

Now isn’t that smart?

Couldn’t we perhaps have skipped a step and gone to something like that to begin with instead of tempting the fates, the gods or the fumbling hands of a teenage boy?

Even though the corsage question seems to be handled, I still break out in a cold sweat every time I see one, frightened that some old person in the crowd will shout, “Hey! Just for old time’s sake, why don’t you pin it on her?”


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Burgundy

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Burgundy: (n) a deep red color

I’ve spent much of my life wondering if I am focused or obsessive. It may be impossible to get an accurate meter from anyone else on the issue due to their prejudice. But let me let you decide.

When I was twelve years old I had a little singing group. We all ended up going to church camp together, and after several strategic “nags,” I was able to convince the counselor to allow us to sing an a capella number before vespers.

Now, the evening vespers time at this particular church camp was about a half-mile hike up a big hill.

I bring this into the conversation because I had decided that our singing group should dress up for the occasion in these new shirts we had purchased, which were deep burgundy in color, and made out of some sort of acetate that resembled velvet. They were also long-sleeved.

The day arrived for us to sing, and it was about 90 degrees outside, but by the time of vespers, it had gloriously cooled to 85.

My friends wanted to wear t-shirts and shorts, but I insisted that we maintain our plan and climb the huge hill in our burgundy, long-sleeved, unforgiving shirts.

Being the largest member of our group, I labored, I wheezed, I panted, and I perspired like a man on the gallows.

When I got to the top and it was time to sing, I spent the entire song wiping my face with my hand and dropping the moisture to the ground beneath me. (One of my buddies got so warm that he swooned. Fortunately, he was bolstered by the baritone.)

The other kids looked on with a combination of amusement and admiration. We finished our song and our tenor screamed aloud, “I can’t take it anymore!” and ripped his shirt off, casting it to the side, sitting with his naked top, much to the chagrin of a nearby counselor.

Needless to say, I received a lecture the following day, from several members of the staff, about appropriate attire for vespers.

To this day, I cannot see the color burgundy without breaking out into a cold sweat.

 

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