Con Man

Con man: (n) a man who cheats or tricks others by persuading them to believe something that is not true

Every once in a while I take a stroll through the Ten Commandments to take an inventory on how many I’ve broken.

That is one of the more ridiculous aspects of that top ten list–it does not serve as a guide to our lives, but rather, a reminder of how futile ourfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
attempts often are when we pursue self-righteousness or any form of superiority that makes us feel that we’re near to the heart of God.

For instance, I’ve been a con man.

I didn’t do it for a living. That’s probably good. Otherwise, I might be writing you from Folsom Prison, with the blues, or from Sing-Sing without a song.

But I have presented claims as facts, trying to impress people around me, when in actuality the legitimate information was far less than my boast.

Here’s the only difference between me and the standard con man: I actually believed my own bullshit.

I did.

I had thoroughly saturated myself in fictitious notions that twisted my brain to such an extent that they squeezed out common sense and replaced them with Thanksgiving stuffing.

So not only was I a con man to those around me, but I did a remarkable job promoting it to myself.

This is why self-awareness is probably one of the greatest virtues that a human being can pursue–it makes you stop off every once in a while and read the Ten Commandments and realize how far you have fallen short–as you chuckle over your own inadequacy.

 

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Confound

Confound: (v) to cause surprise or confusion

Sometimes people wonder why I have chosen to be a person of faith.

It isn’t because I enjoy church music. I can snooze through an excellent Bach Prelude just like the next person.

It isn’t because I like praise and worship services. Looking at young people playing instruments, staring up at the sky with ecstatic gleams on their faces invitesfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
cynicism into my tender heart.

I don’t favor prayer, Bible study or even consider a communion service to be particularly moving.

I’ve always been a great admirer of common sense, delivered with great humor and a background of intelligent reasoning.

Jesus, in describing his message, said it was a discourse which could be appreciated by those with a childlike perception, and therefore ends up confounding the wise.

Smart people think things need to be complicated. Education leads them to believe the more verbose they are, the greater the possibility of demonstrating the depth of their intellect.

When a reasonable simplicity is presented, which has great a great understanding of human nature and the functions of Planet Earth, it does confound the wise.

And honest to God–or Jesus–that always tickles my spirit.

 

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Common Sense

Common sense: (n) good sense and sound judgment in practical matters

Many years ago I wrote a book called “The Gospel According to Common Sense.”

I was very young.

I did a radio talk show, and the fellow asked me, “How would you define common sense?”

Now, one would think I would be prepared for that question, since I wrote a book with “common sense” in the title. But I think I was expecting “what is your favorite color?” much more than a legitimate question that had meaning.

But fortunately for me, I did not freak out.

I paused. Then I said, “To me, common sense is where Father God and Mother Nature sit down and agree.”

God might be a little idealistic, and the Natural Order does tend to be gruff and unforgiving.

But common sense is where mercy and Mother Earth embrace one another, and come up with ways to make things function–ways that don’t hurt anyone, have a bit of genius to them, and are so simple that everybody can do them.

We don’t talk much about common sense nowadays because we like to alienate ourselves off from others by proving our superiority–be it intellectually, spiritually or racially.

Common sense is looking for a logical solution that also happens to be common to us all.

If you’re determined to be better than the people around you, you might find common sense insulting.

If you’re depressed and think the whole world is out to get you, you might avoid common sense because it robs you of your vacation into self-pity.

There is no real power in life unless you can get God and Mother Nature to work together–His will being done on Earth as it is in heaven.

Yeah. There you’ve got it.

Common sense: heavenly answers that still work on Earth.

 

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Coalesce

Coalesce: (v) come together and form one mass or whole.

“Can you get behind this?”

People are always asking me that. They think they have found a noble cause and they want to enlist my support so as to create the appearance of mass approval

I don’t want to get behind anything.

I don’t like to be pushy, and if you’re standing behind something, you’re always pushing it.

I also don’t like to pull things. If a cause has so much dead weight that it needs to be pulled forward, it probably needs to be taken out behind the barn and shot.

I like to find things that are historically, emotionally, humanly and creatively everlasting, and melt into them.

Yes–coalesce.

Although there is a great struggle to become famous and well-known, the chance of such an event occurring in one’s life is astronomically small. I think the best you can hope for as a voice crying in the wilderness–or as a penner of thoughts–is to be considered an I. R. S. writer. And the I. R. S. stands for “I Read Somewhere.”

Nobody will ever remember it came from me, or you, but they might reference the material in making a point.

In a day and age when we think that peace and good will come from spending money on bombs, it is unlikely that you will find a following of human beings who want to focus on your particular message of cooperation.

But simply deciding to coalesce oneself into great expectations and noble efforts is the best way to pass the time while we either wait for common sense to have its day, or for us to complete the journey… and be recycled into the stardust.

 

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Clown

Clown: (n) a comic entertainer

There are actually three types of clowns, offering varying degrees of danger.

Yes–clowns are dangerous. They forewarn of outrageous comedy but soon become common, needing to push the envelope, opening the
door to all sorts of excesses.

Clown 1: Often referred to as the “class clown,” although he or she can be quite classless.

This is a person who feels it is their job to bring a giggle, even if a sigh or tears is required. He or she is quite angry if you suggest that the insertion of levity is poorly timed. And God forbid that you would ever try to take away their First Amendment right to be funny. After all, what gives us the authority to determine what is comical as opposed to offensive? (Wait! Isn’t that what being mature is all about?)

Clown 2: The Classic Clown, wearing a red nose and floppy shoes, to warn those around him or her of a calamity of errors, which is supposed to be interpreted through the slapstick antics, as side-splitting.

Physical comedy is an instinct to laugh at another human’s pain. When stated that way, people wrinkle their brow and suggest that you’re an old fuddy-duddy.

Clowns have to work too hard to get the job done. This would be similar to a fire-fighter attending a backyard barbecue just in case a three-alarm blaze might break out.  And finally…

Clown 3: These are the people in government, religion and business who have discovered they have gotten away with some egregious action, and nobody has stopped them, so they continue their path of errancy, adding on boxes of insult to the shipment of injury.

“Since I got by with THAT, and nobody challenged me, I wonder if I can do THIS.”

These clowns are particularly annoying because they don’t sit in a classroom, nor do they wear fright wigs. (Well, at least most of them don’t.) What they do is fit in–while not fitting in at all.

They take a code of ethics and turn it into a paper airplane, which they toss through the air to prove how free-wheeling they truly are.

They question values which have proven to be gold, and pretend they are nothing but yellow bricks.

As you can see, all three clown roles seem to have more drawbacks than positive contributions. Yet we continue to allow them to exist under the canopy, “we all need to laugh.”

Actually, we all need good cheer, which means most of the time, if we’re going to mature, we should be laughing at ourselves, not at the pratfalls of others or the decimation of common sense.

 

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Clerk

Clerk: (n) a person employed to take care of routine activities

I am not completely ignorant.

I do understand that rules are necessary. Without established guidelines, we have many people trying to dictate on the fly, ending up with restrictions which are much more nasty than if they had been thought of before the project began.

But I have just never wanted to be a clerk.

I’m talking about the kind of people who are thrilled there are rules so they can stand with a stony face, reciting them to you as you try to argue, and they sport a
slight smirk over the control they have achieved.

It happens every day.

Some people are destined to be clerks. They learn the routine and find satisfaction in their lives–sensations of importance–by using the regulations to dash the hopes of those who might walk just a little bit different path.

They quote.

It doesn’t matter if they’re using Shakespeare, the Bible or the company manual–they can give you the exact wording to reinforce their decision to treat you like shit.

Every function in life, every job and every position needs to be tempered by common sense and mercy.

Even the Good Book itself started off with Ten Commandments, shrank to four during the Sermon on the Mount, two later on, and finally ended up with one commandment: love your neighbor as yourself.

For after all, if you do that one, you’re doing the other ten.

When you remove common sense and mercy from your dealings with human beings, you become the catalyst for an unnecessary argument, which can lead to a war.

I don’t want to be a clerk. It’s probably why that position is never offered to me.

Some Big Boss Billy looks me in the eyes and thinks to himself, “I can’t trust that one to be an asshole.”

 

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Citizen

Citizen: (n) a legal personage of a country

He loves his country but not to the exclusion of others.

She salutes the flag but well knows the weaknesses of her government.

He is offended but doesn’t become offensive by dishonoring the nation.

She works very hard to overcome her prejudiced training, to welcome those from all colors and walks of life.

He learns from the past, to bless the present, to set in motion a better future.

She weeps over those who have been wounded by history and joins them hand-in-hand to make sure it never happens that way again.

He doesn’t demand that everybody do things his way, but instead, tries to understand their journey, their perspective and their patriotism.

She stops complaining about inequality and every day proves through her life that she is equal to the challenge.

He freely admits where his homeland has failed.

She celebrates the times when common sense overcame political patronage.

They joined together to believe in a country that has heart and soul, and not just mind and strength.

They are citizens.

They make us great.

They make our country possible.

They are the currency of this nation’s wealth.

 

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