Criminal

Criminal: (n) a person guilty or convicted of a crime

If my recollection holds any accuracy of memory, I believe it happened right after my twenty-eighth birthday. I was in a room with a bunch of friends—and some strangers—and a question was posed.

“What was your first job?”

Well, I let three or four people go before me so that I could understand if I was on point, what the question really meant and the best way to answer it.

After the fourth teller finished his story about being a bag boy at a grocery store, I raised my hand and explained, “The summer between my junior and senior year, I joined some sort of national work program for teenagers sponsored by the government, which offered opportunities for local jobs at minimum wage. After volunteering, I discovered that the possibility afforded to me was working at the cemetery, cutting the grass and taking care of the gravestones.

“I was torn between being grossed out and wondering whether anything could be any more boring. But the only other thing available was with a farmer, bailing hay. I did not like hay. I didn’t like heat. I didn’t favor sweating and knew the farmer would be there the whole time, and I’d have to really work hard. I thought that the keeper of the graves might actually trust me to do the job without peeking over my shoulder.”

“I was right. Matter of fact, after about four or five days, I discovered he never showed up to confirm my work. So I started coming to the graveyard, signing in, and then leaving. I was able to continue this practice for about two weeks, collecting my check—until I finally got caught.”

At this point I stopped speaking, thinking I was going to get some laughter and maybe even a round of applause for my tale. But instead, a young woman sitting across the room gasped and said:

“Geez…that was criminal.”

Looking into all the faces around me, I waited for someone to speak up and offer at least some support for my ingenuity.

No one did.

I was angry.

Although I did not stomp out of the room, I made my exit from the party as quickly as possible without drawing attention to my frustration.

I fumed. How dare anyone accuse me of being a criminal? I knew what a criminal was. It’s someone who commits crimes, right? An individual who breaks the law and is tracked down by the police and thrown in jail, to stay there until they learn their lesson or complete their sentence.

Then a horrible thing happened.

My conscience showed up.

For some reason, my conscience was in a mood to talk, in a most accusing way.

Mr. Conscience reminded me that three years ago, I had skipped out on rent that was due.

He also brought up the fact that I copped some money from a drawer when I was at a friend’s house.

There were four or five examples that my goddamned nosy conscience decided to dredge up. Each one could be individually explained away—and had been, by my glib nature.

But collectively, they showcased an individual who felt he was superior to everybody else—certainly high and lifted above the rules—and therefore could do what he wanted.

The conclusion was simple. I was a criminal because I committed a crime by breaking the law, which was really a rule set by those who have the uncomfortable job of trying to make things run smoothly by seeking common ground among diverse people.

I was thoroughly ashamed.

Since that day I have not lived a faultless life, but I’ve never been a criminal again. Because even though I don’t always agree, I always know that agreeable is necessary.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Counterproposal

Counterproposal: (n) a proposal offered to offset a preceding one.

I would never want to return to the sheer horror, ambiguity, dance of confusion and frustration that was involved in being seventeen years old.

Yet I do fondly remember the wrangling that went on in a car on a Saturday night with a girlfriend you had been with for at least three months.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

The first three months of dating consisted solely of terrorizing one another with the awkwardness of conversation and trying to discover where you fit in with her and she could find common ground with your less-than-diverse tastes.

But after three months—and some sort of little ring, chain or token being offered to confirm that you were committing to one another—then the entire project shifted from “getting to know you” to “getting to know all about you.”

On that Saturday night, after the movie was over, the hamburger was consumed, the French fries were shared (because she was on a diet) and the milk shake melted enough to be sipped to its bottom, it was time for the two of you to nervously head out to an isolated park, backroad or private location, where you could begin the negotiations.

She, being a good, small-town girl, who knew the next morning would have to sit down with her friends in church with a picture of Jesus staring down at her, had already taken inventory and considered what was available for the taking.

On the other hand, you felt it was time to expand the project—open up new horizons and generate some excitement.

So you would make a proposal and she would counter your idea with a suggestion of her own, which was rarely sufficient to your teenage, ravenous lust.

Of course, adding to the craziness was a budding horniness, leaving you (and I believe, her) dizzy from trying to resist. After an hour-and-a-half of proposal and counterproposal, procedures were agreed upon—and pursued in such a vigorous way that the whole deal accelerated so quickly that it was nearly blown.

This process, which we shall call “The Saturday Night Feverless” only worked for a few weeks. For the curiosity to find out what sex was really like was overwhelming. Or maybe it was just a need to discover once and for all if “us” were really going to be any good at it, or become permanent outcasts from the world of pleasure,

Counterproposals are a part of life, but rarely do they give the satisfaction of the original ingenious idea.


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Consolidate

Consolidate: (v) to combine a number of things) into a single more effective or coherent whole

It would probably be very beneficial if the business world, religious community, entertainment industry and political marketplace learned the difference between consolidate and compromise.

Compromising is when two ideas collide and neither one has the power nor the backing to be heard by itself–so two of these concepts optfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
for a third, which neither party is particularly pleased with, but they are convinced is the only way to achieve common ground.

Consolidate, on the other hand, is when one whole thing links up with another whole thing, both remaining intact, and because of the integrity of each, end up complementing one another.

Even though it is popular to insist that marriage is a compromise, unions of that sort, which try to come up with a third way to blend things, usually end up destroying their relationship.

Marriage should be a consolidation. Two whole people with two whole personalities link with one another and become doubly effective.

Two political parties, each with solid ideas, plug into one another. They remain whole, the ideas remain pure, the country benefits.

Two people of spiritual bearing come together, and rather than debating the finer points of religion, they consolidate their efforts over the principles that are most universal and therefore, bless the world.

Two businesses merge, maintaining the individuality of their products, in order to expand their market.

In the entertainment industry, rather than watering down a script until it loses all of its impact and sometimes story line, consolidate great ideas, and sew them together with the magical thread of words.

We are the United States.

We are not the compromised states.

All fifty units bring something to the table, and all fifty have an idea to share which is needed to make this melting pot remain well-mixed.

 

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Common Ground

Common ground: (n) a basis of mutual interest or agreement.

I do believe the quote is attributed to Sting, lead singer of “The Police.”

When explaining his tour into the Soviet Union, in one of his lyrics he offered the conclusion that “Russians love their children, too.”

It is so easy to sit on the precipice of destruction and discuss, like naughty brats, how much more our destructive weapons could kill your people than yours could destroy ours.

But in the long run, or in the short time it takes for a bomb to explode, people are dead–and most all of them look somewhat like us.

Anything that comes along to encourage the destruction of the planet, the deception of racism, the alienation of the genders or the false pride of a culture is the feeding frenzy for us pursuing the insanity of gobbling one another up in our social cannibalism.

Every single day, in every single way, in every single building where decisions are made about human life, three things have to be honored:

  1. Flesh may have color, but it is all basically the same.
  2. If people were created, they have one Father.
  3. We have not perfected a way to snatch life from death.

Slow down.

This is called common ground.

Everything else is just a silly argument among children about who can jump the highest, and who owns the shiniest bike.

 

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Brother

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Brother: (n) a man or boy in relation to other sons and daughters of his parents.

I had four brothers who shared a common uterus with me. Not at the same time; we had different leasing arrangements.Dictionary B

I will tell you that those four individuals have importance in my life because we lived in a common household. But they are not closer to me than other folks who have stumbled across my path.

I believe we could have been great kinfolk–more intimate. But it is really the mother and father who decide how tight the bond will be among the children.

For instance, it is possible to accidentally pit your offspring against each other. Too much competition in a house creates enemies instead of fellow-laborers. And of course, favoritism makes one child work too hard and another one skate on thin ice.

Two of my brothers have already passed on. The oldest one never totally understood me and we never came to peace with each other. The second ghost and I had a violent relationship, which simmered into a warm broth, which we were able to enjoy.

And my other two brothers–well, we bounce between contact and alienation.

Now, it was my joy to be the father of three sons and three other young men that I “godfathered” to adulthood.

I must have done something right, because they don’t hate each other. Or maybe they just decided to ignore my attempts to generate boundaries and chasms, and worked on finding common ground.

I don’t know which one it is–but I will give you the definition for brother:

It is not someone of your own household who shares a mom with you.

It is not a male Christian counterpart who communes with you at an altar.

A brother is, and always will be, someone who refuses to believe the gossip he hears about you, but instead, comes to you directly…to get the real story.

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Bearable

Bearable: (adj) able to be endured.Dictionary B

Politics without attack ads and lies.

Entertainment that attempts to be both relevant and inspiring.

Religion that includes humanity.

Sexuality without violence.

Education that becomes wisdom.

Men and women finding common ground.

Reasons to get along promoted.

Selfishness unmasked.

Common sense revered.

Gentleness acclaimed.

Peace-makers considered brave.

Money a way to assist.

Comedy humorous.

Food as fuel.

Respect for the Earth.

Intelligence pursued.

Judgment removed.

Mercy studied.

Loyalty with a sense of history.

Flag-waving with introspection.

Debate with control.

Deceit exposed.

Self-righteousness ridiculed.

Yes, these things are bearable.

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Arbiter

dictionary with letter A

Arbiter: (n) a person who settles a dispute. 

Compromise is popular.

It has become so accepted that when someone utters the phrase, “We all need to compromise,” there is practically a collective “Amen” spoken in the room.

To achieve compromise, we often require an arbiter.

These are people who feel they are valuable by taking a bit of one side and mingling a little of another side to come up with a whole new rendition, which is only partially accepted by each individual party.

Honestly, this doesn’t work anywhere else in life.

Aside from Tex-Mex food, mixing cuisines is normally a disaster.

An ecumenical philosophy which includes all religions leaves you with precepts that should be written on fortune cookies and have about as much significance.

Congress gathering to mesh their opinions into a bill usually leaves us with a law which attempts to cover the subject like a blanket with our feet sticking out the end.

The times I found myself being an arbiter, I discovered a truth. Since the individuals were already disagreeing, trying to get them to sign off on a diluted format would be unsatisfying to both of them, and probably ignored in the long run.

I don’t believe in compromise. I hold to a philosophy of submission.

If two people are arguing, it’s likely that neither one has the total perspective.

If you can help people land on what has historical value, personal satisfaction and global respect, then asking them to submit to that conclusion creates the climate for a healing situation.

We can do this with anything.

Any issues possesses a core of emotional, spiritual and mental health which can be tapped if we’re not so intent on promoting our own cause.

But to do so, we must submit to ideals and truths which may be different from our own popular cultural outlook.

They say that politics is built on compromise. Actually, politics should be built on common sense. Each amendment to the Constitution should be looked at through the eyes of our generation and interpreted to honor the original freedoms without holding to the letter of the law.

The same thing would be true of corporate by-laws, marital relationships and even our reverence for the Good Book.

Compromise is the belief that there is “right” everywhere, and we just need to blend our “rights” together.

Knowing the nature of human beings, it’s more likely that we’re slightly mistaken in the first place, and we need to find common ground by submitting to more mature wisdom.

 

 

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